*Correction: Incorrect data provided by Deliveroo in para 4; number of halal-certified restaurants on Deliveroo changed to 200, from 171
Singapore’s online food delivery services have been strengthening their halal credentials by better catering for the Muslim market, in the process creating a new sub-segment of competition.
Deliveroo, a British start-up with operations across Europe and Asia Pacific, is the latest to promise Singaporean customers that their halal orders will be kept separate from non-halal foods by using designated satchels during delivery.
“The move is both in response to feedback from customers and restaurant partners, as well as a strategic one to tap into the wide pool of halal restaurants in Singapore so that we are able to offer an even greater range of options to our customers,” Siddharth Shanker, general manager of Deliveroo Singapore, told Salaam Gateway.
The delivery service currently has 200 halal-certified restaurant partners on its platform, out of close to 4,000 restaurants in total.
“We have sourced these bags from a third-party supplier who ensures that they are sturdy and can prevent any leakage or potential contamination from other foods.
“All our riders have been thoroughly briefed to use the halal-only bags when assigned to an order from a halal-certified restaurant. On top of the halal-only bag, the orders are packaged individually by the restaurants, which adds an additional layer of protection,” Shanker added.
Deliveroo follows arch rival GrabFood in offering separate bags for halal food. GrabFood emerged from the ashes of Uber Eats after its Uber ride-share patron merged with Grab earlier this year.
“If you open the GrabFood app in Malaysia, you will see a halal category, in which restaurants that are halal-certified will be listed. In addition, our delivery partners use different thermal bags for halal and non-halal food,” a spokesperson told Salaam Gateway.
GrabFood has been offering these services in Singapore and Malaysia since it launched in May.
Another online delivery major, Foodpanda, also keeps halal food separate during its deliveries. It has more than 800 halal-certified establishments in its Singapore network.
“We are constantly looking to increase the number of halal options available on our platform to provide our customers with the food they love, and recently added KFC,” Luc Andreani, managing director of Foodpanda Singapore, told Salaam Gateway.
“For any halal food order deliveries, Foodpanda provides all riders with clear guidelines and dedicated delivery bags to avoid cross contamination.”
Restaurant owners like Zara Salahuddin, director of Bismillah Biryani, a halal-certified, Michelin-rated restaurant group in Singapore with all five of its outlets on the Deliveroo platform, hope that introducing new halal services will bring them more online orders.
“We view the halal-only bags as an added peace of mind for Muslim customers who are concerned over the delivery and packaging process,” she told Salaam Gateway.
“As an F&B and halal business, there can never be too many precautions taken to anticipate and meet our customers’ needs, so we believe this initiative will attract more Muslim customers.”
As with many other restaurants, Bismillah Biryani uses more than one delivery service, and despite the recent halal service enhancements, Salahuddin hopes that apps like Deliveroo, GrabFood and Foodpanda will continue to add new features.
“On top of these measures, perhaps more promotions can be rolled out to further raise awareness of the convenience and affordability of quality halal food,” she said.
“Since joining Deliveroo in late 2016, we have seen a 10-15 percent increase in overall revenue due to delivery orders, and only look forward to increasing this proportion as it continues to grow its offerings for the Muslim community in Singapore.”
(Reporting by Richard Whitehead; Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim firstname.lastname@example.org)
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