One of the hardest questions in the world—or at least in Malaysia—is probably: “What should we eat?”
Not surprisingly, Jessica Li, who used to write for TimeOut magazine as a restaurant writer, also struggled with that same question. “The options were: a) something fast but bad for you or b) something decent but you had to walk through the heat and wait in line or c) food delivery but paying an arm and a leg,” Jessica shared.
December last year, Jessica together with her 2 fellow co-founders Jonathan and Chris, founded Dah Makan, a healthy food delivery startup that brings you healthy and gourmet lunchboxes for you to try at home or at your office desk.
“Dah Makan started out to fulfill our own selfish needs! It was born out of our team’s shared difficulty of eating better when busy at the office. The three of us all had the same experience, whether it was in Hong Kong, Germany, Australia, Malaysia or the UK. So we decided, after talking to friends, colleagues and customers who all faced the same problem, to create a convenient service that made it possible for you to eat freshly cooked meals at an affordable price every day,” Jessica added.
High Demand And Growth
The Dah Makan team has been doing extremely well since they started. With thousands of orders per month in order to keep up with the strong demand, they had to increase their kitchen team continuously. Jessica shared, “We just filled a position for our in-house director of creative juices as well as expand our delivery rider team. As with any business, people are the biggest asset but it can be a challenge to find talented people who share your vision when you’re just starting out.”
Setting up and growing Dah Makan certainly takes a lot of time, attention and dedication. Despite a busy schedule, Jessica said that she tries to sleep at least 6 hours a day, and eat healthy food for sure. “A lot of the time you’re so excited by what is happening that you don’t want to miss out on the action, so the trade-off is very much worth it,” said Jessica.
What To Makan From Dah Makan?
Dah Makan’s name is quite localised, but their menu inspiration comes from everywhere in the world, as how Jessica puts it, their menu can be “read like a culinary trip around the world”. She added, “The recipes are a curated selection of dishes that we love to eat (that might not be readily available in KL such as Baja Fish Tacos) and healthy dishes inspired by great chefs like Ottolenghi.”
Instead of preparing full selection of meals which repeats week after week for customers to choose from, Dah Makan prepares only one option for their customers which differs every single week. Other than that, they also give you a teaser of their menu for the following weeks on their website. Kudos to Dah Makan for their thoroughness and dedication to satisfy our taste buds.
Plus, they are super confident about the quality of their food too. They promise that customers will be satisfied with lunchboxes that are crafted with the freshest ingredients and love—or they’ll give your money back, with a free ukulele (we don’t quite know why an ukulele, but it’s free so we won’t question it too much).
Dah Makan is basically taking control in the entire value chain, from customer service, to sourcing the ingredients, cooking and delivery, to ensure that the quality is maintained. “While this is a lot of work (and sometimes a pain), the advantage is huge. Combining technology with traditional restaurant and food delivery processes, we streamline the production flow and maintain a higher food quality while on the logistics side, the result is faster delivery and higher efficiencies. Both lead to lower costs which we directly pass on to our customers,” Jessica remarked.
Each Dah Makan meal comes with nutritional value details, provided by their own in-house head chef and nutritionist who are tasked to come up with dishes that fit two important criteria—food that you can eat everyday, without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.
On Future Plans
Currently, Dah Makan’s one year of healthy dinner giveaway is still running. Besides that, the team is working on a Dah Makan app so that user don’t have to head to their website to order their healthy lunchboxes. “Chris heads up the tech side of the business so he’s currently working on the finishing touches to our iOS and Android app that’s launching in August.”
Jessica who runs the operations of Dah Makan makes sure the business runs smoothly from day to day. When asked about their ‘free delivery and no minimum order required’ policy, Jessica said they are certainly not going to remove that. “It’s a key part of making healthy eating ridiculously simple. In fact, we are expanding our free delivery area coverage on an ongoing basis.”