Food delivery, online platforms give F&B outlets lifeline
Food delivery and takeaway have been the lifelines for restaurants, which are depending on them more than ever to tide them through the extended circuit breaker period and beyond.
Despite experiencing a 70 per cent drop in revenue since April 7 due to the no-dine-in rules, food delivery now contributes to 60 per cent of Boon Tong Kee’s revenue.
The chicken rice chain has also seen takeaway orders pick up by up to 20 per cent.
But even with sales being generated through these platforms, Boon Tong Kee’s business development manager Jason Thian foresees a monthly average drop of 10 to 20 per cent in total revenue.
He told The New Paper: “The increase in delivery and takeaway is insufficient to make up for the shortfall from dine-in - that used to make up 70 per cent of the total revenue.”
He added: “Drinks, fried food items... when you do deliveries and takeaways, these are some of the things people do not normally order as compared to dine-in.”
According to Mr Thian, there is also an increase in food cost due to lower supply, which eats into profits.
The restaurant has brought back once-popular items such as steamed rice rolls and chicken porridge as well as lower-priced offerings to attract customers, which have seen an “encouraging demand”.
Chicken rice combo meals have also been added to the menu on Deliveroo for the first time.
Mr Thian said: “Beyond June, (we will) just have to work harder. I do believe that our company can survive this challenging time.”
Three Buns, a burger restaurant under Potato Head Family, has been exploring ways to increase revenue through takeaway and delivery, like introducing a ‘Three Buns Bundles’ comprising four mains, four sides, four desserts and four beverages for $130 to $160.
Mr Adam Penney, executive chef of Potato Head Family, said: “From an average of 10 to 15 per cent of our business attributed to deliveries in the past, we’re now running at 90 per cent.
“The savings that come from operating under a takeaway and delivery model are then replaced with additional expenses, like delivery fees and commission.”
But by expanding delivery islandwide since April 2 with Deliveroo, Three Buns reaches even more customers, which also allows for the continual flow of revenue.
Mr Penney said that this current model will continue in the event of a further extension to the circuit breaker, adding: “We’ve learnt that you always need to be prepared for change and have a plan in place to be able to act on these changes quickly and efficiently so there’s minimal disruption to the business.”
Protein-focused salad bar The Daily Cut has also expanded its delivery islandwide with Deliveroo.
Its managing director Jonathan Yang said: “In the coming weeks, we will be offering a new meal plan service that we intend to maintain for the long term.
“They will complement any original strategies we had in place and hopefully when things go back to normal, these will serve as new streams of revenue.”
Meanwhile, others who are not in the F&B industry have continued to ramp up online efforts to #savefnbsg.
After seeing that 90 per cent of restaurant sales in the Central Business District declined significantly throughout March, cyber security manager Perry Young and his girlfriend Charlotte Wilkinson, a marketing and branding business owner, created Facebook group Singapore Restaurant Rescue.
It currently has over 71,000 members comprising F&B operators and customers, and helps to connect restaurants and delivery drivers, allowing the former to save on high delivery platform costs that could take between 20 to 40 per cent of the order value.
The group became “kind of a dating agency”, as Mr Young was “seeing a lot of struggling delivery drivers and even taxi drivers whose earnings were plummeting” as well as “many vendors looking for drivers and drivers looking for vendors”.
He added: “Customers now know that 100 per cent of the money they are spending on the food goes to the restaurant itself, and most people seem happy to pay fair delivery costs in addition as they appear to value the transparency.”
Singapore Restaurant Rescue features about 1,000 official restaurant Facebook pages as well as F&B representatives from Michelin-starred eateries to hawker fare.
Mr Young said: “We have had some businesses tell us directly that their sales increased by 3,000 per cent after posting within our group and seeing high engagement.
“Another told us they had received so many orders that they were actually run off their feet and now had promising hope and newfound motivation that they could survive through the circuit breaker without losing any staff. This was an establishment which employed 21 Singaporeans.”
Meanwhile, Mr Wilson Aw, a cyber security professional, has created web app #SGUnitedFood for F&B businesses to post their promotions and delivery options.
Customers can search for restaurants and make a phone call to or WhatsApp the outlets directly to order.
The app can be downloaded from https://sgunitedfood.com and currently has 220 businesses listed.
Google has also launched a new feature on the new Google Pay Singapore app - a mobile payments app built for contactless payments - for users to browse through food pick-up and delivery options.
With its new menu discovery feature, users can see menus from over 250 eateries and contact the restaurants to place their order and pay.
Then there’s online food platform HawkerFoodDelivery.com, which offers delivery from 12 hawker centres to condominiums islandwide on the weekends for lunch (12.30pm to 2.30pm) and dinner (6pm to 8pm).
The hawker centres include Old Airport Road Food Centre, Chomp Chomp Food Centre in Serangoon Gardens, Maxwell Food Centre in Chinatown and Tiong Bahru Market.
Users can create a mixed basket of dishes from different food stalls within two given hawker centres on each day and can pre-order their meals from one week before.
The platform also has plans to expand its services to weekday deliveries in the coming months.