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GrabFood's Hawker Picks offers popular fare without the queues

This article is more than 12 months old

Craving a dish from a popular hawker stall but unwilling to brave the long queue?

A new feature on the GrabFood app circumvents that by allowing users to choose dishes for delivery from a selection of famous hawker stalls.

The food is pre-made, based on estimated demand, and held in a storage facility before delivery, which costs $3 to $5 on top of the price of the dish.

There are about 70 stalls on board Grab's Hawker Picks programme, which has been expanded progressively since January to GrabFood users served by five hubs in Commonwealth, River Valley, Serangoon, Bedok and Sembawang.

The amount of food that GrabFood pre-orders from each hawker is calculated based on "historical data". Because a selection of famous hawker stalls is available at each hub, customers have the added perk of ordering from different hawkers across the island at one go.

GrabFood Singapore head Dilip Roussenaly said the firm follows food safety guidelines similar to those of caterers to ensure that food quality is not compromised, even if consumers receive the meal hours after it is prepared.

Calling the service an "industry first", he said GrabFood is in discussions with the Singapore Food Agency regarding food safety requirements, and has obtained international food safety management certification.

All Hawker Picks food items are timestamped when drivers collect the food from the stalls just before lunch and dinner operating hours.

They are stored at the facilities in industrial food warmers kept at least at 70 deg C, outside of the "danger zone" of 5 to 60 deg C, where bacteria can grow rapidly.

All food must be delivered to consumers within four hours of collection from hawkers, and meals are typically ordered and delivered within two hours of their arrival at the hub, said Mr Roussenaly.

While other hawker stalls on GrabFood's platform prepare orders on demand to be delivered by riders, those under the Hawker Picks programme usually have long queues during peak hours and are unable to serve additional online demand.

"Hawkers are used to the way they operate and don't want to change it... but they're interested in tapping into the digital space and trying to extend their reach," Mr Roussenaly said.

"Some players have tried to solve this problem, for example by using the concierge model where they would send a delivery rider to queue and get the food for consumers, (but this) can take hours."

Food & Drink