SINGAPORE: Foodpanda will be opening a central kitchen with a dine-in space, in a first by a food delivery service provider in Singapore.
Located in Woodlands, Favourites by Foodpanda will officially open on Friday (Mar 23), and will deliver food in a 5km radius. This means it will also serve nearby districts such as Sembawang and Yishun.
Its managing director Luc Andreani said that the idea to open the central kitchen in Woodlands was “to bring more choice to our customers in the North, because naturally this is also where organically we have the least amount of restaurants”.
The location will also serve as a testbed for the company, as it looks to roll out more central kitchens across Singapore’s neighbourhoods.
While Favourites by Foodpanda will feature a dine-in space, Mr Andreani says that it was a choice driven by legislation. He said: “This is actually a canteen space, so by regulation we have to have a seating area”.
He added that while customers in the area will have the option of dining in, the core of the business will continue to be focused on delivery, and that the menus, packaging, and selection of restaurants chosen at the site are “optimised for delivery”.
Favourites by Foodpanda will also allow customers to obtain food from multiple eateries hosted in the kitchen in a single order.
And in a bid to give customers more flexibility, Foodpanda will be rolling out a self-collection option on its app.
Foodpanda's competitor Deliveroo, which opened its first central kitchen Deliveroo Editions in Katong in 2017, is also exploring collection options for its second Editions in April.
As the food delivery service and app scene becomes more saturated and competition rises, Dr Boh Wai Fong, head of Information Technology and Operations Management Division at Nanyang Business School, said it is important for these services to continue to differentiate themselves.
While “there are certain food companies who specialise in certain geographies, like the CBD area or a certain district, some will come in to specialise in certain types of food”, while others will instead choose to “spend efforts on the app itself, to make it more consumer friendly”, she said.
Mr Khoo Kar Kiat, the founder of Fastbee.sg, noticed that most food delivery apps and services focus on offering food from restaurants.
“If you want to change the way Singaporeans obtain their food every day”, you need to start with what “regular Singaporeans eat” - “hawker and kopitiam food”, he said.
The company offers a small number of daily options from different hawker centres across the island, and delivers the food to machines for customers to collect.
In order to avoid high running costs, the company said it chooses does not use motorbikes for deliveries. Instead, Mr Khoo said, the company hires a handful of drivers, each capable of delivering 50 to 60 packs of food per trip, saving the company time and money.