If you’ve checked your foodpanda app recently, you may have noticed a number of new eateries on the list to order from.
Those who use foodpanda can now look forward to new restaurants such as Soul Brew, a versatile beverage brand; DAMN! Burgers, a no-frills burger shop that is ready to serve with all the classic favourites; Lunchbox which serves a variety of rice-based meals; Honest Bowl that delivers bowls of comfort food and more.
We then spoke to Afzan Lutfi, the director of new verticals for foodpanda – the person in-charge of signing up new restaurants under the company, to find out more about his role, and what customers can look forward to.
Afzan Lutfi, director of new verticals for foodpanda
Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
Well, I started off my career in banking and finance, which saw me at an investment bank for the most part of it. However, I had more of a passion for technology, and that point in time saw the rise of the gig economy, which was disrupting traditional sectors and creating new opportunities for the local community to earn additional income.
Thus I moved into the tech startup sector when I was given the opportunity to launch an on-demand logistics and Software-as-a-Solution start-up in Malaysia. After that I took on local and international roles to lead and even co-founded my own start-up which involved a variety of sectors that included ride hailing as well as online food and grocery.
Joining foodpanda was an easy decision for me; I have followed and admired the business for many years and was immediately sold after speaking with key leadership team members about the role and foodpanda’s q-commerce (quick commerce) vision. It also helped that I knew several people who were already with foodpanda and they only had positive things to say about the company’s culture.
Talk us through a typical workday.
New Verticals is our effort to bring more convenience and variety to our customers and create more value for our partners. It is a collection of businesses such as a q-commerce market place called foodpanda Shops where customers can browse and order from a wide range of retailers from non-F&B sectors (groceries, convenience stores, health & wellness, etc), our own brand of dark stores called pandamart and our own dark kitchen called pandakitchen.
A typical workday for me starts with a workout at the gym where I will also go through different data sets and insights from our dashboards. I feel like this helps me get physically and mentally ready for the day ahead. The rest of the day can be generally put into four quadrants; time spent developing people and relationships, functional business, strategy and routine duties. The days can go long at times but I try to make sure that I set aside enough quality time for family and to also pursue some of my other passions such as music.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
It is challenging, but it provides me with plenty of opportunities to learn and I get to create value for a wide range of stakeholders (customers, our business partners and riders). However, my favourite part is the people who I get to work with; I believe that we have assembled an amazing team across the organisation and fostered a culture and a work environment that is a joy to be in.
How has foodpanda grown so far?
From a functional business perspective, we started off as the first online food ordering and delivery marketplace in Malaysia and since then have evolved into a business with multiple verticals which translates to more convenience and variety for our customers. For example, a customer can now go onto the foodpanda app or website, order and have their favourite dishes, grocery shopping, electronic gadgets and more delivered in half an hour or less. On top of this, customers can also decide to pick up their orders or even dine-in if these options are more convenient for them.
The introduction of multiple verticals also means that businesses from different sectors are now partnering with us to digitalise and get an entry point into the q-commerce space which helps to diversify their income streams and future proof their business. This has also translated to more deliveries and opportunity to earn additional income for riders on foodpanda. Coming back to food, the number of restaurants that specialises in different cuisine types continues to grow on foodpanda.
Here’s a closer look at some of the new dishes made available on foodpanda:
The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption and fundamentally changed consumer behaviour and shopping missions.
We understand that more users have gone digital (with larger share increase from non-metro areas, existing customers now spend more time online and they expect their orders to be delivered faster). This has translated to strong order growth for our partners who are listed on foodpanda Shops because more customers are buying their groceries, health & beauty and other products from foodpanda Shops and also increasing the frequency of their purchases.
I strongly believe Q-commerce is the future of delivery and businesses interested in finding out more about this space can reach out to our team.
How has foodpanda helped restaurants survive the pandemic?
I would go back to the fact that foodpanda is now more than food and how foodpanda is helping businesses from different sectors to digitalise, diversify their income streams and future proof. On top of this, foodpanda also has the widest coverage across the country in terms of physical area. We can be found in metropolitan and rural areas partnering with local businesses to serve the local community.
I think this inclusiveness is important as part of foodpanda’s effort to help digitalise and involve more parties in IR4.0. As part of these efforts, we are also involved in multiple public private partnerships such as the Belanjawan Campaign with MDEC to digitalise and generate sales for local businesses across the country and a partnership with Hijrah Selangor that focused on digitalising and driving sales to businesses within the state. Beyond growing top line, we were also involved in CSR initiatives such as collaborating with MOSTI and the COVID-19 Immunization Task Force to promote and enable vaccination.