SINGAPORE - Food and beverage businesses welcomed the Food Delivery Support Package announced by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on Sunday (May 16).
During the period from Sunday until June 13 when dining in is prohibited and only takeaways and deliveries allowed, ESG will fund five percentage points of the commission cost charged by the three food delivery platforms Deliveroo, foodpanda and GrabFood. These usually impose a charge of about 30 per cent of the total food order.
Grab has also announced it will extend a rebate to its food merchants. Stall owners in hawker centres managed and regulated by the National Environment Agency (NEA) will get a full commission rebate on all orders during this period. Grab will make up the difference after deducting the contribution from ESG.
Commissions will be halved for non-hawker food merchants for orders exceeding their current level of sales or their sales last month.
Foodpanda also started offering free delivery for hawker centre orders with a minimum value of $35 from Sunday. The order can be for items from different stalls in the same hawker centre.
Deliveroo has so far not announced similar schemes.
Ms Gwyneth Ang, co-owner of the One Prawn Noodle stall in Golden Mile Food Centre, said she received an influx of GrabFood orders on Sunday, though it might not be linked to the commission rebate.
The stall uses GrabFood and foodpanda, as well as private-hire drivers who charge a flat rate.
She says: "Most hawkers pass on the commission to customers because our margins are tight compared with restaurants."
She felt the support schemes help to encourage F&B operators to adopt e-commerce, but added: "Older hawkers who are illiterate or do not understand English will not be able to take advantage of the initiative to help them. Those are the people who need the most help in this crisis."
White Restaurant's chairman Victor Tay said that his restaurants, known for their white beehoon dish, offered free delivery to customers and the ESG booster package would help defray the cost.
He uses platforms like GrabFood, foodpanda and Oddle.
Restaurateur Ricky Ng, who owns Blue Lotus Chinese Eating House in Sentosa Cove and Opio Kitchen & Bar in Alexandra Road, uses GrabFood, Deliveroo, foodpanda as well as in-house drivers for deliveries.
He said: "The 5 per cent from ESG certainly helps with the 30 per cent commissions. But I prefer to use my in-house team who is briefed on our service and time expectations."
Mr Kelvin Ng, co-owner of Coca steamboat restaurant, casual Thai cafe Tuk Tuk Cha and Japanese eatery Kakurega (The Lair), said: "Any assistance is better than none."
But he also wondered if the effort was enough to help F&B operators like him who had to give massive discounts to hold on to customers.
White Restaurant's Mr Tay added that rental and manpower costs were his biggest overheads.
"It will be even better if we get rebates in utilities, taxes and compulsory rental relief."
But not every food operator will benefit from the booster package.
Ka-Soh's managing director Cedric Tang said the Cantonese eatery chain's outlets in Amoy Street, Outram and Greenwood Avenue use only Oddle because it offers islandwide delivery.
He said: "Oddle charges 10 per cent commission, which is significantly lower than others. Also, my restaurants are in areas without dense populations, so we did not get many orders from Grab or foodpanda when we used them previously."
Correction note: An earlier version of this story referred to Victor Tay as White Restaurant's managing editor. This is incorrect.