Coca restaurants shuns ‘greedy aggregators’, launches Coca Direct

Coca Restaurants can now be found delivering suki hotpot across in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia

Found in 1957, Coca serves Thai and Chinese hotpots (suki) from 70 restaurants across Asia, the Middle East and the US. Citing the need to shun ‘greedy aggregators’, Coca launched COCA Direct, its own food delivery system, boycotting services such as Food Panda or Grab, who tend to charge upwards of 30% for delivery fees.

“It feels like a mafia with their revenue share model,” says Coca Restaurants Worldwide managing director Trevor MacKenzie. “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 its already being colloquially called, 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 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 and is now going international. Also, in the works is new luxury packaging and dining set for those craving the more premium items from Coca’s menus.

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