Pioneering suki hotpot culinary group, COCA Restaurants, is seizing the difficult days that the region is experiencing due to Covid-19 by launching a direct delivery service across the region. The direct service gives 100% of delivery fees to drivers and offers customers a quality choice lacking currently by the delivery aggregators in the market.
Moreover, COCA is able to guarantee a high level of hygiene, which can be controlled from start to finish, with all drivers tested for Covid-19 and trained 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 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.”
The traditional, family-run business, launched over 63 years ago in 1957, is now run by the third generation and with it is hurtling headlong into a modern future where it remains true to its origins but its delivery and digital promotions – such as TikTok – are driving new horizons for the group.
The launch of COCAMAN, as they call it locally, at the height of Covid-19, which saw the group close 68 out of 71 restaurants across the region at one point, has quickly caught the attention of customers with orders tripling over just two weeks.
“We suffered at first, just like many other traditional companies. 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,” said COCA Restaurants Managing Director, Trevor MacKenzie. “From a heritage restaurant operation, we have become a modern, digital group almost overnight.”
The concept is two-fold. One, it was aimed at re-engineering staff roles given the crisis in the market – and putting revenue directly into their pockets; and two, it served a very clear need of COCA customers in lockdown who started calling the restaurant direct to have suki hotpot delivered.
COCA Direct was piloted in Thailand where customers sought out the quality and freshness for which COCA is known, with produce grown at COCA Boutique farm in Chachoengsao and at COCA-managed rice farms in the northeast of the country. Moreover, they sought out food to enjoy together as they had done previously as families at COCA restaurants which saw the sales of the traditional suki hotpot skyrocket.
COCA Direct is now going international – as COCA expands the concept to its restaurants in Vietnam and Malaysia with detailed guidelines for franchise partners about how to ensure the culinary experience is enhanced by the delivery not diminished. Also, in the works is new luxury packaging and dining set for those craving the more premium items from COCA’s menus.
New digital channels have been key to the success of driving a new direct delivery business with the digital economy is being used to full effect as tools such as TikTok, the world’s new social media sensation with over 800 million downloads, leads marketing activities alongside other social media channels.
COCA Restaurants has 21 restaurants across Southeast Asia.