Within the past few years, it’s pretty clear that the millennials have become the foodie generation and have helped spark a lot of food trends — from the rise of healthy eating, to the increased demand of food delivery services.
Compared to other generations, millennials also tend to dine out more due to the need for convenience and crave for experiences.
However, the government has banned dining-in at all food and beverage (F&B) outlets in Singapore as part of its ‘circuit breaker’ measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
As we attempt to adapt to the new normal, there’s no denying that the circuit breaker has caused a huge impact not just in our daily lives, but also to the livelihoods of F&B owners.
Hawkers in particular, who are mostly not on food delivery apps, are fully experiencing the sharp decline in walk-in sales. Even those who are already on the apps struggle to afford the steep commission rates of about 30 to 40 per cent.
Stepping Up To Save The F&B Industry
Noting these woes, GOMO by Singtel has launched Helpful Meals – an initiative to support F&B outlets and those in need.
GOMO has teamed up with Belanja Eat and Timbre Group to bring more than 6,000 free meals to those who need them, and is providing free advertising and listings to F&B outlets.
In early April, the community pay-it-forward initiative Belanja Eat worked closely with Timbre Group to successfully onboard over 30 food stalls at Yishun Park Hawker Centre. The project has garnered 896 donated meals, and 807 of them have been redeemed so far.
An additional 37 food stalls in Timbre+ Food Park will be onboarded on Belanja Eat in June. Meanwhile, GOMO by Singtel will be funding more than 6,000 free meals capped at S$5 each to the 68 participating stalls at food park Timbre+ and Yishun Park Hawker Centre.
You can expect to see Nasi Lemak Ayam Taliwang, Soup Scholar, Ah Lock Tofu, XLX Modern Tze Char, Hungry Thai, The Japanese Food Alley, Iskina Cebe and more under the GOMO Helpful Meals program.
Besides sponsoring a meal for the needy, this doubles as an opportunity for GOMO to help boost the sales of impacted F&B businesses as more than 6,000 meals are directly purchased from Timbre+ and Yishun Park Hawker Centre stalls.
“We are delighted to partner GOMO by Singtel and Timbre Group to extend the Belanja Eat initiative to more food stalls. This way, more hawkers as well as people who might be in need of a free [during] this period can be supported,” said Michelle from Belanja Eat.
Who Can Redeem A Free Meal?
The tripartite partners are well-aware that this COVID-19 outbreak has impacted many individuals and businesses, and hope that these free meals can make a meaningful difference.
Be it for those who have lost their jobs or who have had their incomes affected, this initiative hopes to help alleviate their burden in this financially challenging period.
From food delivery riders, factory and office workers at one-north, Yishun residents, and even taxi and private-hire drivers, anyone can redeem a meal.
You don’t have to be paiseh to claim a free meal because it adopts a no-questions-asked and no-judgement system.
It relies fully on honour and trust — yes, there might be people who will abuse the system but there are also others who truly need the free meal.
Simply log on to GOMO’s website or its mobile app (if you’re a GOMO user) to check out the full list of hawkers and F&B stalls participating in GOMO Helpful Meals. Participating stalls will also display the Belanja Eat poster.
According to Belanja Eat, they have received a few heartwarming stories from those who have claimed free meals through their initiative.
They recounted a time when a hawker uncle in Chinatown helped a group of workers pay for their food as they had not received their salaries. He was very happy to be able to lend a helping hand, and thanked them for starting the initiative.
“Belanja Eat intends to make a free meal readily available to anyone who needs it. A good number of hawkers whom we spoke to already help the needy in their community out of their initiative and their own pockets,” said the team.
“With Belanja Eat, they can extend that reach and help even more people, even those who may not look like they need it, but are in fact struggling too.”
How Can I Help?
In this difficult period, let’s rally together to do good with food by buying a meal for those in need, and supporting our local hawkers at the same time. Ultimately, this simple gesture can go a long way in spreading some hope and cheer.
Moreover, with the circuit breaker coming to an end, we can soon visit these food stalls to purchase from them and contribute to the cause.
Every little bit helps — here’s how you can do your part:
- If you know someone in need, let them know that GOMO by Singtel will ‘belanja’ them a meal when they head down to any of the participating stalls.
- If you’d like to donate a meal, you can also ‘belanja’ someone by paying for extra meal(s).
- If you’re a hawker or F&B stall owner, GOMO by Singtel has created a platform that lets you list your menu and new delivery options for free. With this extended online presence, it makes it easier for users to discover new stalls and drive orders. To get listed, you can fill out an application form here.
- If you’re a hungry customer, you can check out GOMO’s listings platform to discover new food stalls on its app or website, and place an order from them to show your support.
To learn more about this initiative, check out GOMO Helpful Meals’ website here.
This article is written in collaboration with GOMO by Singtel.
Featured Image Credit: YMCA Singapore / Belanja Eat