How Singapore’s Food Ordering Platform Oddle Supported The F&B Industry During The Covid-19 Crisis
The three co-founders of online food ordering platform Oddle, Jonathan Lim, Pua Yong Xiang and Alan Goh, do not mince words even when talking about competitors in their industry.
One of the first things they address is the perception that food delivery operators such as GrabFood and Deliveroo are charging inflated commission fees, as high as 30 per cent of an order. “The commission is only expensive when the value of the basket is high,” says Lim, who is the platform’s chief executive officer. “If someone delivers an order of $20, a $6 delivery fee is actually very cheap. From a cost perspective, no one can do a delivery at that price.” A fair delivery fee, he says, would range between $8 and $10.
Quibbling over the cost of a food delivery may seem inconsequential but over the past few months, this has become one of the largest flashpoints for Singapore’s embattled F&B industry. Due to the closure of dine-in services during Singapore’s circuit breaker period, many have pivoted to offering takeaway and food deliveries to survive.
What Oddle is doing differently as compared to other common delivery services is that it charges a flat 10 per cent commission of online sales. “The logistics of deliveries are left to the owners, so how they manage costs can be decided by them,” explains chief technology officer Pua.
While the platform seems to have sprung up out of nowhere, the company was actually founded in 2014 by the three boyhood friends, following Lim’s futile efforts in shopping for an online system for The Lawn, his cafe located in the Buona Vista area.
“Back then, only McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut had online ordering and deliveries, and I wondered why. When I looked at the F&B business, it was obvious the future lies in growing your business outside your shop,” Lim recalls. When he received a $300,000 quote for a delivery system, he decided to build one instead. “So the idea was born out of my own pain, because I wanted my own ‘McDelivery’ platform.”
As eateries adjust to this new business model, Oddle has seen a surge in restaurant sign-ups. Since April, they have onboarded about 500 new eateries, to bring the total to about 1,500 restaurants in Singapore and 5,000 in the region, including Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan. They range from high‑end F&B operators, such as the Les Amis Group, The Lo & Behold Group and Unlisted Collection, to popular local establishments such as Keng Eng Kee Seafood and even grocery shops.
The trio is also in the process of bulking up the range of services their company offers, like relaunching a food directory to help eateries gain greater online visibility. Chief revenue officer Goh says the team is also exploring ways to assist in digital marketing efforts. He elaborates, “You might be a restaurant with 300 items on your dining menu but that does not mean you should put all on your online menu. We look at how we can use data to help restaurants attract traffic and gain customer conversions.”
Ultimately, their mission is to help keep the country’s vibrant F&B scene going through and beyond the crisis. Lim urges, “The industry is suffering because consumers are not spending due to the economic climate. But for those who can, please support your favourite restaurants or the industry will not survive this.”
(Related: Support Singapore’s Restaurants And Join Us In The United We Dine Campaign)
A peek at what the Oddle team eats
I’m Teochew and I think Paradise Teochew is one of the best in Singapore, while my wife loves Dancing Crab.
– Jonathan Lim, chief executive officer
I was wowed by the steak dishes from Fat Cow, and for a three Michelin-starred restaurant like Odette to offer home delivery, well you’ve got to give it to them.
– Alan Goh, chief revenue officer
The claypot pork liver at Keng Eng Kee goes perfectly with rice, and I also love White Restaurant’s white bee hoon.
– Pua Yong Xiang, chief technology officer
(Related: Restaurants to Visit in Singapore When They Re-Open for Dine-in Services During Phase 2)