GrabFood’s 1st year: Triumphs, potentials, and tech for good

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On its first anniversary in the Philippines, the numbers say it loud and clear about GrabFood, the leading food delivery platform in the country and Southeast Asia.

GrabFood Philippines head EJ dela Vega

According to a survey conducted in September 2019 by global market research firm Kantar, 76 percent of Filipinos said that GrabFood is their most often used app-based food delivery platform.

To date, GrabFood operates in more than 35 locations in the country. Within one year, it has helped merchant partners grow their business by driving 15X incremental revenue.

Meanwhile, top performing GrabFood delivery partners or riders have incomes which are double the average daily minimum wage in the country. One of them is former fish dealer Albert Orea. He is now GrabFood’s number one delivery-partner, having accumulated over 4,000 deliveries so far this year alone.

Among its pool of partners are 40,000 micro-entrepreneurs consisting of merchants and riders like Albert.

Merely one-year-old, it is already a resounding success. Yet, there’s more to these numbers than they suggest.

“What keeps me getting out of bed in the morning isn’t ‘You know, this is how many orders we had yesterday. This is what we have today,’” said GrabFood Philippines head EJ dela Vega.

“When I wake up, things that get me excited are ‘Hey a merchant sent us a nice thank you note. Hey, have you heard about what this delivery partner or driver did?’”

At a meeting with members of the media in Makati City on November 14, dela Vega stressed that the company prefers to celebrate their first year in the Philippines by focusing on how they’ve helped a lot of people along the way instead of focusing on the numbers.

The concept of tech for good, he said, is at the core of one of their missions. Not surprisingly, this concept has manifested itself through the sterling achievements of their merchant and delivery-partners, some of whom were recognized in GrabFood’s first ever Golden Lunch Box Awards.

Held last October, the Golden Lunch Box Awards feted the platform’s awardees. Among them were Kanto Freestyle as Breakfast of the Champs Awardee and Buddy’s as Eaters’ Choice Awardee.

Kanto Freestyle is Breakfast of the Champs Awardee

Kanto Freestyle is a 24-hour dining place offering typical breakfast fare at all times of the day and not just in the morning. Not only are the dishes affordable; they’re also cooked and prepared gourmet style. It has multiple branches in Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Marikina and others.

“Before, when we’re looking for other branches, for example if we’re going to expand, we’ll just look at the proximity or the viability of the community,” said Kanto Freestyle’s marketing and social media manager Paul Corpuz. “But now, we’re looking at how we’re going to reach [our customers or potential customers] with the delivery service, how we’re going to maximize that.”

Meanwhile, Buddy’s is known for its affordable and authentic food products sourced from Quezon. It has branches in Lucban and Lucena City in Quezon as well as in Makati, Taguig, Pasig and Quezon City.

Buddy’s Isabelle Veluz related that before the opportunity to link up with GrabFood came along, they received other offers for partnerships.

“What sets GrabFood apart is its system. It isn’t much of a hassle in relation to our store operations,” Veluz said. “The system is very simple. You order through the phone and then the rider comes into our store and gets the order – like he’s also a regular customer. GrabFood is very hands on and the relationship is very personal. That’s why we’re a very happy GrabFood merchant.”

They do put a lot of focus on their merchant partners, said dela Vega, adding that he likes it when he comes across business names or brands that he is not familiar with. “That means we are able to help the small and medium-sized businesses take off.”

He added, “When we talk to merchants, we tell them ‘Listen, our purpose is for you to not think about us. You focus on doing what you do best which is cooking the food, preparing good food and leave the rest to us.’”

Buddy’s is Eaters’ Choice Awardee

More is yet to come. Indeed, the numbers continue to speak out loud about the future of GrabFood, its merchant and delivery partners, and its customers.

Among others, the company plans to enter at least 10 more market locations in the country in 2020.

GrabFood also aims to introduce the following innovations: Multiple Concurrent Orders which will allow consumers to order from a maximum of four different merchants at a time; Preferred Merchant which is poised to increase sales by up to 15 percent, among others; Grab Kitchen, a cloud kitchen concept gathering different merchants; and No Cutlery Option, GrabFood’s contribution to reducing environmental footprint.

Also for its merchant partners, the platform is mulling on doing data analytics.

“We have a lot to celebrate but I think the biggest things that you want to celebrate are the good that the platform has brought,” said dela Vega. “And ultimately it’s about building tech for good.”

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