Entrepreneur

This Local Korean F&B Bets That You'd Rather Have Your Food Hot And Fresh During The MCO, Here's Their Idea

Since the MCO started, searches for ‘recipes’ and ‘Dalgona Coffee’ have hit the top 20 most searched terms on Google.

Dalgona Coffee can be done with a few simple ingredients, but, full actual meal recipes are not as simple as that, which is why many of us rely on food deliveries.

With phase 2 of MCO in action and deliveries are limited to 8 PM, you’re out of luck if you had a hankering for Korean food in the middle of the night.

One of the solutions? Get a 3-day meal kit delivered right to your doorstep, and this is what MyeongDong Topokki is doing with MDT Apron.

What Exactly Is MDT Apron?

In the package, you’ll find recipes with neatly arranged ingredients. So, you can cook meals such as Dakgalbi Chicken Deopbap, Beef Soondubu Jjigae and MyeongDong Topokki Odeng from the comfort of your home.

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While the concept isn’t new, it’s rare to find Korean dishes in other meal kit deliveries.

We spoke to Vincent Lua, the CEO of MyeongDong Topokki to find out what they’re doing differently since the MCO and to find out what MDT Apron is all about.

He said the idea came across his mind half a year ago, but he realised the market wasn’t ready back then. Because this was something he had already given a lot of thought to, when the MCO hit, all it took was 1 week to get everything ready.

Vincent Lua, the CEO of MyeongDong Topokki cooking on Instagram with the MDT Apron meal kit / Image Credit: MyeongDong Topokki

Within the week, he said that they were able to get R&D done, packaging and subscription package thought out and reached out to logistics companies for deliveries.

“To comply with MCO, dine-in for all our outlets are closed, and only delivery/take-away services are available. The drastic drop in footfall undeniably impacted sales, but we managed to maintain it with the spike of delivery and MDT Apron.”

One of the major challenges faced is to get fresh ingredients to their customers.

To tackle that, Vincent told us they’re working with a few logistics companies and with the MDT Apron pre-order plan, they can ensure that customers will be getting fresh ingredients when it arrives on their doorstep.

Just Like Eating-In

In an average household, you wouldn’t have a lot of the base ingredients needed—most staples for Korean food include gochujang (red pepper paste), gochugaru (hot pepper flakes), and even kimchi.

If you’re not going to cook Korean food regularly, just to make one dish, you have to buy quite a few ingredients, and end up with excess.

Vincent also re-emphasised that MDT Apron meals are packaged in their Food Processing Centre and it adheres to the rules of food safety with quality ingredients.

We give our own secret recipe and ingredients to customers, ensuring they are able to cook 100% of the same taste as they dine-in at MyeongDong Topokki.

Vincent Lua, CEO of MyeongDong Topokki

However, if you’re worried about eating the same thing over and over again, Vincent told us their R&D team are looking to update the menu twice a week. They might bring in special dishes not on their normal menu too.

One of the menus MDT Apron. / Image Credit: MyeongDong Topokki

Instead of ordering delivery and potentially getting a meal that’s cold, MDT Apron gives you the ability to experience something new, by cooking your favourite meals and eating it fresh and hot, like you would when you dine-in.

They’re In It For The Long Run

Vincent said that he wants MDT Apron to expand across Peninsular Malaysia and to position the company as a leading tech firm in the F&B industry.

He also lauded the team’s adaptability for the swiftness of the MDT launch but said that it always has been the company’s culture to be flexible and adapt.

The ground staff were also prepped and informed about the new business plan because the company has always kept everyone updated on their vision and direction.

On the RM168 price tag, he assured us that the price is the same as what you would pay for at a MyeongDong Topokki outlet.

For example, if you’re paying RM10 for a Kimchi Topokki in the restaurant, it’ll be RM10 in MDT Apron. And there are several dishes in MDT Apron that are not on their original menu.

Everything is neatly packaged into a box when it is delivered to your doorstep / Image Credit: MyeongDong Topokki

Instead of incurring delivery fees every time you order your food online, all you have to do is pre-order this meal kit and you’ll have 6 of your meals with just one delivery fee.

Since the launch of MDT Apron, they’ve gotten tonnes of inquiries and in a week, they’ve managed to sell up to 100 boxes of MDT Apron kits.

He said the team has received an overwhelming response from their customers, especially those that are far away from a MyeongDong Topokki outlet. Since they don’t have access to Korean food, ordering MDT Apron would be the best option.

Looking Towards The Future

Vincent believes that MDT Apron will be here to stay, even after MCO ends as he says that it is an ongoing strategy for the company.

Vincent Lua, the CEO of MyeongDong Topokki / Image Credit: MyeongDong Topokki

He said that the customer’s purchasing behaviour will change to a healthier lifestyle, so eating out will not be the norm.

Instead, customers will look to cook from home and with this, they do not have to head out to the market to purchase ingredients. Everything is prepped for them and there is no food wastage.

In this current situation, it has been hard for many businesses to remain operational.

Vincent shared, “As an entrepreneur, we need to stay strong and be well prepared for any changes. We need to ensure the company is still moving forward with the company’s direction. There are strategies and tactics that need to be implemented accordingly in this situation.”

Persistence and [being] ready to change are important.

Vincent Lua, CEO of MyeongDong Topokki

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