Have you ever gone online to look up what food a restaurant serves, or wanted to order takeout but couldn’t find their menus online? Even worse when you manage to find it, only to realise it’s outdated.
That’s a problem MM Meal is trying to solve.
It’s a locally developed online platform for restaurants to digitise their menu so customers can view, order and pay for their food to be prepared for them.
Similar to Grab, it handles the end-to-end transactions of ordering and payments for merchants and customers.
Behind this platform are entrepreneurs Melissa and Stephanie Lee.
During the MCO, Melissa, who manages the platform and helps merchants grow their businesses, realised that many F&B businesses were struggling.
So, she came up with a way to increase the sales and brand awareness of their merchants with immediate results, using Facebook’s livestreaming feature.
A Small Compromise For Merchants To Make
Thus, MM Meal Live was launched as a value-added service on Facebook in May 2020.
To be featured, the only things merchants have to do is send Melissa their signature best-tasting dishes and sponsor at least 2 meals for giveaways at the end of the livestreams.
Selling this way provides both her merchants and their customers with immediate value.
Melissa described, “Customers get to view and understand the product better and will be able to make immediate decisions to purchase, with this it is able to help merchants to close sales faster.”
The limited-time offers given out during the livestreams come in the form of discount codes that only last for 5 hours upon mention.
According to Melissa, it’s a special price that customers won’t be able to get anywhere else.
A link will be provided during and after the livestreams for customers to order their meals, and those orders will then be sent to merchants for preparation and delivery.
Feasting To Sell
Every Wednesday at 5:30PM, Melissa will go live on Facebook in a mukbang video to eat and review the food products from merchants on MM Meal.
During this is when the limited time offers and free meals are given out to audiences who tune in.
As for why the livestreams happen at such a specific time, she explained, “We are trying to target an audience that is still deciding what to have for dinner, and also for them to order their meal for the next day, as we do provide advance pre-ordering.”
Doing mukbang livestreams retains the audience’s attention as opposed to merely promoting the product alone, Melissa said.
Mukbang videos essentially feature a person eating large quantities of food in front of a camera while interacting with audiences. It became popular in South Korea in 2010, and has since become a worldwide trend.
Because MM Meal’s livestreams are conducted in Mandarin, you’d think certain demographics in Malaysia would be left out. But Melissa doesn’t necessarily see it that way.
“Livestream selling originated in China’s Dou Yin and Taobao, hence the culture was picked up by the Chinese in Malaysia first,” she said.
She also explained that this group tended to be more impulsive with their spending habits.
“We realised that English speakers are more facts-driven and they like to read and research about something before they make a decision to buy, unless they know the brand pretty well,” she said.
On the other hand, similar to the Chinese demographic, she said, “Malays will definitely be a big market, which we are currently trying to explore by working with other livestreaming hosts too.”
Balancing A Day Job & MM Meal Live
The team had to switch their focus when the lockdown was lifted so that Melissa could balance doing this service with her day job.
“I was supposed to do it every day to start with, but as MCO ended, my day job started to get busy, we then changed to have it every Wednesday only and to focus on our own merchants.”
During the MCO, Melissa was also doing livestreams for other restaurants that weren’t MM Meal’s merchants, selling products like snacks, biscuits, and beauty products.
Getting the viewership she has now didn’t come easy. When they first started, Melissa told us that they only had 1 to 10 views each time, which were demotivating and made her want to give up.
“I guess the key is to be consistent and to be very clear on your goal and objective, as ours is to help our merchant to increase sales especially during this pandemic,” she advised.
Now, their livestreams are able to attract an average of 3,000 to 5,000 viewers per video, and each live session can draw 5 to 10 orders within the first hour of their promotions.
Depending on the product and its price, she’s sometimes even managed to bring in 30-40 orders during the livestream.
Melissa added that MM Meal Live’s audience has also built a certain trust with her in providing honest feedback on the food she’s trying in the videos, and are thus more likely to trust the merchants as well.
Even after sales pick up for their current merchants, MM Meal will continue growing its livestreams and ordering platform, building an ecosystem for it one day.
“We see an opportunity for livestreaming and it is more acceptable to more people, especially with what has happened over these months,” Melissa said.
At the same time, the team is looking at expanding their services to other products and services outside of F&B, as they see that a market for those too.
Featured Image Credit: MM Meal Live