The diversity of our local cuisine can be seen as a blessing and a curse at the same time. It is perhaps the sole reason why the question “Where to eat lah bro?” exists, but is also the reason why our country is known for being a food haven in South East Asia.
Capitalising on this is Malaysian startup, MobileWaiter. From the outside looking in, they are essentially a food delivery service. But upon closer look, it’s clear to see that their biggest challenge is in ensuring that there doesn’t have to be a single definite answer on where exactly one should eat—because the answer is anywhere and everywhere their craving leads them.
Not Your Typical Food Delivery
MobileWaiter is a food delivery platform which gets food delivered from multiple restaurants, and even selected hawker stalls, to a user’s doorstep. Where most would charge a delivery fee of anywhere between RM3–RM5 as a food handling fee, MobileWaiter caps it off at RM1.
Phoebe Low of MobileWaiter said, “We wanted to make our food delivery service affordable for diners and don’t want to burden them with a high delivery fee. Thus, we came up with an RM1 delivery fee with no minimum order. RM1 is affordable for everyone and with a low delivery fee, they are able to order on daily basis. The sales cut from restaurants also gives us a higher margin for us to sustain our business.”
Considering how consumers are generally interested in what benefits them the most, MobileWaiter has made their idea rather foolproof and something which users can greatly profit from.
Diversifying The Food Game
Knowing that food delivery from a restaurant to user’s doorstep alone won’t make them very much different from the other platforms available such as FoodPanda, MobileWaiter took a different turn.
Phoebe expressed, “We also do a B2B service, as we understand it is difficult for restaurants to manage their riders. So, we provide logistic services for them, and they can engage us as their logistic partner.”
As MobileWaiter solves the logistic aspect, other food businesses, inclusive of homegrown food startups, can focus on their cooking and marketing in order to get more customers. This ultimately makes it a win-win situation for them. They have even made this partnership work with the likes of Oddle, which is a food ordering software provider.
“By collaborating with other startups, we can grow our businesses together and we are also able to create added value for the customer. Likewise, we learn, share and leverage our resources to reach more customers,” said Phoebe.
Building From Their Experience
The team is made up of Ken, Phoebe and Joey. Ken and Phoebe specifically have experience in a specific flyer distribution service and market research project. Them dabbling in such a niche field has helped them in setting up MobileWaiter.
Phoebe noted that through their experience, “We were by then familiar with the various streets and residential areas as we had been delivering flyers house-to-house all over Malaysia. The lessons we learned helped us to transform the flyer distribution business into a food delivery business.”
This expertise is vital for the heartbeat of their startup as they are operating on a model which has been tried and tested numerous times and it is important to be different. Phoebe emphasised, “We charge 5 times cheaper than the others means we need to work 5 times harder to make ourselves profitable. At the same time we serve 5 times customer than the others and we get 5 times satisfaction.”
Aiming To Be The Best
MobileWaiter formulated their idea in 2013, and back then, Ken was doing the delivery all by himself for the first year, without an office, system or infrastructure. “We accepted orders by Facebook and WhatsApp for the first 2 years.
“Still, we were fortunate that there were government programmes that helped us to the extent of assigning a mentor to us, as well as providing a grant to help develop our website and business application as we rely on phone calls, short message service (SMS), WhatsApp and social media networks for our customer orders,” Phoebe said.
Today, they have grown organically from serving 100+ meals per day to up to 1000+ meals per day. In the near future, MobileWaiter hopes to hire more riders as well as provide more job opportunities to impact the community and to someday become the top food delivery and logistic service in Malaysia.