Singaporeans are all spoilt for choice when it comes to food here.
Likewise, our selection of food delivery apps are just as impressive.
As the incumbents use this opportunity to showcase the improvements they are/will make to fill a void left behind, a new contender enters the fray with a unique approach to food delivery.
We spoke with Monica Li, Director and co-founder of Plum Food, a Hong Kong-based food delivery service, to find out more about it.
A Tale Of Two Cities
Monica, who has held key roles at Eu Yan Sang, Grab, and Quandoo and an entrepreneur herself, was brought on by Founder and CEO of Plum, Andrew Chung.
Plum Food is a subsidiary of Clearmind Capital and a sister company of Compass Offices in Hong Kong, which is founded and owned by Andrew as well.
Plum was launched in November 2017 in Hong Kong serving just their central business district and has grown to serve all of Hong Kong.
Four months later, Plum launched in Singapore at Fusionopolis.
They grew 657% in just eight weeks, serving over 5,000 dishes, according to Monica.
“Unlike other food delivery companies, our dishes are tried, tested and loved – by our very own team of Plumsters, and we are the ones bringing your lunch to you each day,” she explained.
“We believe that the personal touch of providing the best service possible to our customers is really what sets us apart, because we care. We ask customers what they like to eat and will source for those very dishes to put on the app.”
It’s a different take on what was a disruptive food delivery business model that’s now become a norm.
She shared that their biggest hurdle is finding the right pick-up point in Singapore.
“In Hong Kong, sidewalks and areas outside the building are public land so we can set up and distribute food. In Singapore, a piece of grass or land is always owned by someone,” she stated.
“Our whole model relies on bulk deliveries to a specific location, so working with building management on pick-up points has been pivotal to the success of our operations.”
Less than four months in, Plum now has 10 pick-up points in Singapore including the CBD and the Marina Bay area.
Plum Food is also available in Sydney, Australia.
Selection Versus Choice
Plum’s mission is “to curate the best food at reasonable prices and bring them to people at their place of work”.
As opposed to having a wide variety of food choices, so wide that sometimes you can’t even decide, Plum creates a daily menu of 10 selected items consisting of mains, sides, a dessert, and a beverage.
Just place your orders before the cut-off time at 10.30am on the day of the delivery, and be prepared to collect it between 12pm to 12.30pm at the available location of your choice.
It’s like ordering food at a restaurant in the comfort of your office, and collecting your lunch like a lunch box that’s been lovingly packed and delivered by your mum.
By having customers themselves pick up their food at a designated spot, Plum is able to deliver affordable meals with no delivery fees.
Monica explained that their foodies “scour over 6,000 restaurants in Singapore to personally select meals that [they] have tried, compared, and love” to offer to their customers.
Plum also makes it easy for customers to leave feedback and suggestions on food they want delivered via the app.
“We hope to connect people with great food. We’re all about discovery – we personally curate dishes from places that are not normally accessible to office workers during lunch hour. We get that people are busy, so let us bring the best options to you,” she quipped.
Plum is great for the people working at office buildings who are too busy to eat out and it’s also a way to try food that’s not within walking distance.
No ‘Plumming’ Around
Monica noted that in Hong Kong, there are many major office buildings that don’t have many food options nearby, unlike Singapore.
She found that both markets love food but “people in Singapore take food porn to a whole other level”.
“Singapore is a food haven and finding good food here is never hard. We can bring people in CBD dishes from Alexandra. Who knew that you could have lunch and eat it too?!” she quipped.
“In both markets, we feature Michelin Bib Gourmand dishes and Plum exclusive meals. Both markets feature at least one protein, one vegetarian, one local and one Western dish.”
On their journey so far, she added that they learned that “meal strategy is an art” like having to eliminate “choice paradox” as they look for a mixture of local, Western, and Asian dishes to put on their daily menu.
“In Singapore specifically, we feature at least one halal dish per day. We analyse customer behaviour and ask customers for feedback after every meal to ensure that we are always providing the best quality food and constantly improving the way we do things.”
Monica revealed that Plum has done angel seed funding and are looking to do a Series A fundraising in the “near future”.
The team in Singapore has grown exponentially since they started hiring around mid-January this year and they now have 32 employees. Their tech and product team sits in Hong Kong.
“We adopt the startup model of ‘get shit done’ and try to avoid assigning rigid roles. Every member of our team learns each piece of the business (user acquisition, restaurant acquisition, customer advocacy, operations, marketing) so that they can launch their own districts,” Monica said.
Plum will be launching another three new districts this year and are currently hiring.
“We offer a lot of autonomy, regional exposure, delicious food tastings, learning from experienced entrepreneurs and working in diverse dynamic team – and the chance to change the way people ‘lunch’,” she added.
If anyone is interested in applying, write in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured Image Credit: Plum Food Singapore