Online food delivery platforms have seen a significant surge in demand as the second wave of COVID-19 led restaurants and eateries across the sultanate cease their dine-in operations.

With the surge in increasing trend of positive cases occurring daily, restaurants have shifted to take out and deliveries, turning to online food delivery platforms like HeyDomo, Ta-Pow, ONZ and GoMamam to cater to their customers.

FILE PHOTO. Image: The Bruneian

Last year, during the first wave of the pandemic, food delivery apps became the lifeline for the F&B industry and today, we see history repeat itself, as the demand for these services has yet again experience an uptick.

Local food delivery platform HeyDomo, told The Bruneian that they are experience a three-fold growth in their daily order with roughly 300 orders per day.

The growing demand for delivery over the past couple weeks combined with the shortage of dispatchers have presented the company a challenge however they have a “flood gate strategy” in place to deal with the burgeoning demand.

FILE PHOTO. Image: The Bruneian

Echoing this sentiment, Ta-Pow, another online food delivery platform, has resorted to push for cashless payments and contactless deliveries, in an effort to add another layer of protection to its large network of 150 riders.

“Safety is our priority,” said managing partner of Ta-Pow, Wafi Muhammad in an interview.

“Our drivers are all adhering to Ministry of Health (MOH) guidelines in terms of face masks and sanitisation. Our vendors have also put in place their respective SOPs for the safe collection of meals with minimal contact,” he explained further.

“Taking into account that the risk of spread is a lot higher now, we have also taken steps to mitigate it by closing off Belait (one of the heaviest hit district in Brunei) services for the time being,” he continued.

Wafi said that all staff and riders, who are also referred to as “Penapows”, had been advised to prepare themselves for the huge spike in demand, which has proven to be extremely taxing to the company’s staff and riders.

“We have set our operations up to cater for a certain level of demand which has now shot up. We have expanded capacity by hiring extra staff and adding new drivers,” he said.

FILE PHOTO. Image: The Bruneian

Founded in 2020, Wafi shared that the company has been learning and adapting to the changes since the first pandemic.

“Ta-pow started in the middle of the first wave so we have always factored that in. Operations wise, our office staff have been practising Work From Home since last year. We have also increased our payout frequency to twice weekly for our drivers,” he shared further.

Meanwhile, Brunei’s first parcel delivery mobile application ONZ has seen a 50% growth in its deliveries compared to the first pandemic with the majority of these deliveries being placed by food and beverage (F&B) businesses for orders to be delivered to customers.

Like HeyDomo and Ta-Pow, ONZ also faces similar challenges in terms of increasing demands. 

“For us being on time is essential, but since the second wave hit Brunei, we didn’t anticipate the  sudden growth in demand in our services,” said Founder, Azri Jumat.

“We provide same-day delivery services but there has been a delay of 10 to 30 minutes but we are trying our best to pick-up and deliver as fast as possible,” he said, adding that they will be recruiting more runners.

“In the meantime, we have more than 190 runners but due to the increasing demand we will be recruiting more. All the registration and recruitment will be conducted via Zoom only,” he added.

Health and safety concerns are a challenge for runners during the growing pandemic, Azri shared.

“We follow requirements from MOH; wear a mask, use hand sanitisers before pickup and after delivery and to go contactless,” he said.

“Most of our customers are very cooperative and understanding of the current situation and have requested for ‘contactless’ assistance from our runners to leave their items outside their house ,” he added.

Azri further shared that the delivery service will also roll out an upgraded version of their mobile app, ONZ  in October with improvements and new features.

This article was first published on 21 August 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 155

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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