The Modelorama Model: Inside Mexico's thriving retail chain run by empowered entrepreneurs

Posted: May 10, 2021
The Modelorama Model: Inside Mexico's thriving retail chain run by empowered entrepreneurs

If you're ever hosting a party in Mexico, head to the local Modelorama. The retail chain backed by our local brewer, Grupo Modelo, offers a “chela” for every occasion. From Budweiser to Stella Artois, Victoria to Michelob Ultra, Modelo, Corona and Pacifico, Modeloramas are all about serving up cold beer for consumers to enjoy when and how they want it.

But that's not all. With 9,964 retail outlets across Mexico, Modeloramas are mostly small, family-run stores with strong connections to their neighborhoods and communities. More than 600 new locations opened last year, and despite setbacks brought on by the pandemic, the chain made a strong comeback in the second half of 2020, growing much faster than the average of the Mexican market.  

A Modelorama in Tijuana, one of nearly 10,000 across Mexico.

A secret to the retailers' success is ongoing support and resources provided by Grupo Modelo. Modelorama owners receive marketing support, priority access to popular products, preferred pricing and the coldest beers in Mexico thanks to sub-zero coolers. And starting in 2020, owners had the opportunity to begin offering online purchases and local delivery through an app called Modelorama Now. 

Fast, convenient delivery to consumers' doors 

Modelorama Now was initially created so owners could continue to operate during pandemic lockdowns when people could not shop in person. The online stores offer the same beer, soft drinks, seltzers and snacks as the stores, but provide delivery directly to consumers' homes in less than 45 minutes. Grupo Modelo also offers bicycles and credit to those who want to start their own local delivery services. 

Modeloramas offer consumers a wide selection of ice-cold beer, soft drinks, seltzers and snacks.

Ilem, owner of Modelorama Claire in Merida, Yucatan says the new delivery service is a customer favorite. “I started with Modelorama Now in November 2020 and my sales are growing more and more every day,” says Ilem. “I had delivery service before, but I didn't have the reach and volume I'm having with the online store—I started with two delivery men and now I have four or even five, depending on the day.” 

“Modelorama Now was made to address consumers' needs during the pandemic, but it's so successful that we decided not only to maintain, but to expand it,” says Bernardo Santana, Vice President of Retail in Mexico.  

Modelorama Now offers home delivery from the stores in less than 45 minutes.

The popular delivery platform handles more than 5,000 orders a month and is available in Mexico City, Yucatan and Guadalajara, with plans to expand to other cities throughout Mexico.  

“On demand delivery grew a lot due to the pandemic and having this option as a Modelorama owner helps us stay up-to-date with consumer trends and connect with them, improving our service and helping us to be known by more clients,” Ilem says. 

Empowering women owners 

Training and coaching are another way Grupo Modelo helps Modelorama owners grow their businesses.

The group recently launched a pilot mentoring program called Empresarias Modelo (Modelo Businesswomen) to better serve women owners - who operate around 40 percent of Modeloramas. Participants are paired with female leaders from AB InBev who help build the owners' confidence and personal skills. To further improve their business performance, the Empresarias also have access to Enko, an online education platform offering coursework in finance, marketing and sales.

40% of Modeloramas are owned by women entrepreneurs

To further empower women owners, Grupo Modelo is partnering with Z-Tech, AB InBev's technology and innovation hub, to offer credit lines to support the growth of their businesses, as well as loans for women applying to open a new Modelorama. 

Ramping up renewable energy, recycling programs 

Modelo Power was launched last year to help reduce energy costs by installing roof top solar panels at participating stores. The plan is to install solar panels in 1,500 Modeloramas this year, with an estimated energy savings of over $200,000 USD. By 2022, it should achieve $1 million USD in energy savings, or nearly $700 USD in annual savings for each Modelorama owner. 

Modeloramas also recently began offering bottle collection services where consumers and entrepreneurs receive money for each bottle they return. This creates an economic opportunity for local waste collection companies and increases the return rate of bottles—ultimately helping to reduce waste in communities. 

Modelo Power helps Modelorama owners reduce energy costs by installing roof top solar panels at participating stores

Both Modelo Power and the recycling program make it easy for these small business owners to adopt sustainable business practices while making progress toward AB InBev's companywide climate action and circular packaging goals.

“It's exciting to see our Modelorama owners and their families thriving as we work toward recovery across Mexico,” said Bernardo. “There's nothing we enjoy more than bringing our communities together to share special moments over a cold beer.” 

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