The email newsletters are pouring in – Delivery is ON; Food Anywhere!; Working from Home? Get Food Delivered to your Door. This is one way restaurants are pressing forward during these difficult times.
The restaurant industry has recently been incredibly hard hit, first by the protests that began in Hong Kong last June and now by the novel coronavirus creating widespread panic about being anywhere but in the confines of your own home.
But the F&B industry is fighting back and adapting to the ongoing challenges facing the city. One of the main ways is by offering residents food delivery to their doors.
Food (and more) delivery
We asked Black Sheep Restaurants Director of Business Development, Akbar Butt, who heads up their delivery system GO, how sales are going. He said, “Delivery was already the fastest-growing part of the business. January sales were 50 per cent higher than the same month last year, and cold weather always leads to a spike in orders, so it is hard to pinpoint how much effect the recent health scare has had on our delivery sales. But having the delivery system means we are able to continue to provide hospitality to our guests at a time when people are going out less, and with this in mind, we are going to be temporarily adding more of our restaurants to GO to provide guests with more options – watch this space.”
Take advantage of Ho Lee Fook’s limited-time delivery offer
One temporary addition to GO is Jowett Yu’s modern Chinese stunner in SoHo, Ho Lee Fook, which is
providing delivery until the end of March 2020. This is not your average Chinese takeaway joint. Dishes up for delivery include Chongqing-style chicken wings, roast Wagyu short rib and veggie mapo tofu.
If you dine in-house at any Black Sheep eatery until the end of March, you can receive exclusive rewards, reservation perks and a drink on the house every time you eat there – just join their loyalty programme to get the goods! Rewards range from a complimentary panino at Stazione Novella or banh mi at Le Petit Saigon to a chef-curated dinner for two at BELON or New Punjab Club, both Michelin starred.
Uncle Desi Food & Sons provides Indian delivery by Black Sheep Restaurants GO
Several of Pirata Group’s beloved restaurants are now delivering to your door, including Pici, Chaiwala (from 2 March), The Pizza Project (from 9 March) and MEATS (from 16 March), with the restaurant group operating
from a brand-new Deliveroo Kitchen in Quarry Bay.
JIA Group has introduced JIA Everywhere with a flurry of at-home options – everything from delivery of catering sets (like a lunch sharing set for four from Duddell’s priced at $1,600), group meal boxes (like Thai boxes from Chachawan for $78/person) and Commissary’s cakes (like the eatery’s 12-piece red velvet cake for $888), to bespoke breakfast, lunch and dinner catering, to the ultimate Chefs at Home catering experience, bringing chefs from the group’s portfolio of restaurants to your home kitchen to work their culinary magic. Meal boxes for smaller orders can also be picked directly at the restaurants – just WhatsApp 5723 5668.
Even hotels are getting in on the food-delivery act. Take Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel, for instance, which is now delivering a wide range of dishes and cuisines – from double-boiled Chinese soups (five-day soup packages
are also available) and Hainanese chicken rice to pizzas and Indian curries. Diners just need to WhatsApp their orders to 2113 3912, with free delivery to TST with a minimum $200 spend.
Gone are the days of just pizza and burgers. Now every type of food is at our fingertips, and it’s helping to keep businesses alive while people are a bit more fearful of being around, well, other people. And it’s not only food.
Butcher-deli-grocer concept Feather & Bone has announced free delivery for orders over $500, with the hot commodity of toilet paper also in stock. The 100%-recycled loo rolls in question are by Aussie company Who Gives a Crap (well, we do).
Deliveroo has announced that they are lowering their commission rates to help out restaurants during the current COVID-19 outbreak. The one-month commission-rate-reduction programme will start from 16 February and will amount to a 15–20% discount in commission fees. The delivery company has also instituted a four-week payment-delay scheme to help with cash flow during this crisis.
To help to set customers’ minds at ease, from mid-March, Deliveroo is offering a “contact-free delivery” feature at checkout, with riders placing orders outside doors and remaining at least one metre away from doorsteps while collection takes place.
Not to be outdone, foodpanda has launched a month-long campaign starting on 15 February offering customers free delivery on all orders, often the most niggling factor when it comes to food delivery. Foodpanda HK CEO Arun Makhija said, “During this unstable period for the F&B industry, we hope that our scheme will benefit both our partner restaurants and customers, and expect that we’ll see a 60 per cent growth for their delivery business.” In addition, Foodpanda will launch a three-month payment-delay scheme from March, with the hope that this will help to keep smaller independent restaurants afloat.
Christian Mongendre’s fast-casual, plant-based eatery in Central, TREEHOUSE, is set to open another branch
in Quarry Bay in late March, and on top of that, he’s launched Origin by TREEHOUSE – the eatery’s virtual love child, delivering “delicious, accidentally vegetarian Middle Eastern, North African, Lebanese and Egyptian dishes inspired by favourite food memories from our Middle Eastern wanderings” via Deliveroo. We love the sound of their hummus and baba ganoush bar – choose either dip accompanied by a variety of toppings, all with
olive oil, parsley and tahini sauce.
Hong Kong’s first AI temperature-controlled food-ordering service, the EC Bento app involves fresh bento pick-up from vending machines across 19 collection spots throughout Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories, including two hospitals – avoiding other people altogether. Eastern and Western cuisines are available, and there are vegetarian and ketogenic meal options.
In-house efforts by restaurants
At restaurants themselves, SCMP has reported that eateries are installing physical barriers in the form of Perspex walls so that customers can continue to enjoy dining out with increased safety. Restaurants are also putting up partitions between tables, which might sound extreme, but really it’s no different than heading down to Ichiran for a bowl of ramen and spending some quality time with your noodles.
Black Sheep Restaurants’ recent statements to diners
Restaurants like those in the DiVino Group portfolio are emailing their clientele to let them know of the measures they are taking to ensure their customers are as safe as possible when dining with them. A recent email stated, “In our restaurants and kitchens, hourly disinfecting of surfaces, floors, doors and other touchpoints are taking place. Hourly hand-washing has been mandated. Face masks and gloves are worn by all kitchen teams, and team members who are unwell will stay home and can return only with a medical certificate of discharge. Our bio-cleaning products from Zero Natural Force have been certified to kill the H1N1 virus. We also want to remind your our outdoor spaces make for ideal dining in light of the current situation. Please rest assured that we are taking this situation very seriously and are doing our utmost to provide a clean and healthy environment for all.”
The Italian restaurant group is also donating 10 per cent of all proceeds from its pizza sales to Crema Hospital
in Lombardy, Italy, which is at the epicentre of the shocking COVID-19 outbreak in Italy.
Mayfare Group restaurants (Gaylord, Gunpowder and Namo) are going one step further – offering the unbeatable duo of a complimentary face mask and immunity-boosting shot made with turmeric, ginger and cinnamon to all guests.
At several Sino Hotels (Royal Pacific Hotel, City Garden Hotel, Gold Coast Hotel and Island Pacific Hotel), all the buffet-style restaurants have opted for a “Sip & Savour Unlimited” experience, where all-you-can-eat dishes – from salads and cold seafood, to grilled meats, to dessert – are delivered right to diners’ tables.
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