FamilyMart Thailand launches vending concept store

FamilyMart Thailand has opened its first ‘FamilyMart Corner’ stores where beverages, snacks and convenience foods are sold from automatic vending machines.

Central Food Retail, which operates FamilyMart Thailand and the Tops supermarket chain, created the FamilyMart Corner, the first concept of its type in the nation, to provide increased convenience to consumers on the go.

“Convenience stores must always adapt,” says 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.”

Coum says the container-style convenience stores can be built quickly and take up limited space, enabling them to be opened rapidly in areas where consumers in lockdown need to access food and beverages quickly and close to their homes.

“We focus on locations in front of shopping malls, condominiums, universities, communities, and factories,” says Coum. “The design of the containers is attractive, with graffiti and street art to attract people and invite them to come buy our products.”

The Family Mart Corners are open daily from 7am to 9pm, and after Thailand’s Covid-19 curfew is cancelled, the opening hours will be extended. Entry will be restricted to five customers at any one time to meet social-distancing requirements.

Meanwhile, in a second initiative, FamilyMart and Tops Daily have introduced automatic vending machines under the concept of “Hungry? Get it Now”. The machines offer food and beverages for consumers for people in a rush and who want to maintain a safe social distancing.

With convenience stores unable to trade 24-seven as usual in Thailand, the paired vending machines – one selling snacks and chilled food, the other cold beverages – will also serve people exempted from the curfew.

The product mix sold in the machines will be adjusted to each location based on sales data from FamilyMart or Tops convenience stores, so as to best serve the local population. The machines will only accept cash payments initially, with other payments methods in planning.