honestbee Singapore recently announced its food delivery and laundry services will be suspended.
The company also announced that it will cut 10% of global headcount. Some of its overseas operations in seven countries outside Singapore will be shut down or suspended.
Their CEO, Joel Sng has also stepped down amidst rumours that he had been fired.
While the troubles are brewing in other countries, honestbee Malaysia has announced that it will keep going as its business remain “brisk”.
The company released a brief statement that its Malaysian operations and headcount has not been affected and will continue as per usual.
The big question: will honestbee Malaysia be able to sustain its business on the long-term?
Based on the situation and some case studies, here are a few suggestions that the company could do to reassure all parties involved that it is still very much in business.
In the statement, honestbee Malaysia mentioned a couple of Ramadhan and Hari Raya promotions. This is a good move, as it shows that they are still active in the market and eager to engage.
In 2011, major retail bookstore Borders Group Inc. filed bankruptcy and closed about 400 stores in the US. Since the international closure, Borders Malaysia is still going.
Operated by Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, there are seven Borders bookstores across Malaysia. They believed that it is worth investing the costs in operations.
Thus, they rebuilt their presence by running meet-and-greet events, book launch and storytelling sessions at their store.
So using this as an example, honestbee Malaysia should perhaps allocate some budget for marketing campaigns and on-the-ground events to reassure customers that they are still around and active.
There were media reports about a payroll delay for its Singapore staff, which the company has declared to be untrue.
As of now, the Malaysian company has asserted that it has not been affected by the 10% regional headcount reduction.
But staff and riders are probably worried about what will happen to them even if they don’t get hit by cuts.
To maintain and improve the team’s morale, communication is key. This means having multiple meetings with each and every member.
Therefore, honestbee Malaysia needs to listen to their team’s concerns and suggestions on what they can do better, and also address them as soon as possible.
In 2015, OpenMind Resources launched OpenMinds Perks which introduces perks to their employees. These perks encourage their growth in creativity and experience.
They also run weekly ‘RE: Source Friday’ sessions where their employees talk about their knowledge and experience in the industry.
These activities and benefits are vital to stabilise, reassure and grow the team members who keep the business moving forward.
The company may also have to renegotiate contracts, so that the employee turnover and layoffs are reduced.
“honestbee Malaysia have great partners who have been very supportive since the very beginning,” said the company.
Take a look at the website and app. There is a wide selection of stores and restaurants which the company has partner with.
Ben’s Independent Grocer, AEON and AEON MaxValu Prime are some of the major stores that are available for customers to shop at for their groceries online.
honestbee Malaysia has also continued to create partnerships with restaurants. Recently announced in their newsletter, Hong Kong-style Canton-i joins as a new partner.
Perhaps when it comes to partnerships, the question should be what is the end goal in mind?
Striving to develop a travel technology ecosystem, AirAsia’s global venture capital fund, RedBeat Capital made a strategic partnership with 500 Startups.
RedBeat Capital supports the scalable startups, particularly focus on travel and lifestyle, logistics and financial technology, in building their presence in Southeast Asia
As honestbee Malaysia and their partners strive to provide customer-friendly online shopping experience, they could improvise and expand these projects with innovative ideas.
BULK Big, Bee Traveller and 1-for-1 dining promotions are some of the projects that they could look into. This will also help in building up the partners’ presence.
The company also have to be more transparent with their sales and monitoring reports, when it comes to partnerships. This approach will keep their partners updated on the company’s progress, and ease their minds on the company’s state.
Without any specific details, honestbee Malaysia’s position in the market and its long-term viability is hard to predict.
They were also alleged to be in talks with Grab and Go-Jek for acquisition, and a move like that is definitely going to impact the Malaysian operations.
Editor’s Update: A representative from honestbee Malaysia has reached out to us to and stated that the Grab/Go-Jek acquistion was media speculation, and is untrue.
The Malaysian side of operations does have an advantage: it doesn’t have to maintain and upkeep a Habitat. Launched in late 2018, Habitat by honestbee was an ambitious project that is supposed to be “the world’s first tech-integrated multi-sensory grocery and dining destination of its kind”.
However, taking up 60,000 square feet in space and stocking “20,000 Asian and global flavours and ingredients and daily essentials”, it is definitely something that would contribute to a high burn rate in Singapore.
We will have to wait and see what honestbee Malaysia is going to do next, and if the market responds well to their actions.
- We have reached out to honestbee Malaysia for further clarification and updates and have included their response here.
- Read more about honestbee Singapore and their struggles here.
Feature Image Credit: honestbee Malaysia