Fatigue sets in among delivery riders as MCO 2.0 progresses

The recently announced operating hours until 10pm for F&B outlets is a relief to all the riders and delivery companies

by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by ARIF KARTONO

FATIGUE among food delivery riders, who have been working round the clock since the start of the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) last year in March 2020, is beginning to be more apparent as MCO 2.0 progresses.

With more people deciding to stay home for fear of contracting the Covid-19, the sheer demand for food delivery is pushing most riders to the limit, with many racing to fulfil the customers’ needs.

Foodpanda MD Sayantan Das said this is the reality the country is now facing.

“This latest round of MCO has seen demand and orders soar once more and while we have planned for this with an expanded fleet of riders and more options for customers, the demand is certainly still a challenge — a good one to have nevertheless,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in a recent interview.

According to Sayantan, when the operating hours for food and beverage (F&B) outlets were initially shortened, some of the challenges included the bottleneck of orders as Malaysians rushed to get food once working hours is over.

He said the extended operating hours until 10pm is a relief to all the riders and delivery companies.

“We have heard of instances where cancellations or delays have taken place. There are several factors that contribute to this — the weather and operating hours being chief among them.

“To that end, we encourage our customers to plan ahead and make orders earlier to avoid the rush hour. However, we understand that this is not possible for all our customers and as such we are equally investing in addressing this,” he said.

Among the strategies that are adopted by the platform include the expansion in the number of riders since that time. By now, Foodpanda engages some 30,000 riders nationwide.

“When we talk about platform growth, we gauge success from several perspectives including the growth in the number of restaurants and retail partners, customers on our platform as well as the number of riders in our fleet.

“Whichever way you look at it, we have performed well since the first MCO,” he said.

Sayantan said overall, Foodpanda recorded a growth of 163% since the first MCO in 2020, and the company has been driven by the introduction of its new verticals, panda shops, and cloud kitchen.

“Just as important to this growth has been our expansion and diversification into new verticals. With panda shops, users now have access to a laundry list of daily necessities that can be ordered via the Foodpanda app.

“This increased functionality has allowed us to establish a foothold among users who typically have not been large spenders on online food delivery,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pop Meals (Pop), formerly known as Dahmakan, is another platform that has experienced high-levels of demands as soon as the MCO hit.

Its CEO Jonathan Weins said that Pop was organically fuelled by a natural increase in demand for deliveries while most people decide to stay home.

“We noticed orders for dinners surged as customers looked to add variety in their day-to-day meals. Despite it being really busy, we were able to cope with sudden demands during the peak delivery times.

“This is because we had already been working on the delivery optimisation problem for years before the MCO came into place,” he told TMR.

Weins said one of the main challenges is the shift from traditional means of dining to other methods to sustain businesses. “With the ongoing Covid situation, a lot of F&B companies are seeing a shift from traditional dine-in orders to takeaway and delivery which means that F&B outlets will have to fundamentally think about their menu in different ways,” Weins said.

He added that the platform is ready for this year and has launched its first Pop offline outlet at Dpulze Cyberjaya.

“The outlet expands our delivery area in Cyberjaya and also allows customers to get takeaway and when permitted, to dine-in. The outlet has received overwhelming positive feedback and demand was three times higher than we expected.

“We are extremely encouraged by the numbers and we will launch many more outlets across Klang Valley and then later this year also across northern region of Malaysia,” he said.

He added that the app also recently added a new feature which allows customers to pre-order meals for takeaway, cutting through ordering and pick-up times.

“It’s really just the start for us to connect our online delivery experience with an immersive offline experience. In the future, the online and offline world is going to blend into each other and will be essentially the same.”

“We are now starting to build our version of this for Pop customers. There are many exciting features in the pipeline that also allow offline customers who get food from our outlet, to leave feedback, collect loyalty points, learn about the food and interact in all sorts of unexpected ways with the Pop brand,” Weins said.


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