SINGAPORE: FairPrice Group and food delivery start-up WhyQ have launched a new digital platform offering islandwide food delivery at zero commission to vendors, the companies announced on Friday (May 29).
"This is in response to the lack of affordable delivery platforms, an issue that has been in the spotlight recently due to increased demand of food delivery options for F&B establishments amid safe distancing measures," the companies said in a joint media release.
Known as Marketplace@WhyQ, the pilot roll-out of the platform aims to help the "local F&B community, especially the smaller food establishments", the companies added.
Unlike most online food delivery platforms, vendors on Marketplace@WhyQ are not required to pay any commission or set-up fee.
Instead, a 6 per cent markup on food price will be used to "offset payment gateway and server costs for the platform", the companies said.
Close to 100 stallholders from food courts, coffee shops, hawkers and restaurants have registered to join the platform to date.
Since the start of the COVID-19 "circuit breaker" period on Apr 7, dining in at F&B outlets has not been allowed, with many F&B operators offering delivery and takeaway options to continue operations.
"While larger and more tech savvy food businesses transited to delivery platforms, smaller food establishments struggled to keep up," FairPrice Group and WhyQ said.
"These smaller food establishments faced more difficulties in accessing digital platforms due to a high commission fees, manpower considerations, and a perception that it is difficult to incorporate technology into their business."
FLEXIBLE DELIVERY OPTIONS
Vendors will also be able to choose between WhyQ delivery and self-delivery.
Those with existing arrangements for food delivery can select the self-delivery option, whereby the delivery fee will be paid to them directly, while continuing to make use of the platform's digital ordering and payment system.
"We hope to encourage more stallholders and establishments to join this zero commission platform, especially those who have been unable or reluctant to get on board food delivery platforms in the past," Group CEO of NTUC Enterprise and FairPrice Group Seah Kian Peng said.
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Mr Varun Saraf, co-founder of WhyQ, said: "The idea is to encourage as many F&B players, especially smaller food establishments, to operate delivery-enabled virtual stores at no cost; and passing on discounts to benefit consumers to order online."
Mr Jason Chua, co-owner of Beng Who Cooks, one of the vendors on the platform, said: "As hawkers, our profit margins may be relatively small compared to other F&B operators.
"Based on our experience, other platforms may charge a fee of up to 34 per cent, which may eat into our already-thin margins.
"With zero commission on Marketplace@WhyQ, we will explore passing on some of these savings to benefit customers, such as providing additional sides, or other complimentary ingredients for their orders."