Jumping aboard delivery services helped Haig Road Putu Piring keep going despite circuit breaker

Haig Road Putu Piring managing director Nooraisha Md Hashim hopes to expand her business and plans to continue leveraging technology.
Haig Road Putu Piring managing director Nooraisha Md Hashim hopes to expand her business and plans to continue leveraging technology.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Ms Nooraisha Md Hashim, who took over the Haig Road Putu Piring chain from her parents, had for years been considering a food delivery service, but never got around to adopting it. 

Last year’s circuit breaker was the push that she needed, as dining in was not allowed. 

“On our Facebook and Instagram pages, a lot of customers were requesting delivery, and some food delivery platforms also asked us to join them,” said Ms Nooraisha, 38. 

She took the plunge and began door-to-door delivery of the company’s putu piring, a popular Malay snack of steamed rice cake with gula melaka filling. 

It was the right move, as the delivery service helped to ensure that her company brought in as much money during the circuit breaker months as it used to, she said. 

But there were challenges, such as having too few delivery drivers, with only two available at first. They had been hired previously for catering orders. 

Prompt deliveries were also an issue because, with so many orders, the drivers had to go to over 10 locations a day, and planning the routes was difficult, said Ms Nooraisha. 

“When customers order food delivery, they expect to get it quickly. But we were so overwhelmed that it was taking up to two to three days at one point,” she said. 

She had to hire up to seven more delivery drivers during the circuit breaker, and the company now has a total of six drivers. 

Four of the chain’s five outlets do delivery. At one point, there were 50 orders a day per stall. Initially, the company took down the orders manually before distributing them to the outlets. 

Now, it is using Oddle’s digital platform, which has made things easier, said Ms Nooraisha. Haig Road Putu Piring is also available on GrabFood, Foodpanda and Deliveroo. 

Delivery orders slowed after the circuit breaker ended and dining in was allowed again, but Ms Nooraisha said the service  is here to stay, especially as walk-in customers have not returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

The company gets about five orders a day per stall now.

Haig Road Putu Piring started as a roadside stall in the 1930s with Ms Nooraisha’s great-great-grandmother at the helm. In 1985, the business started operating from a coffee shop in Bukit Batok. 

Its five outlets now are at Geylang Serai Market, Haig Road Food Centre, Simpang Bedok, Northpoint City, as well as in Geylang Road. 

Ms Nooraisha officially joined Haig Road Putu Piring in 2007. She became its managing director in 2014 when she took over from her parents. She hopes to expand the business with more outlets. 

She also plans to continue leveraging technology, such as employing contactless cash machines. 

“I never thought that one day we would be doing door-to-door delivery. It was only during the circuit breaker that I realised we really needed to push on and do it.”