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As restaurants return in Singapore, Deliveroo bets on diners sticking with pandemic habits

80% of respondents admitted that they are ordering from food delivery services more than ever before

Brands and retailers are struggling to reach consumers as normal distribution and logistics channels become obsolete in the new normal. The Drum uncovers how Deliveroo has changed its strategy to become the answer to this issue, launching a new delivery service.

Food delivery has become indispensable to modern consumers, and the pandemic has only increased Singaporeans’ reliance on such services in the past year.

In a consumer study conducted by market research consultancy Blackbox in 2018, seven out of 10 (69%) consumers in Singapore order from food delivery apps at least once a month, with more than half (53%) saying their frequency of using food delivery apps has increased in the last two years.

Online food delivery platform Deliveroo has onboarded approximately 2,000 restaurants since the start of Covid-19, says Sarah Tan, the general manager for Singapore at Deliveroo.

During Singapore’s lockdown, known as the ’circuit breaker’, the platform ramped up efforts to onboard new riders to cope with increased demand for food delivery.

Deliveroo has also been working to support restaurant partners while they struggle without sit-in custom, guiding them through the transition from dine-in to takeaway outlet.

It is also providing a delivery network to reduce restaurants’ costs to allow them to focus on the core of their businesses, helping them to tackle liquidity issues and investing in marketing campaigns to increase their sales.

“Health and safety remain an absolute priority for us, and we have taken several important actions focused on extreme safety measures for restaurants, riders and customers. In addition to making contact-free delivery mandatory, we are also the only food delivery platform, for example, to publish detailed guidance on how restaurants can safely run delivery-only outlets, covering issues such as minimising contact, packaging, and hygiene best practices,” Tan explains.

“We have also developed bespoke online marketing tools for restaurants to let customers know they are operating delivery services and established teams of people across the business to onboard and support restaurants who want to be able to deliver.”

She continues: “According to a Capital Economics report released in November last year, food delivery platforms like Deliveroo have helped protect approximately 110,000 jobs in our partner restaurants in Singapore from being lost or furloughed between April and June, with Deliveroo supporting 7,300 jobs in the Singapore economy alone.”

Addressing the trend of Singaporeans working from home or taking advantage of flexible working arrangements, Deliveroo launched its first-ever on-demand grocery delivery service in October 2020 to provide customers with greater access to a plethora of grocery products.

These include over 800 household essentials such as fruit and vegetables, meat and seafood, eggs, milk and dairy, snacks and sweets, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as store cupboard essentials from the likes of Marks & Spencer, The Providore and Shell Select.

“To make groceries even more accessible to consumers, we have also partnered with a selection of specialty grocery stores across the island, including heartland areas. Brands include Blu Kouzina Mart, Ryan’s Grocery, Kuriya Japanese Market and Asia Pacific Breweries,” explains Tan.

“Our grocery delivery service will make convenience even more convenient for busy Singaporeans, giving people access to the food they want and need within a few clicks from some of Singapore’s most loved grocery brands or dine-in dishes from local restaurant favourites.”

With the pandemic is far from over, Singapore still has social distancing measures in place for the hospitality sector. Tan says it is too soon to know exactly what Deliveroo, other food delivery services, or the F&B industry will look like post-Covid-19.

What will not change, is Singapore’s status as a nation of foodies. As restaurants return, Tan is confident there will always be a time and place for food delivery alongside dine-in.

In a survey conducted in January this year by Deliveroo, 80% of respondents admitted that they are ordering from food delivery services more than ever before, with half (50%) admitting that they order in food more than once a week.

The popularity of food delivery apps also extends to older Singaporeans. 81% of respondents aged 45-54 state that they are more reliant on food delivery services to order their meals. With 82% of consumers agreeing that they would use food delivery services more regularly in the next few years, the demand for food delivery services is expected to continue to grow.

In the long-term, Deliveroo will focus on helping restaurants grow their business, supporting dine-in operations while at the same time maximising the benefits of delivery to reach a bigger customer base.

“Food delivery used to be limited to fast-food restaurants and pizza parlours, and it was nearly impossible to get great quality food delivered. We have transformed the way people think about takeaway by offering fast, reliable delivery from the best local restaurants to everyone’s homes or offices,” says Tan.

“We will continue sharing data insights into consumer patterns and their own performance, as well as helping our restaurants partners from a marketing and branding perspective.”

She adds: “The habits developed by consumers throughout Covid-19 are not ones that will likely fade away; delivery is indeed the new normal, and many opportunities lay ahead for platforms, restaurants, consumers and riders alike.”

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