Ek-Chai to launch 1st Lotus's Eatery food court
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Ek-Chai to launch 1st Lotus's Eatery food court

Ms Benchawan said Lotus's Smart Community Centers will offer products and services tailored to meet customers' rapidly evolving needs.
Ms Benchawan said Lotus's Smart Community Centers will offer products and services tailored to meet customers' rapidly evolving needs.

Ek-Chai Distribution System Co, the operator of Lotus's retail stores, is expanding its business into food courts, starting from next month.

According to Benchawan Ongsri, the company's senior director for malls, "Lotus's Eatery", a new food court spanning 1,500 square metres, will be opened on the second floor of the True Digital Park building in Bang Chak in Phra Khanong district.

Lotus's Eatery will offer a selection of well-known food brands to cater to increasing demand.

Food has now become a key anchor, playing a vital role in attracting customers to shopping centres. In the original Lotus's hypermarket concept, food anchors accounted for about 20% of total anchors. However, with the introduction of Lotus's Smart Community Center concept, this percentage is likely to increase significantly, reaching 40-60%, according to Ms Benchawan.

In line with this strategy, Lotus's Eatery will be launched in 31 Lotus's Smart Community Centers across the country between 2024 and 2025.

Building on the success of the company's flagship store, Lotus's North Ratchapruek, which served as the prototype for the 'Smart Community Center' concept, with the physical change of the store's design and product and service offerings, Ex-Chai Distribution System Co will leverage the best practices and lessons learned from Lotus's North Ratchapruek to enhance customer experiences in both existing and future Lotus's stores.

Ms Benchawan said the company's plan is to transform 31 existing Lotus's stores into Lotus's Smart Community Centers, each occupying a space of 30,000-40,000 sq m. These centres will offer products and services tailored to meet customers' rapidly evolving needs in each location.

Out of the 31 Smart Community Centers planned, seven will be newly constructed in major cities or popular tourist destinations, including Yala province. At the same time, the remaining 24 will undergo renovations, including locations such as Pak Chong in Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Thani and Ekamai Ramintra. These renovated centres will see a significant expansion in space, increasing from their previous size of 5,000-7,000 sq m to 30,000 sq m.

Ms Benchawan said the company will start the construction of Lotus's Smart Community Center in Yala province in the third quarter of this year and will open it in the second quarter of next year.

"Lotus's will no longer be a mere hypermarket for product purchases. It is now becoming a shopping and lifestyle destination for smart living. People in Yala, for instance, have access to a diverse range of experiences, including food destinations, edutainment centres, IT services, and lifestyle wellness offerings," Ms Benchawan said.

According to Ms Benchawan, the transformation of Lotus's into Smart Community Centers will also help boost the opportunity to increase the capacity of the leasable retail area with a wider array of tenants covering renowned brands, local brands, and small and medium-sized enterprises, to provide comprehensive retail choices to better meet the needs of customers.

Moreover, this strategic shift will create business opportunities for Lotus's partners, leading to job creation and income generation within the community, helping empower local businesses to grow in tandem with Lotus's.

The company expects the total number of stores across all formats to surpass 2,300 branches by the end of this year, 200 of which each will be dedicated to hypermarkets and supermarkets, while the rest will be operated under the Lotus's go fresh concept.

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