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Ordering in for Mother’s Day: Food delivery apps prepare for surge in orders after stricter Covid-19 rules

While restaurants are seeing a drop in customers this Mother’s Day weekend, food delivery companies are bracing themselves for a huge surge in orders.

Starting on Saturday (May 8), the size of social gatherings will be cut from a maximum of eight to five. As such, many diners have opted to cancel their family plans in favour of dining at home, and for many, that means ordering in.

In order to prepare for the inevitable rush, delivery platforms are using specialised algorithms to match the number of delivery partners to the number of orders.

How it works, a spokesperson for foodpanda explained to AsiaOne, is by taking past data to estimate the expected number of orders. The company is then able to ensure an optimal number of riders – prepared to meet demand at different timings over this festive weekend.

“To minimize delays, we encourage our customers to place pre-orders if possible,” the foodpanda spokesperson added. 

For Deliveroo, their algorithm takes into account such as the weather conditions and distance in order to ensure orders are delivered pronto.

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Similarly, Grab monitors the demand and supply of orders using live data to make real-time adjustments to help merchant-partners that are facing difficulties in fulfilling orders, their spokesperson shared. 

AsiaOne understands from some of Grab’s delivery partners that incentives are also offered on days when high demand is expected. 

“Festive occasions like Mother’s Day, Christmas and Chinese New Year always spark an increase in orders,” a Deliveroo spokesperson said.

“We do expect an increase in orders over this coming weekend, especially with the new government restrictions.”

Drop in dine-ins

Restaurants Today spoke to have mentioned that they were estimating at least a 30 per cent drop in customers, after receiving numerous calls to cancel their booking. Those that catered to large families, in particular, were hit the worst. 

Speaking with AsiaOne, Wong Jing Kai, one of the head honchos over at Scaled by Ah Hua Kelong, said he’d seen the number of customers drop as fast as the number of delivery orders shot up.

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While preparing a large number of delivery orders isn’t new to the business, Kai says there’s a limit to how many they can fulfil.

Unlike the previous year, when dining in wasn’t allowed during the Circuit Breaker hence allowing Scaled to fully focus on deliveries, they now have to cater to dine-in consumers too.

“There’s a limitation to what our kitchen can produce and want the best quality for both our deliveries as well as dine-in consumers.” 

The measures were tightened as the country experiences its worst spate of Covid-19 community cases in almost a year. One died due to Covid-19 complications on May 1.

Of the 10 active clusters, the largest one is the nation’s first hospital cluster and comprises of staff, patients and their close contacts.

rainercheung@asiaone.com

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