In efforts to continue food and beverage franchise industry exchange in the Asia Pacific and increase exposure to Taiwan’s franchise brands, the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs recently joined forces with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) in holding the Beverage Franchise Asia-Pacific Summit on 8 September 2020. Over 80 people physically attended the event, and more than 2,000 viewers joined the bilingual livestream.
In the opening remarks, Deputy Director General of the BOFT, Mr. Guann-Jyh Lee stated that the 8% growth in August imports and exports has indicated the start to a recovery in business activities. In response to COVID-19, the government has assisted businesses with digital marketing this year, offering free digital technology courses and counseling, to help businesses turn to digital business models so as to continue to boost the export of Taiwanese restaurant and beverage chains.
Chain restaurant representatives from the Asia Pacific then shared with the audience the current status, business opportunities and projected post-pandemic industry trends. Head of associations from Taiwan and countries including the Philippines, and Korea spoke about the new practices businesses have adopted to address the pandemic, including carrying out strict pandemic-control measures and maintaining food hygiene, turning to e-commerce to offer home delivered meals, as well as coming up with innovative ideas like DIYs, e-parties, and e-weddings. AI and big data have also been part of the discussion as point of sales (POS) ordering machines, unmanned stores, and robot waiters and caterers have been introduced to stores to reduce person-to-person contact.
Smart technology coming to the fore in the food and beverage industry during this pandemic has reflected the need for the industry to continue creating new business models and extend added value to meet changing customer needs. The BOFT will continue to work alongside such trend in holding events such as the Taiwan Expo to boost Taiwanese food and beverage franchise brands to our Asian neighbors.