Singapore

F&B businesses trying to cope with new circuit breaker measures

Restaurants, delivery and reservation platforms trying to cope with latest measures

He used to make food and drink deliveries with Foodpanda during the day.

But two days ago, when more F&B outlets had to close as a result of tighter circuit breaker measures, Mr Abdul Rahman started delivering at night instead.

"With more F&B outlets closing, I switched to doing night shifts so I don't have to compete with other riders for what's left, as fewer riders deliver at night," he told The New Paper yesterday.

Mr Abdul, who has been with Foodpanda for eight years, said that before the new measures kicked in, nearly half of his orders come from dessert shops such as bubble tea stores, which have since closed.

Both Grabfood and Foodpanda said they have yet to see any significant impact on their businesses so far.

"We are monitoring the situation," a Grab spokesman said.

Food delivery company Deliveroo, however, said 10 to 15 per cent of its restaurant partners have been affected by the enhanced circuit breaker measures announced on Tuesday.

The spokesman said: "With the latest measures announced by the Government, we have established teams of people across the business to support restaurants who want to be able to deliver as well as (take) on board new riders."

Mr Arrif Ziaudeen, the founder and chief executive of restaurant-reservation booking platform The Chope Group, said that the company had been working with vendors for bubble tea and other kinds of snacks on consumer deals when the new measures were announced.

He said: "We weren't expecting these new set of restrictions to come into play. So when it kicked in, it was a sad time.

"Overnight, we had to switch off all of those deals. Not only that, we had to refund the people who bought those deals, so it has been difficult," he added.

To help its business as well as cabbies who are seeing fewer passengers, Chope recently partnered with SMRT to launch ChopeOn, a platform to allow SMRT cabbies to deliver food from restaurants on Chope's platform.

Mr Arrif said since the start of the circuit breaker period, Chope could no longer offer 99 per cent of the deals on its app. The new measures have added extra pressure.

"We can't do dining in, we can't do take out, and we can't do staycation deals," he said.

"The only thing we are able to do now is delivery, so the hope is that it continues to be a line of business open to restaurants."

A spokesman for the Restaurant Association of Singapore (RAS) told TNP yesterday that while it is only the second day of the new measures, it will become increasingly difficult for F&B outlets to survive as revenue gets severely reduced.

SCORCHED AND SCARRED

RAS vice-president Andrew Kwan said: "The new economic landscape will be scorched and scarred; and how it functions will be different, to say the least, when we eventually come out of this challenging patch."

A Ministry of Trade and Industry spokesman said: "The latest measures kicked in on Tuesday and we are continuing to work with F&B outlets to help them understand the measures that have been implemented."

CONSUMER ISSUES