MCO & Covid-19: A lesson learnt the hard way

Trying times for the F&B scene

The movement control order (MCO) was truly an ordeal for several industries nationwide with one of it being the food & beverage business. Just to recap, restaurants were only allowed to operate takeaway and delivery options. No dine-in under any circumstance. Subsequently, countless food operators either decided to close down for good or opt for digital solution.

Challenges faced by F&B operators

Reducing operation cost was a must as the only cash a food vendor had was what had been retained before the MCO. In order to stay afloat, some food operators had to reduce their manpower and negotiate with respective landlords to give discounts. When all of the above could no longer support the business, the only last resort was to shut down permanently.

Food vendors were quick to turn to 3rd party delivery services as another source of revenue besides takeaway. Although food vendors might had experienced an increase on food delivery, they soon realised that the delivery service did not return enough profit to cover their expenses due to the high commission charges. Partnering with 3rd party delivery service did not seem to be favourable for food vendors after all.

What have F&B operators learnt from MCO?

There is however a silver lining amidst these difficult times, and that is movement control order (MCO) has impressed upon F&B businesses the importance of shifting from the brick-and-mortar nature to owning and growing their online business. Restaurants which did so soon understood that digital marketing is a viable and profitable method to grow revenue.

At the same time, as more and more food businesses partner with 3rd party delivery services, competing for strong online presence on the delivery platform posed another challenge. Delivery platforms therefore have taken advantage by acquiring and controlling huge amounts of restaurants’ customer data. As a result, food & beverage businesses gradually lost control of their customer data as well as ownership of their restaurant-to-customer relationships. Customer data and customer relations are core assets of a business, hence losing ownership of them is largely concerning as the restaurant then loses the opportunity to reap the economic benefits from these prized possessions.

Thus, many F&B businesses are now working diligently to regain control of their own customer data and restaurant-to-customer relationships by developing their own online service, specifically food ordering and delivery service which weEAT offers.

weEAT’s solution comes complete with a convenient digital menu which also encourages pre-order and various cashless payments that works for both delivery and dine-in. The bonus is that restaurants can skip the hefty charges imposed and if they need a delivery partner for their food orders, weEAT is integrated with Mr Speedy and Lalamove.