If you’re thinking that opening a food delivery business in Singapore is a high-potential business move, you could be right on the money. Online food delivery has grown significantly over the past year with already-changing consumer trends sped up by the COVID-19 pandemic. Projections show online food delivery reaching over $151,526M worldwide in 2021, 11% higher than last year. In Singapore, the number jumps to a 16% year-over-year increase equalling $541M.
While these statistics paint a positive picture for delivery-focused kitchens (otherwise known as CloudKitchens® kitchens, virtual kitchens, ghost kitchens, or even dark kitchens) as a sound business decision, running one successfully isn’t always a walk in the park.
So what is one of the biggest struggles that all restaurant owners face? If you think it’s the food, guess again. We’ve found that what keeps restaurant owners up at night is one of the most fundamental elements that makes or breaks a food delivery business:
Think about it. Even if you have the most impressive menu in the world, without a solid marketing strategy in place, you risk not having anyone know about you.
But don’t fret. We’ve written this seven-step guide to help you master the basics of how to market a food delivery business in Singapore in 2021. No more losing sleep about how to get customers to order your delicious food – once you get your well-oiled marketing machine up and running, you’ll be on your way to long-term success.
- Have a solid business plan
- Get professional photos and visuals
- Secure your Google My Business (GMB) listing
- Build a top-notch website with a high-quality online menu
- Establish partnerships with local delivery companies
- Build an online community (organically and via paid advertising)
- Create a mobile app
#1 – Have a solid business plan
For business owners, this might seem basic. However, having a tangible business plan in place with all the objectives and steps needed to achieve both short-term and long-term goals is key. You should have a plan that includes the type of food you’re providing, what sets you apart from the competition, who your target market is, and how to make your products accessible and appealing to them.
Your business plan will look very similar to that of any traditional restaurant, but you must factor in the logistics required for a food delivery business. How will you package your food? If you’re offering hot and cold food, how will you ensure the items stay as hot or as fresh as possible throughout the delivery process? When and how food arrives makes for either a happy or disgruntled customer, so these questions require serious consideration.
#2 – Get professional photos and visuals
Half of the good food is a good presentation. The quickest way to get customers drooling at the prospect of eating your food – without access to smell or touch – is to entice their eyes with detailed, appealing photos. This requires the right lighting, the proper camera/lens, appropriate props, and complementary accent colours. Booking a photoshoot with a professional food photographer will be well worth the investment in the long run.
These photos will be your primary selling tools, so repurpose them for all of your marketing assets – your menus, website, social media accounts, etc. One thing’s for sure – no restaurant has ever skyrocketed business by having awful pictures of their food.
#3 – Secure your Google My Business (GMB) listing
Most people search online for food and restaurants if they’re looking to find an address, phone number, website, hours of operation, and other basic business information. Google has over 96% search engine market share in Singapore, making a GMB (Google My Business) listing essential.
For potential customers to find your food delivery service, all you have to do is fill out your information to claim your listing. It’s such a quick and easy process, and it’s a straightforward decision in terms of the large positive impact it can have on your business.
#4 – Build a top-notch website with a high-quality online menu
In a digital-first world, anyone looking for food delivery will go online. Besides having a clear Google business listing, have a well-designed, user-friendly website that highlights your offerings. To really stand out, have an SEO-optimized site that will place you at the top of search queries.
Be sure to include an online menu that’s easy for browsers to access and fall in love with your food. This is where you can put your professional photos to good use. Consistently update your site with any specials or seasonal offers to increase orders. Your website needs to load quickly so as not to frustrate users and make them look elsewhere. Over 50% of online searches happen on mobile devices, so making your site mobile-friendly is essential.
A website is a perfect way to create a database and foster customer loyalty. Ask users to sign up for offers and promotions so you can capture names and emails. This way, you’ll have the elements to add email to your marketing mix.
#5 – Establish partnerships with local delivery companies
Food delivery companies are increasing in popularity in Singapore. Among the best in Singapore are Deliveroo, WhyQ, GrabFood, and FoodPanda, but research other companies to see who best fits your needs. The benefit of these apps is that they already have an established clientele and have gained customer trust – they’re able to deliver food efficiently to anyone’s doorstep, sometimes around the clock.
Make sure you’re well established with your local delivery company of choice before you take customer orders. You may decide to go with one established company – which can come with special deals – or with several companies to broaden your reach. Be sure to select an arrangement that best meets your food delivery business goals.
#6 – Build an online community (organically and via paid advertising)
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat – there are so many channels that consumers use daily that you simply can’t ignore the immense business opportunity. In Singapore, social media penetration reached 4.96 million social media users in January 2021, with YouTube, WhatsApp, and Facebook leading the charge.
It’s no wonder that all successful enterprises have business accounts across all major social media channels. Instagram is particularly attractive for food business owners, as visuals are the channel’s primary draw. Again, this is where your professional food photos will pay off. Not only can you promote your food via mouth-watering images, but you can share promos and deals to incentivise your followers to share with their network.
You can build your online community in two ways – organically and via paid advertising. The obvious upside to organic growth is that it costs nothing. With time and consistency, organic growth pays off in the long run. If you can allocate an advertising budget for social media ads, strategic ad placement can help boost your brand awareness, especially when the business is still new.
#7 – Create a mobile app
Based on a 2020 survey, 24% of respondents in Singapore order food with a delivery app once or twice per week. Another 15% stated that they order three to six times per week. Once your business gains traction – and if you can invest the time and money to develop a quality app product – this marketing medium is worth serious consideration.
A mobile app is an effective way to build brand loyalty and returning customers’ offers if you offer seamless online ordering, app-only promotions, and other bonuses that keep them coming back for more.
Final thoughts on marketing strategies for your virtual kitchen in 2021
The food delivery business is thriving globally and shows no signs of it slowing down anytime soon. Using a fully optimised kitchen provider like Smart City Kitchens is an affordable way to get the infrastructure and tools you need to start your business. By including these marketing tips to grow, you’re in an outstanding position to make your CloudKitchens® delivery kitchen a success.
Have questions or inquiries about setting up a delivery-focused restaurant in Singapore? Complete the form below and get in touch with us today!