Online food delivery operators have seen a substantial growth of orders during the third wave of the pandemic, surging between 26% and 60% from earlier in the year, as more people eat at home.
Major mobile operators are riding this wave, enabling subscribers to redeem points for discounts on online food orders.
Shri Chakravarthy, country general manager of Gojek Thailand, said consumers are relying more on digital services to maintain a sense of normalcy.
“We experienced a nearly 26% increase in food orders from March to April, with the largest volumes on weekends and long holidays,” he said.
Food delivery continued to experience growth as an increasing number of consumers chose to dine in during the pandemic. User expectations on service quality and hygiene were also heightened, said Mr Chakravarthy.
Gojek research shows promotions and pricing have decreased in significance, while choice, convenience and user experience have become paramount.
“These will remain a key focus for us this year,” he said. “We are open for more merchants and drivers to join our platform to support those affected by Covid-19 from the change in restaurant operating hours and the higher unemployment.”
In March, Gojek revamped onboarding service to allow all merchants to start their online business within 3-7 days, said Mr Chakravarthy.
He said Gojek offers an income assistant program, an initiative funded by the Gojek Partner Support Fund, that aims to lend support to Gojek driver and merchant partners impacted by the pandemic.
Food delivery app Robinhood under Siam Commercial Bank also saw a surge in orders following the third wave of the pandemic.
“We’ve seen nearly 19,000 food order transactions per day since the beginning of May when a ban on dining took effect. This rose from an average of 12,000 orders per day in mid-April at the start of the third wave, or close to a jump of 60%,” Thana Thienachariya, board chairman at Purple Ventures, the operator of Robinhood, told the Bangkok Post.
Robinhood also increased incentives for hard-working rider partners.
The number of restaurants joining the platform has surged to 3,000-4,000 a day, up from 2,000 before the third wave.
Food merchants took the hardest hit from the fresh outbreak, he said, adding other food delivery platforms should consider reducing gross profit (GP) or commission fee applied for food vendors.
Robinhood collects no GP from food vendors on its platform.
“Food merchants need to have multiple delivery platforms to increase sales,” he said.
Food merchants also need to engage in digital marketing to make it visible for their target groups through their own channel due to limited advertising space and crowded shops on food delivery platforms now, he said.
Alejandro Osorio, country head of Grab Thailand, said it is continuing to conduct a campaign to raise awareness on health and hygiene practices for rider partners and food vendors.
The top five items on its platform from April 11-17 during Songkran were egg tart, fried chicken, pan fried rice with basil, northeastern cuisine and suki.
Foodpanda said in a statement it has been supporting riders, merchant partners and customers from the start of the pandemic.
It joined the government in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including campaigns that offered 0% commission for new vendors and voucher codes to encourage customers to support local small businesses.
Foodpanda has also experienced an increase in demand for groceries and daily essentials. It has ramped up expansion of pandamart, a grocery delivery service, to serve customers with a wide range of daily essentials.
The platform said it has made it easier for riders to join during the pandemic to support their earning opportunities.
Advanced Info Service (AIS) and True Corporation, the top two mobile carriers by subscribers, have also engaged in the burgeoning online food delivery business.
AIS works with Grab, Gojek, Line Man and Foodpanda to allow customers to use their collected points as discounts for food orders on the platform.
True also enables its subscribers to use points in TrueID app as a discount for food ordering on its TrueFood platform.