KL-based food-catering startup expands to PH, eyes BPOs

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Malaysia-based SmartBite — an AI-powered corporate catering startup — has expanded to the Philippines in an attempt to become the “go-to” corporate catering company in Southeast Asia.

SmartBite CEO and co-founder Alessandro Voltolini

After capturing the Malaysian market with more than 200 restaurants and caterers listed on its platform and a five-fold revenue growth yearly, SmartBite said it is ready to enter the Philippine market and strengthen its position in the food-tech landscape in the region.

Since its soft launch in the Philippines, SmartBite said it has already managed to onboard a few regional corporate clients, including Zalora and other BPO firms.

The announcement comes after the appointment of the new CEO and co-founder Alessandro Voltolini earlier this year and SmartBite’s gradual pivot from B2C food delivery in the corporate space to corporate online catering in the past one year.

“In the Philippines, we are aiming to tap into the catering industry for BPOs. Currently, there are more than 1.35 million employees working under the IT-BPM industry. By 2022, this number is expected to reach 1.85 million,” said Voltolini.

SmartBite’s corporate catering model is quite successful in Malaysia with clients like Zalora, Lazada and General Electric onboard.

The Covid-19 crisis in the Philippines is still raging, making it difficult for people to dine outside especially during peak lunch hours. This is where SmartBite said it can step in by offering meals sealed in bento boxes.

“We intend to be the largest food catering marketplace in Southeast Asia and to do so, we are dedicated to continuously provide professional caterers with the best easy to use tech tools for them to satisfy the catering needs, which are massively moving online around the world,” said Voltolini.

The startup stressed that just being online is not enough, saying caterers need to sell and function more efficiently with data collection that enables them to track and analyze trends.

The startup said it has built tools to enable restaurants and caterers customize delivery models and the applicable charges, which are borne by corporate clients. Customers get itemized invoices and employers have a breakdown of the payments done for the food and delivery.

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