Non-profit food delivery platform helps hawkers go online
BySGForSG, which has no onboarding fees, offers a leg-up for small food and beverage businesses
While Mr Jack Ong was lining up to buy chwee kueh, the hawker lamented about how business had been bad during the circuit breaker period.
When Mr Ong, 31, asked why he did not use a delivery service to supplement sales, the hawker said the commission charged by some delivery platforms was too high and adopting the technology was a challenge.
That gave Mr Ong an idea.
The project director at an events company and 11 others put their heads together - as well as a five-figure sum of money - and set up BySGForSG, a non-profit food delivery platform for hawkers and small food and beverage businesses.
There are no onboarding fees and vendors are charged a 5 per cent commission, which is then donated fully to YMCA Singapore's Wok The Talk initiative that provides meals and groceries to the vulnerable.
Participating hawkers provide their stall name and a stall-front photograph to BySGForSG to be uploaded to its website. Once their account is created, stall owners can add the items and prices themselves. Providing pictures of the dishes is optional.
For less tech-savvy hawkers who are not comfortable creating the listings on their own, BySGForSG will put up a listing for the hawker centre at which the stalls are located.
So far, Pasir Panjang Food Centre is the only hawker centre listed, with at least 15 of its hawkers on board.
BySGForSG has three or four volunteers at the centre during each shift. They buy food from the stalls ordered by customers on the online platform and take it to the central post at the hawker centre to await delivery pick-up.
The platform officially launched last Thursday but had started reaching out to vendors on May 11. More than 50 are now on board.
One of them is Mr Yeo See Hock, who runs Meng Kee Seafood at Pasir Panjang Food Centre. The 61-year-old sells zi char dishes including seafood hor fun and barbecue seafood. He said that because he has to keep prices low, the profit margins are low.
"Should we choose to raise our prices, the food will be too expensive to be 'hawker food'. Customers would rather pay that amount for restaurant or cafe food and not order from us," said Mr Yeo.
After Mr Ong's team helped him list his stall on BySGForSG, Mr Yeo said he has managed to recover 40 per cent of his losses.
Mr Yeo added: "We feel (this initiative is) very meaningful as it is a win-win solution for merchants, customers, and the community."
Mr Ong and his team hope to keep the initiative running for the next three to six months.