Collaboration leads to a win-win solution in food business

The coronavirus pandemic has rapidly changed demand patterns for products and services across sectors, while exposing vulnerability in domestic and global supply chains and service networks.  During the current crisis, if business leaders can adapt fast and maintain a sense of possibility in making the turnaround, they can sustain performance and confront the challenges and opportunities of the new normal.


Making this turnaround required innovation, in particular, the creation of a unique and niche market position in collaboration with other partners in the food ecosystem.   Thanapong Wongchinsri, founder and CEO of Penguin Eat Shabu buffet restaurant food chain which has established over 6 years with 9 branches and about 200 staffs, mentioned that the company has been trying to sustain its businesses and minimize the impacts of business shutdown during the Covid-19 by offering adjustable food menus fit to food delivery and co-working with leading food delivery platforms eg LineMan, GrabFood, GET; closing branches that are unlikely to turnaround for cost saving; sharing food supplies to their staffs for daily living; working with other food enterpreneurs for shared services such as kitchens, delivery men; finding new ways of doing business to be in line with the new normal.    Thanapong has in parallel worked with FoodStory app developed by Living Mobile Co Ltd and JWD Cold Chain Express Delivery to explore and widen its own online sales channel to serve customers’ changing demand patterns and risk diversification.


FoodStory app, one-stop cloud-based solution for food-related restaurants, has been recognized by over 10,000 food-related restaurants in the past 8 years in Thailand and neighboring countries.   Thakoon Chartsutthipol, founder and CEO of Living Mobile Co Ltd, mentioned that FoodStory app caters all types of food business and user-friendly with both front and back office features to help enterprenuers in running their businesses on smartphones.   FoodStory’s features include Point of Sales with full-range coverage such as sales record and dashboard, online menus, inventory management, ordered foods instruction to the kitchens, co-working with delivery channels, reservation, promotion campaign, location search, customer loyalty programs, user reviews.  The system can be interfaced either with third party stakeholders for co-working activities and food restaurants’ internal teams or food suppliers.  Thakoon viewed that online food channels become increasingly popular and convenient to end-users and enterpreneurs with estimated online business to offline business at 30:70.    The company has maintained  to develop new features in line with the new normal lifestyles such as Cloud kitchen, food supplies and raw materials procurement and link to FoodStory Market in SKU.


In food business, fresh and good quality to be delivered within required times are one of customers’ considerations in any orders.  Charvanin Bunditkitsada, CEO of JWD InfoLogistic Plc. (JWD), logistic and supply chain service provider, said that the Covid-19 has expedited business enterpreneurs to use digital technologies in doing businesses amid challenges.  JWD has also in partnership with CJ Logistic (Thailand) in new JWD Cold Chain Express Delivery to cater for chilled and frozen foods through controlled temperature vans.   They are in process of business development of consolidating food supplies and raw materials to be centralised at cold storage and warehouse on BangnaTrad road and then categorized based on orders which are interfaced with FoodStory Market for fresh and  good quality at manageable logistic costs.  At present, JWD serves over 100 food restaurants which order via FoodStory Market with target of over 1,200 food restaurants by year end 2020.  Cold chain express delivery earlier aims to serve B2B nationwide but B2C are in growth mode due to customer changing lifestyles in food sectors with ready-to-cook menus.  The company targets to achieve Baht 70m in 2020 and over Baht 200-300m in the next few years.


Thanapong of Penguin Eat Shabu commented that its current sales revenues has gradually recovered to about 70-80% following the business re-opening with more hygiene measures.  Online food delivery channels is forecasted to be 10% revenue contribution but on promising trend with higher margin compared to major capital investment expenditure used to open new restaurants.   He also shared that SMEs should learn from the Covid-19 and adapt how to run business in new ways such as work processes revamp, selective menus which fit to delivery services, packaging applicable to online menus, promotions; cashflow management, diversification for revenue channels, cooperation and sharing with business partners in the ecosystem so that we can weather through this current crisis.