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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Meals good to go

It's a cinch to get restaurant food delivered to your house, thanks to the range of delivery services available
The Sunday Times - April 9, 2012
By: Eunice Quek
| More
Meals good to go Have some Thai food delivered to your doorstep. -- PHOTO: THAITOGO

Food is everywhere in Singapore, yet the couch potato in all of us would rather get it delivered to the doorstep than cross the road for a quick meal.

And no wonder - it has never been easier to place an order online or dial a hotline to get restaurant-quality food, with at least 20 providers islandwide offering delivery services of such fare.

Two types of these food delivery services are available - those that tie up with restaurants and deliver food from mid-range eateries, and those set up like catering businesses with their own central kitchens to prepare food.

The dishes range from Thai green mango salad to braised abalone with sea cucumber, and you can expect to pay at least $15 a person for the meals.

Such fancy fare is, of course, on top of the range of food already making up Singapore's vast delivery scene. This includes fast food, buffet catering, tingkat (tiffin carrier) services and confinement food delivery. And for those hosting house parties, alcohol delivery services are available too.

At least eight online food delivery companies list a minimum of 19 restaurants on their sites. The restaurant menus highlight a range of cuisines from Vietnamese to Indian.

The newest two start-ups are Foodpanda, and DEALivery, which is run by the management behind daily deal platform deal.com.sg.

DEALivery soft-launched in February and its site features 19 outlets, while two-week-old Foodpanda already has at least 80 eateries on board.

An older avenue such as three-year-old Room Service also has its fair share of the pie, with 55 restaurants on its website. The company also operates in Malaysia and Indonesia.

To stay ahead of the competition, Room Service's managing director Mark Simmons says: 'With other operators also offering restaurants delivered to your home, service becomes the key difference. If our delivery is late, the delivery charge is free.' This month, it will also roll out a new website and mobile app for user convenience.

Likewise for Singapore Dine, which started 11/2 years ago, getting food delivered in under 60 minutes is key to satisfying customers. Managing director Kineret Karin tells LifeStyle that its orders have been 'increasing on a monthly basis' and the company now has at least 30 restaurants on its site.

While competition may be stiff, the fact that customers have been catching on to the trend has helped services such as Hungry Delivery, which is owned by food review website HungryGoWhere, to gain more momentum in the scene.

Mr Nicholas Tan, 29, co-owner of delivery company Gourmet To Go which runs Hungry Delivery, says: 'Restaurants now approach us to be listed on the site. On our end, we make sure that their packaging is good and we do a taste test too.'

With his cousin Jeremy Foo, 32, Mr Tan also runs Thaitogo, a food delivery service which specialises in Thai food.

'We wanted to start a delivery which is cuisine-specific. We even thought of doing ayam penyet (smashed chicken) delivery. We chose Thai food since we enjoy it, and can get an average of 40 orders a day.'

Three months ago, the cousin duo extended the delivery business by opening a 50-seater cafe, Thai The Dine-in, in Sembawang Road.

Mr Tan says: 'The dine-in and delivery concepts promote each other. Those who don't know about the dine-in find out through the delivery and vice versa. But still, even people living opposite the outlet call for delivery.'

Indian restaurant Bokhara Biryani & Kebabs in North Bridge Road says its six-month-old delivery service has also helped boost business. Director Khaleelulla Khan says: 'The delivery service is like a marketing tool for our dishes. Sometimes customers eat our food that was delivered to their friends' homes and then they visit our restaurant.'

Other restaurant delivery options include gourmet pizza chain Crust, vegan joint Vegan Burg and The Sandwich Shop.

Those in the industry tell LifeStyle that the delivery arm of their business works well to promote their restaurant and customers alike are enjoying the convenience.

Housewife Serene Lim, 52, has ordered from Hungry Delivery and Singapore Dine for house parties.

She says: 'We can get restaurant-quality food in the comfort of our home which is good for house parties, especially if older relatives are coming over. There are also many eateries I've never heard of before on the sites too, so it's interesting to find new places to eat. What's most important is that the food stays fresh, warm and tasty when it arrives.'

RESTAURANTS WITH FOOD DELIVERY SERVICES

Crust

What: The two-year-old Australian pizzeria, with outlets in Holland Village and Upper Thomson, started its online ordering delivery two months ago. To ensure the freshness of its pizzas, it delivers only within a 6km radius of each outlet. It will extend delivery to other parts of Singapore later this year.

Info: Order online at www.crustpizza.com.sg. Delivery hours from 5 to 11pm daily (Holland Village); and 5 to 11pm (Tuesdays to Thursdays), 11am to 11pm (Fridays to Sundays), closed on Mondays (Upper Thomson). Minimum order of $20.

Thaitogo

What: Thaitogo delivers authentic Thai food cooked by Thai chefs. The menu includes favourites such as basil chicken ($8.50), green curry ($5.50) and tom yam soup (from $5.95). Thai-style lunch bento sets (from $8.50) are also available.

Info: Call 6396-9696 or go to www.thaitogo.com.sg, open: 10.45am to 9.15pm

Bokhara Biryani

What: Get your fix of vegetable dum biryani (from $7) or kebabs (from $6) from this Indian restaurant which started its islandwide delivery in October last year.

Info: Call 6295-1995 or 8399-7795. For lunch orders, order a day in advance.

Vegan Burg

What: Order the convenient delivery starter kit ($25) of two burgers, seaweed fries, vegan franks and two boxes of juice.

Info: Call 6844-6868 or go to www.veganburg.com for the full ala carte menu. Delivery hours are between 11am and 9.30pm (except public holidays). Minimum order of $20 to $40 depending on location. 

The Sandwich Shop

What: It offers healthy salads, wraps and sandwiches. There are also special platters (from $30) and salads (from $22) for up to eight people ? ideal for lunch meetings.

Info: Download the order form at www.thesandwichshop.com.sg. Place your order (minimum of $50) a day in advance. 

FOOD DELIVERY COMPANIES

Foodpanda

What: Foodpanda launched two weeks ago with at least 80 restaurants including Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, Picotin Bistro & Bar and Kraze Burgers. Delivery is within the Central Business District and will expand islandwide by this year.

Info: Call 6723-8155 or go to www.foodpanda.sg

DEALivery

What: Set up by the people behind group-buying site Deal.com.sg this year, the website includes restaurants such as Relish, Spageddies and Loco Spanish Tapas Bar.

Info: Call 6299-8012 or go to dealivery.sg

Afiko Food Delivery

What: Restaurants listed on the site include Peranakan eatery PeraMakan, Vietnamese restaurant chain The Orange Lantern and Indian restaurant The Song Of India. Breakfast, bento and finger food menus are also available.

Info: Call 6223-3453 or go to fooddelivery.com.sg to download the order form.

Hungry Delivery

What: Owned by food review website HungryGoWhere, Hungry Delivery delivers islandwide from restaurants such as Red House Seafood Restaurant, Chili's Grill & Bar and Italian restaurant Spizzico.

Info: Call 6352-2622 or go to www.hungrydelivery.com, 11am to 2.30pm, 6 to 9.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays, no lunch delivery on Sundays). Minimum order $25. Delivery hours vary according to restaurant opening hours and location.

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