Best Food For­ward

Dis­cover what goes on be­hind the scenes with lead­ing and new dis­rup­tors of to­day’s food tech in­dus­try

Portfolio - - IN THIS ISSUE - ByAmyVan

From de­liv­ery pi­o­neers like food­panda and De­liv­eroo to self-pickup new­com­ers like Mealpal or restau­rant book­ing sys­tems like Quan­doo, we are re­ly­ing on tech­nol­ogy and apps even more so now be­fore we tuck into our meal. Jump­ing on the band­wagon are other new play­ers like Od­dle that of­fer their own unique sell­ing points – but ul­ti­mately it’s all meant to of­fer con­sumers con­ve­nience. We take a peek into the tech­nolo­gies used by each of these for­ward think­ing com­pa­nies.

Food­panda: On­line Pi­o­neer

Food­panda, the on-de­mand food de­liv­ery ser­vice es­tab­lished in Berlin and ac­quired two years ago by lead­ing food de­liv­ery com­pany, De­liv­ery Hero, was launched in Sin­ga­pore in 2012. Presently, food­panda’s plat­form cov­ers more than 4,000 restau­rants in Sin­ga­pore. Mr. Luc An­dreani, manag­ing direc­tor of food­panda Sin­ga­pore, says, “The front end of our ser­vice – the app and web­site – have been en­gi­neered to of­fer the most seam­less and per­son­al­ized cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence in the mar­ket. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of ‘swim lanes’ helps to cu­rate a has­sle-free user ex­pe­ri­ence by com­pil­ing restau­rants based on the cus­tomer’s pre­vi­ous or­ders and the restau­rant’s pop­u­lar­ity in the neigh­bour­hoods.” He adds that food­panda com­mits to an av­er­age de­liv­ery time of 30 min­utes but cus­tomers can opt to pre­order their food up to 24 hours

in ad­vance. Once an or­der is placed, cus­tomers re­ceive dy­namic de­liv­ery times which take into ac­count the dif­fer­ent stages of the process - dish prepa­ra­tion, rider avail­abil­ity and time to reach them. Once the food is en route, cus­tomers can track their or­ders in real time. “On the back end, we em­brace tech­nol­ogy in the form of our ‘Hur­rier’, an ad­vanced dis­patch al­go­rithm tool that works to track our riders where­abouts and cal­cu­late who can de­liver an or­der in the most time-ef­fec­tive way. The al­go­rithm will an­a­lyse many fac­tors to help us pro­vide the best pos­si­ble cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. For ex­am­ple, it will take ve­hi­cle speed and type into ac­count, whether the rider is on a PMEB, mo­tor­bike, bi­cy­cle or on foot, and it will also con­sider the rider’s score, mak­ing sure the best per­form­ing riders get pri­ori­tised,” says Mr. An­dreani. Six years ago, the team had to track the riders’ where­abouts and man­u­ally con­nect them with restau­rant ven­dors, which was a lot less ef­fi­cient. He adds that be­ing the long­est stand­ing food de­liv­ery com­pany in Sin­ga­pore, the amount of data that food­panda has built al­lows them to suc­cess­fully pre­dict the users’ or­der­ing pat­terns.

Meal Pal: Skip­ping Queues

MealPal, present in 17 mar­kets world­wide, works for those who don’t like jostling with crowds and queu­ing up for lunch. In July, the brand launched its sub­scrip­tion ser­vice for meals in Sin­ga­pore – its first mar­ket in South­east Asia. For a monthly fee of $95.88, users will get 12 meals ($7.99 per meal). And for $2 more, MealPal will of­fer two ad­di­tional hawker meals. Users can of­ten save up to 40 per cent per meal ver­sus the price they would nor­mally pay. Mr. Paul Clif­ford, gen­eral man­ager of In­ter­na­tional Mar­kets says, “The or­der process be­gins with an email no­ti­fi­ca­tion sent to our users when the kitchen opens. Our cus­tomers log-in to the app to choose a lunch or din­ner op­tion. Our au­to­mated sched­ul­ing plat­form col­lates these or­ders by 10:30am for lunch and 4pm for din­ner, send­ing one bulk con­sol­i­dated or­der (through email/SMS) to our part­ners to pre­pare the meals.” As hawk­ers do not typ­i­cally have emails, MealPal adapted its com­mu­ni­ca­tion meth­ods to in­clude SMS to send bulk or­ders to hawk­ers. With this tech­nol­ogy, F&B out­lets can also plan their in­ven­tory, and con­trol their labour and in­ven­tory costs. The pre-or­der fig­ures from the app al­lows food busi­nesses to bet­ter pre­dict the amount of in­gre­di­ents needed for the day, and ul­ti­mately re­duce the amount of food waste. Mr. Clif­ford shares how it works, “At the F&B out­let, users tap on the ‘Pick Up’ but­ton in their apps to open the QR scan­ner. They can then scan the QR code at the pickup point to col­lect their or­der, which reg­is­ters as a suc­cess­ful pickup. Be­fore or­der­ing their next meal, users will be prompted to rate their meals and pro­vide feed­back.” These feed­backs are shared with part­ners to help them ad­just on their meal of­fer­ings. Mean­while, MealPal is also launch­ing WorkPals on the same plat­form. This is a fea­ture where col­leagues can see what each other have or­dered, and co­or­di­nate meals and pick­ups to­gether.

