pproval takes one day, according to a spokesperson. That fastrack system led LINE MAN to increase the number of new restaurants joining its platform by 5X compared to January, but it remains to be seen whether there’s a compromise on quality or customer experience.
The process requires adaptation from restaurants, too.
“The premium restaurants are all desperately flocking [to] delivery. It’s interesting how many of them are super desperate now but were playing hard-to-get previously,” a senior executive at a company that works with food delivery services said. They requested anonymity because they’re not authorised to discuss client business with the media.
The food delivery companies declined to discuss specific merchants, but Nittayakasetwat shares that some eateries, including high-end Japanese restaurants, are “adapting their menu to be more ready-to-eat or suitable for food delivery packages.”
It isn’t just the restaurant menus that are adapting, there’s an opportunity for staff impacted by the ban to pick up new work as delivery drivers. That’s significant given that the partial shutdown on business has left tens of thousands of daily wage workers in the capital without income.
Some 100,000 workers are estimated to have returned to their home provinces, or—in the case of overseas workers—to neighbouring countries Laos and Cambodia.
“Demand for F&B jobs went to zero, but other industries are seeing a huge boom,” an executive at a recruitment company specialising in daily wage work in Thailand tells us. “For on-demand services, it is literally insane, demand is spiking.’
Beyond simply hiring for their fleets—which covers those with a motorbike license or simply on-foot ‘walkers’—companies like Foodpanda are adding customer support and admin roles to handle increased business. These roles require working from home and are often filled by workers whose jobs in hospitality or F&B industries are on pause right now, the executive quoted above explained.
Food delivery aside, grocery delivery services such as HappyFresh—which includes Grab among its investors; Grab offers the service as ‘GrabMart’—are hiring in significant numbers. As is conglomerate CP, which has said it wants 20,000 delivery people for a new on-demand service for Thailand’s ubiquitous 7-11 stores.
“We’re talking about tens of thousands of people,” the recruitment executive says.
Appetite for expansion
Despite the Covid-19 outbreak, Thailand’s food delivery firms are hungry to reach more of the population. Foodpanda currently operates in 50 provinces across Thailand, but it plans to reach all 76 this year. Grab, meanwhile, is aiming to more than double its Grab Food coverage from 14 provinces to 30, and LINE MAN’s expansion plan includes growing from 5 to 15 provinces.
1 million a day
But restaurants are still on the back foot.
“The rise in food delivery revenues is not sufficient to offset lower restaurant revenues,” Anantaporn Lapsakkarn, a senior researcher at K-Research, told The Bangkok Post this week. Lapsakkarn suggested that restaurants will try to handle their own delivery rather than relying on apps.