Food and beverage (F&B) operators in Singapore have been offered financial assistance to use three food delivery platforms -- Deliveroo, FoodPanda, and GrabFood -- as the country readies plans to suspend dine-in services as part of stricter measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. The move comes after small and midsized-retail businesses are offered funds to offset their adoption of online platforms.
Enterprise Singapore said in a statement Saturday that the "food delivery booster package" aimed to help F&B businesses transform their business models and "meet the needs of digitally-connected consumers". Outlets that already were using delivery platforms could also apply for the financial support.
The package would offset 5% of the commission cost charged by the three delivery platforms, with no cap on this figure. This meant that if the commission was 25% of the total food delivery transaction, the F&D outlet would need to pay just 20% to the delivery platform operator. Enterprise Singapore would provide the 5% grant support directly to the delivery platforms.
Food operators currently using the delivery platforms are already eligible for the grant and will not need to apply, while new adopters can reach out to any of the three platforms to find out more.
The move comes a day after stricter measures were announced as part of efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the city-state, which would see the suspension of dine-in services at all F&D establishments from April 7 to May 4. These businesses can open only for delivery and takeaway services.
To qualify for the financial package, these operators must sell food prepared on-premise for immediate consumption, with the exception of those selling pre-packaged products, such as ice-cream and snacks. F&D operators of all sizes would be able to apply for the booster package, including hawker stalls, cafes, food caterers, and restaurants.
Enterprise Singapore's deputy CEO Ted Tan said: "With the implementation of stricter safe-distancing measures, the demand for food delivery is expected to increase significantly, by as much as two to three times as compared to previous months. In the immediate term, the Food Delivery Booster Package will help manage the business costs of F&B businesses for food delivery orders so that they can stay open for business and adapt their operations accordingly.
"This is also a good time for businesses to optimise their business models for online sales," Tan said. "Enterprise Singapore will be looking at other initiatives to help businesses build new capabilities to navigate the online space."
The government agency said it was also working on plans to provide other capabilities, including data analytics, marketing, and menu engineering. Details for these would be announced at a later date.
Enterprise Singapore on Thursday also introduced grants and manpower support to help small and midsized-business (SMB) retailers kickstart their e-commerce journey, offering to offset 90% of the cost. The move aimed to incentivise more retailers into adapting to online business models and expanding their revenue and sales channels beyond traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Supermarkets and online grocery stores have seen significant increases in orders amidst the coronavirus outbreak and are struggling to keep up with demand, with some such as FairPrice and RedMart recently implementing additional service fees for deliveries. RedMart on Thursday said it had suspended its orders temporarily while it put in new measures to cope with the spike in orders. These included assigning delivery slots based on location, limiting specific days and times to delivery address, and limiting orders to up to 35 items.