Food delivery service owner missing; police report made

Three food business owners said they are each owed thousands of dollars for food they delivered through What To Eat.
Three food business owners said they are each owed thousands of dollars for food they delivered through What To Eat.PHOTO: WHATTOEAT

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - The owner of a local food delivery service has become uncontactable after apparently owing owners of several dozen food outlets thousands of dollars.

What To Eat, which started its business in 2013, vacated its office premises in Geylang about two weeks ago.

Its website and social media pages have also been shut down.

When The New Paper knocked at the last known home address of its director, Mr Benson Lo Kwang Meng, 40, in Whampoa on Tuesday (Nov 13), no one opened the door.

Three food business owners told TNP they are each owed thousands of dollars for food they delivered through What To Eat.

Mr Anthony Fok, 34, who owns Little Gobbles Cafe, said: "It has not paid us since we signed up with it in March, and now we can't contact it.

"We honoured all the orders of about $50 to $100 for each order until this month. We are owed thousands of dollars," added Mr Fok, who has made a police report.

Mr Ng Wai Lek, 47, who owns vegan restaurant nomVnom, said he is owed about $4,000.

He said What To Eat started delaying payments two years ago.

"I had to chase it before it paid, and in September, it stopped paying altogether," Mr Ng said.

"I stopped using it after that and tried to take it to the Small Claims Tribunal, but Benson didn't show up."

What To Eat was one of the first food delivery services to gain traction in Singapore, alongside Deliveroo and FoodPanda.

In 2016, it was touted as having the widest variety of food options delivered island-wide. It typically charged $3 for delivery with a minimum order of $30.

When TNP visited its registered business address at 167 Geylang Road on Tuesday, a security guard said the company moved out about two weeks ago.

He said that dozens of food business owners had come by in the past month to look for Mr Lo.

"The police also came about a month ago. Then, about two weeks ago, Mr Lo packed up and returned the keys," he added.

A police spokesman confirmed that a report has been made against What To Eat.

A Consumers Association of Singapore spokesman said it has received a complaint against the company for closing down and becoming uncontactable.

A check of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority's records shows What To Eat is still registered as a business.

Reviews of the company on Google in the past few months have been negative, with about a dozen merchants complaining that the company owed them money and could not be contacted.

Several customers also complained over the last four months about being charged for meals that never arrived and not being able to reach the company for refunds.

In a 2016 interview with The Straits Times, Mr Lo said What To Eat used to partner FoodPanda but they later went their separate ways due to business differences.

He claimed at the time that demand was soaring.

The food business owners who spoke to TNP said they are hoping the authorities will hold What To Eat accountable.

Mr Fok said: "It's not just about the money but also the integrity and trust of businesses here."