Convenience is only an app away

The business of delivering restaurant meals to the home has numerous benefits, especially for Malaysians


The business of delivering restaurant meals to the home is undergoing rapid transformation as new online platforms race to capture markets and customers across the country.

The concept that is coming into light these days has numerous benefits, especially for Malaysians.

The thought of navigating traffic in the sweltering heat alone is enough to make one wants to pick up the phone or by logging onto an app, swiftly look through menus and prices, order a variety of cuisines, then sit back and relax while they wait for it to show up on their doorstep.

DahMakan is an example of a food delivery service that is thriving in the country.

It started off with Jonathan Weins and Jessica Li launching Foodpanda in Hong Kong early 2015. It was while they were at Foodpanda that they realised food delivery marketplaces did not give the customer the same kind of value that a vertically integrated model could — so they set out to eliminate the middleman.

Typically with marketplaces, the customer will pay for full restaurant rates aside from the delivery and service fees. But the quality of food sometimes deviates, given that it was not made to be delivered.

DahMakan COO and co-founder Jessica Li said they were inspired to build a food delivery model that is affordable and convenient.

Li told The Malaysian Reserve the takeout industry in Malaysia is ridiculously huge, indicating that there are 2.3 million people alone in Kuala Lumpur (KL) who eat out.

This was based on an independent research the company did before committing to DahMakan.

“We have grown 20% since launching in 2015. The majority of it has been through word of mouth from existing customers along with ‘good’ marketing.

“At present, we provide to tens of thousands of customers around KL daily and it’s not slowed down,” said Li.

“What this means is that as we grow, we don’t need to add additional drivers and can generally put our focus on building the quality of our delivery staff instead,” she said, adding that their main goal is to provide value for money.

Marketplaces oftentimes predominantly subsidise customers with discounts, given that restaurants with delivery services have a fixed cost.

The team at DahMakan thought that this was not fair to both businesses and customers alike.

“Rather, virtually all our efforts are centred on the best way we can proceed to better our internal operations, making them more effective to ensure that we can deliver a product customers can use on a day-to-day basis.

“The best example would be the routing technology that we’ve designed to properly group orders together.

“We’ve been enhancing this, therefore, as we grow, we are forced to employ a lot less riders than a market- place model. As a result, we can deliver with no extra cost to the customer,” she said.

Li explained that they are actually equipped to keep costs of food as low as possible, because as they expand over time, they are able to gain more buying power with a number of sup- pliers for quality ingredients.

DahMakan is looking to venture into the South-East Asian region in the next five years.

“I think the value proposition of an affordable, convenient, healthy everyday food delivery experience appeals to millions of customers all over the region,” Li said.

“Our food is tailor-made to make tasty and healthy food accessible for anyone. Offices do not always offer healthy options for busy professionals, so it happens that deep fried and cheaper options are usually the forced choice.

“Therefore, we think that with our system, we have a great chance to bring our customers to a healthier lifestyle,” she said.

Going the Extra Mile

Subsequently, Honestbee, another contender in the market that was introduced in February, has gone the extra mile by blending deliveries of cooked food, groceries, as well as par- cels to homes daily.

Operating in eight cities — including in Malaysia — Honestbee started off delivering groceries but most recently expanded to meals, as well as parcel delivery with its logistics arm, Goodship Honestbee.

Honestbee Malaysia marketing associate Lesley Lim said the primary driver powering the foundation of the group was the growing need for people to outsource some of their routines and free time for things that matter more.

“Consumers want to be more productive when it comes to time management.

“Our business is about making life easier for our customers,” she said.

When Honestbee was first introduced, it centred on three key areas — KL, Mont Kiara and Bangsar.

Today, they cover more than 50 areas in the Klang Valley, with the advantages of delivering groceries to Subang and Petaling Jaya, in addition to food delivery to Sunway and Kota Damansara.

Within a year, they have more than 100 boutique grocers and about 600 restaurants on board the platform. Lim said the growth is encouraging and predominantly favourable.

She added that their parcel delivery service is also receiving positive responses and demands from customers to widen their coverage areas.

“We’re also looking into working with big supermarkets, boutique grocers, as well as restaurants to provide wider choices to our customers.”

Honestbee said the selection of partners that it provides sets the company apart from other players in the industry — with Ben’s Independent Grocer, Shojikiya, Southern Rock Seafood, Jezripe, The Blue Cow Butcher, Amazin’ Graze, Hero Plan B, Ben’s General Food Store, Isetan The Japan Store, Botanica + Co, Mikey’s New York Pizza and Mei by Fat Spoon, among others.

“Every partner that we have is mindfully selected. This is part of our commitment to the public,” she said.

Honestbee aspires to be more reachable to the people. The company plans to expand its services to all major cities in Malaysia.