Some popular Thai restaurants offer direct delivery of Thai and Chinese dishes to hungry foodies not wanting to leave home. While they took the move in response to COVID-19, it has proved so popular it will be extended to other countries in Southeast Asia.
Food delivery services have grown increasingly popular in recent years. And the COVID-19 epidemic has caused a substantial spike in the number of people using them.
In addition, people are also using food delivery services much more frequently than in the past.
The attractions are obvious. As lockdowns and quarantines force hungry foodies to dine at home, they often get tired of their own cooking. And with cleaning up!
With food deliveries, they can place their orders online or by phone. And apps make it easy for them to choose restaurants serving the dishes they desire.
In fact, it is very easy for hungry foodies to check out menu options and to compare prices.
However, there are downsides, as well. For example, some food delivery providers charge diners exorbitant delivery fees.
And other food delivery providers gouge restaurants by cutting into their profits by as much as one-third.
COVID-19 Challenges Thai Restaurants
Because of the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented to the restaurant industry, restaurants have been scrambling for ways to respond.
Among them is the Coca Restaurants Group, one of Thailand’s most popular restaurant chains.
The group has launched Coca Direct, an in-house delivery service, which gives drivers 100% of delivery fees. And diners get a quality choice that food delivery aggregators don’t always offer.
In fact, direct delivery offers several advantages. To start with, 100% of delivery fees go directly to drivers.
More important for health-conscious consumers, restaurants have direct control over hygiene at every step of the way.
For example, they can test all drivers for COVID-19. And they can train them in hygienic food delivery and social distancing.
“It feels like a mafia with their revenue share model,” says Coca Restaurants Worldwide and Managing Director Trevor MacKenzie.
“We just want to put people first and ensure our customers have a choice and a quality experience. The aggregators are greedy, IT, and price-driven, and they will destroy our brand. So, we have decided to go direct and give customers a choice.”
Coca Restaurants 101
Coca Restaurants is a family-run business. And it was launched more than 63 years ago in 1957.
In fact, the group is now run by the third generation. While remaining faithful to its roots, the popular restaurant chain is also adapting cutting edge technologies to enhance its customer service.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the group. Because of lockdowns and quarantines, it has had to shutter fully 68 of its 71 restaurants.
However, launching Cocaman at the height of the coronavirus epidemic has been an instant success. In fact, orders tripled during the venture’s first two weeks!
“We suffered at first, just like many other traditional companies,” says Coca Restaurants Managing Director, Trevor MacKenzie.
“But we have used Covid-19 to fast track our digital and delivery plans, and we are now seeing a new sales channel grow fast from nowhere.”
Coca Direct was piloted in Thailand, where the company grows much of its produce and rice at its own farms. It will now be extended to its restaurants in other parts of Southeast Asia.