Cooking up mobile app for hawker food delivery

Hawker.today will be unveiled in October. It will concentrate on deliveries from stalls in the central area for the first three months.
Hawker.today will be unveiled in October. It will concentrate on deliveries from stalls in the central area for the first three months.PHOTO: HAWKER.TODAY

System matches orders with selected stalls; meals will be delivered by start-up's riders

Say goodbye to long waits for food and seats at crowded hawker centres - if an upcoming food-delivery mobile application takes off.

After discovering there was no easy way to have hawker food delivered on demand, friends Jonathan Faynop, 25, and Clement Tan, 20, decided to create an app for it.

"More Singaporeans are turning to apps to get food delivered to them, but these are usually from fast-food joints," said Mr Faynop, who also runs another technology start-up. Mr Tan is in the food and beverage business.

The app, for iOS and Android users, will be unveiled to the public in October. It will concentrate on deliveries from stalls in the central area for the first three months.

The two so-called e-hawkers have poured more than $20,000 in the last two months into their hawker-food delivery start-up hawker.today.

With the app, users input their order and location details, and their desired stalls will be alerted to the orders. Meals, when ready, will be delivered by the start-up's riders.

Hawker.today, which has eight staff, promises to deliver the orders within an hour. It has been experimenting with different packaging methods and ordering processes to ensure that the food delivered is kept hot and fresh.

A feature on the app allows users to track the location of delivery riders in real-time. The delivery charge starts from $4.50, and the minimum order is $8.

The start-up has partnered several stalls in hawker centres such as Newton Food Centre, Chinatown Complex Market and Food Centre, and Hong Lim Complex Market and Food Centre. These include stalls selling barbecued chicken wings, sambal stingray, braised duck rice and roti prata.

It plans to cover at least half the hawker centres here by next year, including the Hougang Ci Yuan Hawker Centre opening this year.

Several consumers told The Straits Times the app seemed promising, but they were unsure if they would use it.

Mr Damien Teo, 22, who is waiting to enter university, makes food orders via mobile apps at least three times a month. Hawker food tastes good only when eaten at the hawker centres, he said. "The open-air concept and hot, humid environment are part of the experience."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2015, with the headline 'Cooking up mobile app for hawker food delivery'. Print Edition | Subscribe