FOOD & BEVERAGE | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Singapore

Will UK-based Deliveroo finally topple FoodPanda's dominance in Singapore?

Its network of partner restaurants trippled to 450 in just 3 months.

Convenience and efficiency have always been part of online ordering, and this has proved to be an irreversible trend in Singapore. People in Singapore tend to work long hours and time is their most precious asset. From laundries to groceries, digital technologies led by smartphones and tablets are fueling an even greater push for immediacy. In the restaurant segment however, local entrepreneur Tristan Torres argued that food deliveries sometimes are not well- recognized for its promptness and/or great customer experience. He wanted to change the mind-shift of consumers and prove that Deliveroo can meet the need of the current market in an average time of 30 minutes from premium restaurants to their doorstep. In addition, customers can track the status of the order creating a seamless customer experience.

Tristan is the General Manager of Deliveroo Singapore which started in October last year. It is a food delivery company which originated in London and catering quality food to customer’s home or office. Deliveroo was founded by William Shu and Greg Orlowski who have been childhood friends since the age of 7 and are both Americans. Greg comes from a technology background and William, the financial sector. The idea of a delivery service for premium food was first hatched by William Shu, when he moved from New York to London, and was surprised that it was nearly impossible to get quality food delivered. William, a passionate food lover, was determined to bring great restaurants closer to their customers. With his revolutionary concept and Greg’s technological prowess, the Deliveroo service was born. First launched in London, Deliveroo has since charted an exponential growth, with its delivery bikes being used in over 30 towns and cities across the UK.

In three months, Deliveroo Singapore has grown to having 26 permanent staff members and 220 riders. When they launched in November, they had more than 150 partner restaurants and serviced five areas. As of today, they have more than 450 partner restaurants and service fourteen areas in Singapore, mainly in Central Business District, Katong, Kallang, Tanglin, Bukit Merah, Novena, Bukit Timah, Queenstown, Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Serangoon, Bedok, Tanah Merah, and Tampines. They aim to be island-wide by the end of 1st quarter.

In comparison meanwhile, food delivery startup FoodPanda has 720 restaurants as of today. It was launched in Singapore in 2012 with initial 51 restaurants in its network. Recent media reports said that Foodpanda is promising to drastically reduce delivery time in Singapore to 30 minutes through its own fleet of over 500 couriers, along with advanced delivery technology.

As Deliveroo has been wanting to go big since launch, Tristan shared that they had a massive outreach effort where they all wore kangaroo onesies and descended upon the Central Business District, delighting office workers with free cupcakes from the famed Plain Vanilla Bakery. 5,000 cupcakes were given away in 4 hours, all stamped with Deliveroo’s iconic kangaroo logo.

“Visually, it was a sight to behold, and it definitely caught the attention of many people. We attracted a big crowd wherever we went, people were happily taking photos with us, and devouring the cupcakes, he said.

Deliveroo is constantly looking for new innovations to change the way delivery services operate in Singapore.

Tristan cited 3 main points that make it unique in Singapore. First, Deliveroo, he said, is working with a wide selection of independent and high-quality restaurants in Singapore and has had more than 450 restaurants that has partnered with them, including Cedele, Chopsuey, Kinki Restaurant, Meat Liquor, Nandos, Potato Head Folk and PS. Cafe. Secondly, he claimed that Deliveroo delivers in an average time of 32 minutes, including the time the user places his order. Lastly, all the processes, he said, are managed by their back-end technology which means they are ‘extremely efficient’ in ensuring the customer gets proper food in a proper delivery time. “The experience is very transparent as the user has visibility on their food, from the moment the order is processed. They can track the order,” added Tristan.

Deliveroo raised a US$70 million investment back in July 2015. Recently, they announced that they had raised a US$100 million Series D investment on 24 November 2015. The new investment will aid international expansion and to establish the company as the number one provider of on-demand, high-quality food delivery. Over 5,000 restaurants are currently delivering through the platform worldwide.

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