May 25, 2009
Food deliveries warming up as orders triple
Most are families with kids or working couples who want to save time
By Jessica Lim
AS PRECIOUS time eats into consumers' busy days, food delivery services are on the up and offering more than the perennial favourites pizza and burgers.
A Straits Times check with food delivery companies and eateries that deliver revealed that demand has at least tripled in the past year alone.
Those ordering are mostly young families with children and young working couples who spend $40 to $100 a pop.
At East Coast's 26-year-old Yellow Light Thai Food, 400 delivery orders are received every week, four times the number in September last year.
Killiney Road's Orange Lantern, which serves Vietnamese food, now gets 30 delivery orders daily. Two years ago, only 10 such orders were taken daily. Their minimum order? $40.
The Chicken Rice Company and Friends both currently take 30 delivery orders every week, up from fewer than 10 during the same period last year.
The same goes for fast food companies. Online orders at Pizza Hut, for one, are experiencing 'steady double-digit growth on a monthly basis', said a spokesman.
It is the same story for online food delivery companies - like HungryGoWhere.com and RoomServiceDeliveries.com - that tie up with eateries in Singapore to deliver food to homes all over the Republic.
Eleven-month-old HungryGoWhere.com currently gets about 700 orders monthly, up from about 150 when it first started out. At RoomServiceDeliveries.com, about 40 meals are delivered daily, up from about two orders a day when the business was set up five months ago.
Customers, said Mr Wong Hoong An, the founder of HungryGoWhere.com , are willing to pay the price because 'there is a need out there'.
The 31-year-old, whose customer base consists mainly of professionals from double-income families, said: 'Busy people now want food to come to them and don't want to waste time waiting at the restaurant, because time is so precious to them.'
Food deliveries are booming here because time-strapped parents want to enjoy home-cooked meals, but do not have the time or energy to cook, said head of retail management at Singapore Polytechnic Angie Tang.
'Demand also goes up as variety goes up,' she added. 'Now, ordering takeaway is not restricted to... pizza or fried chicken,' she added.
The range is ever-expanding. HungryGoWhere.com has seen its online directory of restaurants increase from 20 to 31 since July last year, ranging from Middle Eastern cuisine to beef noodles. Another three restaurants are signing up this month.
'Many customers asked us to deliver, so we thought why not?' said Mr Thomas Chiam, owner of Friends, which started delivering food in June last year.
'Nowadays, customers are finicky. We figured we couldn't just count on restaurant walk-ins to survive.'
Ms Lisa Seow, 48, orders dinner in at least once a week for her family and spends about $100 each time. 'We want variety and we want it fast. Travelling to have a meal outside takes time. We don't have much of that.'
For father of two Mr Lee Jun Ying, the delivery service is a godsend.
'My wife and I work late hours, so we'd rather have the food come to us,' said the 42-year-old banker, who often gets Thai food and gourmet pizzas delivered to his home in Bukit Timah.
'This allows us to have a nice meal in the comfort of home without rushing about and queuing for takeaways.'
KO Japanese Restaurant
When it started: March 2009
Most popular dishes: The Deluxe Maki Sushi Bento, which includes grilled eggplant with miso paste, black cod with sweet soya sauce and sushi
Chinese restaurant Xi Yan
When it started: January 2009
Most popular dishes: Japanese tomatoes in sesame wasabi sauce and Sichuan style braised beef brisket
Spice Sutra Restaurant & Cafe
When it started: January 2009
Most popular dishes: Vindaloo, Rogan Josh and fish curry
Fifth Season Express
When it started: December 2008
Most popular dishes: Sweet and sour prawns, chilli chicken and fried rice