FamilyMart Thailand Tries Vending Concept

In the face of COVID-19, the c-store chain is innovating with a container store called FamilyMart Corner.

April 20, 2020

BANGKOK—FamilyMart Thailand, operated by Central Food Retail, is launching a new concept that features automatic vending machines full of beverages and foods for customers on the go.

Central Food Retail created the new concept—the first of its type in the nation—to provide increased convenience to customers, adding that the container-style convenience stores are built quickly and take up limited space, Inside Retail Asia reports.

“Convenience stores must always adapt,” said Stephane Coum, CEO of Central Food Retail Group. “In every crisis lies endless opportunities. The COVID-19 outbreak has prompted us to adapt ourselves and changed the way we work.”

Locations for these new FamilyMart Corner stores include shopping malls, condominiums, universities and factories. The container-style convenience stores are designed intentionally, with colorful graffiti-style art to catch the eye. The minimal amount of setup involved enables more locations to open up quickly and speaks to areas where people in lockdown during the coronavirus need access to food closer to home.

For now, the FamilyMart Corners are open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Once Thailand’s coronavirus curfew is redacted, operating hours will be extended, and the number of customers allowed inside will be in line with social-distancing requirements.

In a secondary initiative, FamilyMart and Tops Daily supermarket chain (also operated by Central Food Retail) are bringing automated vending machines to people who want to maintain social distancing. Under the campaign “Hungry? Get It Now,” the products sold will be adjusted and targeted per location based on sales data. The machines only accept cash for now but will soon accept other methods of payment.

Coronavirus Resources

NACS has compiled resources to help the convenience retail community navigate the COVID-19 crisis. For news updates and guidance, visit our coronavirus resources page.