Od­dle: Plug ‘n’ Play So­lu­tion

Od­dle is a cloud-based, e-com­merce and or­ders man­age­ment so­lu­tion cater­ing specif­i­cally to F&B busi­ness op­er­a­tions – to help man­age de­liv­ery and take­away or­ders. Founders Mr. Jonathan Lim Zeyan and Mr. Pua Yong Xiang cre­ated this new plug-and­play so­lu­tion, which con­nects an on­line shop­ping cart to an or­der man­age­ment sys­tem. Since 2014, the com­pany has served over 3,000 out­lets in Sin­ga­pore, Hong Kong, Viet­nam, Tai­wan and Malaysia Mr. Lim says, “Our so­lu­tion is sim­ple to use and catered to­wards F&B own­ers. Be­ing plug and play means that zero tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise is needed in go­ing on­line, with min­i­mal time and ef­fort needed to start tak­ing or­ders on­line.” Od­dle’s ac­count man­agers will fa­mil­iarise F&B busi­nesses with the on­line plat­form. A ded­i­cated dash­board fea­tures things like Branded Shop­ping Cart; Real-Time Or­ders Man­age­ment Sys­tem; An­a­lyt­ics and Mar­ket­ing; Pay­ments and Lo­gis­tics In­te­gra­tion. Once or­ders are con­firmed, an email is sent to the cus­tomer. A main rea­son Od­dle was built was to in­crease the op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency of restau­rants so that they can con­cen­trate on their food

and cus­tomers. Od­dle packs F&B spe­cific fea­tures, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to de­fine de­liv­ery ra­diuses as well as time-sen­si­tive as­pects such as prepa­ra­tion time and daily item lim­its. “Ad­di­tion­ally, we also al­low F&B own­ers to con­sol­i­date both off­line and on­line or­ders onto a sin­gle plat­form, giv­ing them the abil­ity to man­age and draw in­sights on all their or­ders with­out the need of mul­ti­ple so­lu­tions or man­ual pa­per trails,” shares Mr. Lim. Mr. Lim adds, “Our so­lu­tion is dif­fer­ent from food de­liv­ery mar­ket­places as we pro­vide a plat­form for a sin­gle brand, while the oth­eres pack hun­dreds of restau­rants onto one sin­gle plat­form, and this might cause brand di­lu­tion.” Od­dle doesn’t charge com­mis­sions un­like other so­lu­tions that fo­cus on or­ders priced on a com­mis­sion­based scheme, some­times up to 30%.

Quan­doo: Tech-Savvy Reser­va­tion

Founded in Berlin in 2012, Quan­doo is a reser­va­tions plat­form with over 17,000 part­ner restau­rants across 12 coun­tries. Launched in Sin­ga­pore in 2014, it rep­re­sents over 1,000 restau­rants here. Quan­doo has a suite of tech­no­log­i­cal tools ded­i­cated to eas­ing the reser­va­tion process and aid­ing mer­chants in stream­lin­ing their work­flow sys­tems to op­ti­mise op­er­a­tions. This gives mer­chants time to fo­cus on other as­pects of their busi­nesses like the food qual­ity, front-of-house ser­vice and back-end op­er­a­tions. In the past year, Quan­doo has de­vel­oped the fol­low­ing tech­no­log­i­cal fea­tures. For in­stance, cus­tomers search­ing for din­ing op­tions can ac­cess Q-Chat: Book­ing As­sis­tant, which pro­vides sug­ges­tions ac­cord­ing to their re­quests such as lo­ca­tion, cui­sine and bud­get. The ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence-pow­ered chat­bot se­cures and con­firms a reser­va­tion by au­to­mat­i­cally reg­is­ter­ing pro­file in­for­ma­tion (name, mo­bile num­ber and email) from the cus­tomer’s pub­licly avail­able Face­book pro­file. An­other op­tion for cus­tomers is to browse through Smart Of­fers for cur­rent din­ing pro­mo­tions, as they are able to get real-time up­dates on these. For cus­tomers that have a restau­rant in mind, Quan­doo makes the reser­va­tion process seam­less and ac­ces­si­ble. Mer­chants have the op­tion to im­ple­ment a Quan­doo-pow­ered re­serve but­ton on their of­fi­cial In­sta­gram page to make reser­va­tions di­rectly from In­sta­gram through a Quan­doo book­ing wid­get. This cuts out the need for an ad­di­tional phone call by as­sim­i­lat­ing the reser­va­tion process into an on­line chan­nel that cus­tomers are al­ready on. Al­ter­na­tively, if cus­tomers call the restau­rant dur­ing peak hour or non-op­er­a­tional hours, Quan­doo’s IVR can man­age and con­vert them into con­firmed reser­va­tions. “We ba­si­cally en­hance a restau­rant’s dig­i­tal pres­ence and make it pos­si­ble for mer­chants to re­ceive reser­va­tions through ev­ery on­line chan­nel,” says Matt Greatorex, Manag­ing Direc­tor of Quan­doo Sin­ga­pore.

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