It sold for $ 12 million to Singtel in 2012.
Advanced nine years later, this online food guide, which at the time had more than 16,000 listings in place, has its last meal next month.
What exactly fell into this online business that was previously valued at millions of dollars?
In 2018, the company’s revenue was reaching 3.21 million US dollars. This is an increase of 13% compared to the previous year, according to the monitoring of the private and private company Tracxn Technologies.
In response to media inquiries, Singtel had explained that the closure of HungryGoWhere was the result of the “serious challenges” of the industry.
The decision is in line with the group’s attempt to refocus its business, adding that it had conducted a detailed review of HungryGoWhere and had explored several options for the business.
“It has faced serious challenges from competitive pressure in the industry, which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, we have decided to exit the restaurant reservation market,” the telecommunications company said.
It was the “leading food portal in Singapore”
HungryGoWhere was founded by three businessmen – Dennis Goh, Tan Yung Yih and Wong Hoong An – in 2006.
In 2012, HungryGoWhere’s parent company was GTW Holdings acquired for $ 12 million by Singtel. At the time, the restaurant review portal was promoted as the “leading food portal in Singapore”.
Singtel then aimed to “reform” Asian culinary experiences. The plan was to merge with the local search site and lifestyle inSing.com to create the most important food and lifestyle site.
The group had said in 2012 that eating out was a top-notch activity among Singapore consumers, with a large percentage of online search queries related to the restaurant.
Six years later, in 2018, a Nielsen survey which surveyed more than 200 people, showed that one in four ate daily, improving one in five in 2015.
In the same year, HungryGoWhere grossed about $ 3 million a year, according to Tracxn Technologies.
Then came Covid-19 in 2020, which messed things up.
Nishant Kaushal, head of data, strategy and solutions at DNA’s creative intelligence agency, says that as a service, HungryGoWhere.com was unable to adapt quickly enough to the changing food industry and that the changes of the Covid-19 did not facilitate the situation.
According to DNA, the pandemic had caused more Singaporeans to eat at home last year. If that wasn’t enough, one in four people found it difficult to eat out due to pandemic-related restrictions.
In addition, it was cited that 33% of Singaporeans do not plan to eat outside restaurants as often in the future.
How do other players face the challenges of Covid-19?
A poll of 63 Singapore food and beverage businesses conducted this year found that food orders have fallen by up to 85% year-on-year.
According to DNA, in May, the volume of “eating out” searches sank by 88% over the same period in 2006. Search results are also so bad for online search. ” restaurant reviews “.
Most HungryGoWhere competitors are aggressively adapting to change and are finding ways to face the new realities of Covid-19 to stay strong.
Eatigo, which has more than 4,000 restaurants on its platform, has expanded to offer delivery or collection services during the first quarter of this year. The firm currently works with delivery companies such as Lalamove and Grab Express to send food to its customers.
Chope has also moved to this space. He is said to have pivoted once the circuit breakers hit the Republic last year.
Another platform, Burpple, has since launched a takeaway service. It offers promotions such as individual offers to attract customers.
Meanwhile, quandoo is not studying delivery services. The platform, which claims to have 17,000 restaurants worldwide, has other revenue streams, such as personalized restaurant technology and digital marketing services.
Win the big boys
While these restaurant booking platforms adapt to food delivery and takeaway to survive, they continue to enter an already crowded industry. Food delivery titans like GrabFood, Foodpanda and Deliveroo occupy most of the food delivery cake.
According to the Statista analysis platform, 77 percent of Singaporeans used GrabFood for food delivery orders last year, followed by Foodpanda and Deliveroo.
So how can these “new players” build a competitive advantage over the big ones? These platforms will have to come up with strategies unique to them.
One way to compete would be to offer attractive booking prices for restaurants. Taking advantage of the existing relationship that these platforms have with restaurants, they can organize exclusive offers and attractive offers for customers to arrive.
These platforms may also consider having restaurants with the SG Clean certification. Maintaining high standards of cleanliness will attract customers who want to eat away from home without hygiene concerns.
The family-owned Da Paolo group, for example, has this certification in its restaurants. Performs strict cleaning checks such as sanitation tables after each use and maintaining a safe spacing. Its staff is kept up to date with a cloud-loaded security management system.
In a post-pandemic era, it is food-related businesses that can do the least to reassure customers and give them peace of mind.
Featured Image Credit: HungryGoWhere