Cooks team up to man stalls and deliver food

Saiful handing over a meal package to fellow food seller Rajahalim Ali Akbar, who is helping to deliver the order at the restaurant in Chulia Street.

TIRED of paying high commissions to delivery riders, a team of food sellers in a restaurant in Chulia Street, Penang, are managing the delivery work themselves. Chief tenant Saiful Isa, 39, not only does the marketing and cooking but also goes out to deliver orders during the lockdown.

“The times when I am unable to deliver, one of the stall operators helps me out.

“We sometimes hire delivery drivers.

“I found a few people willing to come on board with us to deliver our meals for a small income.

“When they are unavailable, we alternate and help each other out on delivery.

“If one of us is out on a round, the others will man the fort in case a new order comes in,” he said at his restaurant, shared with two other stall operators.

They sell a variety of Asian, Thai and Western food.

Saiful, who started his business in the middle of the pandemic eight months ago, said there were times when he wanted to quit.

“When we use food delivery services, either their commission is high at 15% to 30%, or they will mark up our food offerings and make our prices unattractive to online customers.

“So we reach out directly to customers and we don’t charge extra for delivery.

“Since we cannot travel further than 10km now, the delivery cost is small,” he said.

Saiful, who used to work in the banking sector, said he would regularly change the menu to keep repeat customers and attract new customers.

“We promote extensively online and we market it our own way, which has helped us,” he elaborated.

He said he would probably stick to this strategy as the number of Covid-19 cases daily had not gone down by much.

“We do expect things to be this way for a while longer before it is safe to open up dining-in,” he said.

“We know that people are afraid as we seldom get self-pick-up orders.

“This shows that people do not want to go out unnecessarily,” he noted.

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