GRABFOOD has kickstarted a pilot project for hawkers that involve lower commission fees and a new format of ordering.
The food-delivery player declined to say by how much commissions are being reduced. GrabFood typically takes a 25 to 30 per cent cut of the order value.
The "Hawker Centre 2.0" pilot initiative, which began on May 11, is aimed at helping GrabFood better understand the challenges that hawkers face in their digitalisation journey. It is currently being implemented at AMK 724 Food Centre, with 12 stalls already in the programme. More hawkers will get on board in batches.
Consumers will be able to order from a range of stalls in the hawker centre within a single transaction. Currently, orders from different restaurants or stalls have to be made in separate transactions.
The feature is similar to GrabFood's recent "Grab Food Street" beta service, which enables users to choose from a variety of stores located in the same area, for the same delivery fee.
A Grab spokesperson said that this format of ordering will replicate the physical experience of going to a hawker centre. "One of the draws of hawker centres to Singaporeans is the ability to choose from a variety of cuisines. The mix-and-match feature allows consumers to do just that - combine the variety and choice at hawker centres with the convenience of food delivery."
The spokesperson added: "The primary aim of the pilot is to provide stop-gap relief to participating hawker-merchants while enabling us to gain deeper insights into hawkers' challenges as they digitalise their businesses. We hope this will help us improve and find a possible sustainable solution with hawkers eventually."
GrabFood Singapore's head Dilip Roussenaly had told The Business Times in an interview late last month that the firm is determined to serve the hawker segment, despite challenges such as low-value orders. In Singapore, the average order value is S$15 to S$20.
GrabFood launched a programme last August that lets users order hawker food from stalls outside the typical delivery radius. Food was first prepared at the stalls, consolidated at five hubs around Singapore, and then delivered.
Grab stopped the programme to find a more scalable way to get more hawkers on board, BT understands. Hawkers in the programme - there were about 70 stalls that were in it as of end-August last year - could choose to become a vendor on the main platform.