Life for most consumers is very different today than it was in April 2020, but many businesses are still feeling the impact of the pandemic on sales. Coca-Cola, for its part, has yet to see its bar and restaurant operations return to pre-outbreak levels.
Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO James Quincey told analysts in a Monday, April 25 phone call about the company’s 2022 first quarter. earnings explains how the company’s global restaurant business continues to be impacted by the pandemic.
“While we have returned to our 2019 levels, out-of-home channels have yet to fully recover,” he said. “We have lost points of sale during the pandemic. That’s true for out-of-home, and it’s also true for fragmented groceries.
However, in the face of these challenges, some channels have performed disproportionately. For example, digital ordering and drive-thru pickup paved the way, driving the recovery of the restaurant industry.
“There’s a sub-channel distinction with the outdoors,” Quincey said. “QSR [quick-service restaurant] worked well, especially those with digital and drive-thru.
According to data from the PYMNTS’ 2022 Restaurant Friction Index, created in collaboration with Paytronix, 77% of restaurants offer the possibility of ordering online. The study, which is based on a survey of more than 500 QSR and full-service restaurant (FSR) managers across the United States, also found that about half of all restaurants offer a support at the wheel, and this share increases to two-thirds. specifically regarding QSRs.
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These features can go a long way in increasing catering expenses. The index, which is also based on an October survey of more than 2,100 American adults, found that 40% of consumers said online ordering options would encourage them to buy from restaurants, and 35 % said the same about the ability to retrieve orders at the drive-thru.
Additionally, research from PYMNTS’ April study “The Digital Divide: The Key Factors That Drive Restaurant Choice,” also created in conjunction with Paytronix, found that 23% of consumers said pickup features are the most important technology to encourage them to order from a given restaurant. Additionally, an additional 21% said the same about ordering features.
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Another technology that drove Coca-Cola’s restaurant business in the quarter was Costa Coffee-branded Costa Express machines, self-service coffee vending machines.
“Express Machines, the digital barista vending machine, had a very strong quarter with strong transaction growth,” Quincey said. “And now that the reopenings have taken place, we are starting to see a focus on placing new machines across Europe and the Middle East, as well as in China. … The Express machine still works very well.
The initiative comes at a time when cafes (and all other types of restaurants) are facing a tough job market, with rising salary expectations. Self-service technologies allow the brand to generate sales without the typical staffing costs.
On the company’s previous earnings call, John Murphy, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Coca-Cola, noted that Costa “installs[ed] thousands of new [Express] machinery” in 2021.
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