Characteristics of Retail Stores in Response to COVID-19 : A Case Study of Stand-alone Stores and Food Trucks in the Food and Beverage Industry

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Sivagorn Singhadach


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Thai government suspended various operations within the country, including the closure of malls, markets, community areas, and inter-provincial travel. This directly impacted the food and beverage industry, leading many business owners to adjust their business models to provide additional channels for distribution and access to diverse groups of consumers. As a result, there has been an increase in the rental of stand-alone spaces outside of malls, as well as food trucks and other mobile store formats.

The results of this study were divided into two parts: 1) the physical characteristics of the stores and 2) the consumer behavior that used the services of the stores. The study found that consumer behavior affected the size of the store, the service format, the number of employees, and the opening hours of each type of store. Larger stores were full-service stores with many employees and seating areas, which were consistent with the behavior of consumers who wanted to spend time eating in commercial areas or places where they needed space to eat during weekends or after work. Small stores, on the other hand, were fast-service stores that prioritized kitchen space, with self-service options and fewer employees due to limited-service space. This affected the menu and food preparation processes to minimize time spent on service. Such characteristics were consistent with the behavior of consumers who wanted convenience and limited-service time while traveling or staying nearby. The majority of purchases were for takeout, but for customers who did dine in, they tended to spend less time in the store. In terms of store formats, stand-alone stores with large areas were predominantly traditional stores, which had to meet the needs of high potential areas, had convenient transportation, and attracted a large volume of roaming customers, as well as a variety of customer groups. Small standalone stores and food trucks were mainly due to entrepreneurs' adaptation to expanding new business models, reducing costs, achieving flexibility, and accessing a wider range of consumers.

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