Many still prefer deliveries than eating out

2020 is an important milestone, especially in areas of digitalisation and remote ordering, says expert

by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by ARIF KARTONO

DELIVERY platforms continue to have an optimistic outlook this year despite relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions at food and beverages outlets, driven by the seemingly permanent shift in consumer habits.

Foodpanda Malaysia MD Sayantan Das said 2020 had proven to be an important milestone that set the food delivery platform on a great trajectory forward, especially in areas of digitalisation and remote ordering.

“With this momentum, we expect 2021 will be better although markets are opening up once more, as 2020 helped cultivate a culture of ordering online among locals.

“We believe they have enjoyed this convenience, and will continue to rely on it, despite the ability to once again physically go to stores and restaurants,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an interview recently.

Sayantan said Foodpanda recorded a healthy year-on-year growth in the past year with increases in total order.

“Before the pandemic, it was all about convenience, but during the Movement Control Order, it is the most viable way for people to get the food they wanted.

“We have worked towards growing our vendor list to offer more variety to consumers, be it from fast-food chains to the nasi lemak stall down the road,” he said.

Sayantan added that there had been a healthy demand for last-mile delivery providers over last year as demand grew stronger over time.

“Foodpanda also built a strong delivery fleet, opening up more viable options such as Foodpanda walkers to enable more Malaysians to earn an income,” he said.

This year, the platform is looking to continue its momentum, adding more innovative services and verticals, Sayantan said. Foodpanda introduced Foodpanda shops and Pandamart to service the growing demand for grocery delivery in 2020.

“We will continue this momentum in 2021 whether it is a premium subscription service that gives subscribers access to special discounts and promotions, or expanding our existing verticals to reach more Malaysians,” he noted.

Fellow contender Pop Meals estimated that the overall food delivery market achieved double-digit growth during the pandemic as many new customers went online to order food for the first time.

Its CEO and co-founder Jonathan Weins said its mission is to build a new food infrastructure in Asia which makes quality food accessible, safe and affordable.

“We do this by creating omnichannel food brands through a tech-powered supply chain, while running a network of cloud kitchens as well as hybrid outlets that serve as both takeaway and dine-in outlet,” he told TMR.

Weins said it recently launched its first hybrid outlet in Dpulze and has seen great success with customers in Cyberjaya.

“Based on this promising result, we are scaling aggressively this part of the business. Over the next nine months, we are going to open 50 new outlets, so you will see many outlets popping up across the Klang Valley starting already this month with launches in Bandar Sunway, Wangsa Walk, Kajang, Taman Tun Dr Ismail and many more,” he said.

Weins said digital component and integration has been an important part in how its customers interact with the brand while being offline in its new outlets.

“In the third quarter of 2021, Pop Meals will be launching five new outlets in Johor Baru, then expand into north and east Malaysia. Our goal is to build Malaysia’s leading tech-enabled quick-service restaurants chain combined with cloud kitchen.

“Afterwards, the regional expansion will be the focus again. We are looking to launch in Singapore and Jakarta within the next 12 months. We feel that we can provide a lot of values to customers in both markets using our tech-powered integrated supply chain,” Weins said.

Meanwhile, Grab Malaysia said it could not comment on growth for its delivery segment, but instead said the platform has been relied on for everyday needs across South-East Asia.

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