Commission-free food delivery platform debuts in Singapore to mixed reviews

Delivery riders from WhyQ. Images: WhyQ
Delivery riders from WhyQ. Images: WhyQ

A new food delivery platform charging zero commission launched a trial of its service that, perhaps unsurprisingly, got off to a rough start.

Some early adopters complained that the new Marketplace@WhyQ charged excessive delivery fees since beginning its trial period on Friday. 

“Did a trial run to check how much the delivery costs were. I ordered food from Nex outlet which is just 400m from my place (3min ride). The delivery fee was $10,” read one comment on social media.

Another complained that the costs were being passed on to them.

“WhyQ charges $45 for my food. I decided to pick up from stall direct. It was $32…” Facebook user Fisser Man wrote.

Co-op retailer FairPrice Group and hawker delivery platform WhyQ partnered on the new service to help restaurants feeling pinched by high commissions charged by major delivery companies. It does not charge them any commission and instead marks up prices of food by 6% to cover costs. 

“This is in response to the lack of affordable delivery platforms, an issue that has been in the spotlight recently due to increased demand of food delivery options for F&B establishments amid safe distancing measures,” its announcement said. 

It did not specify how long the pilot period would last. 

While the public may not yet be won over, sellers who have complained they are strangled by high commissions – especially with delivery now accounting for most of their business – say they can return the favors to them in the future.

“With zero commission by Marketplace@WhyQ, we are also able to pass on to customers greater savings with constant and different promotions and discounts,” the head of Li Xin Fishball Noodles was quoted saying in the company’s announcement.

The 6% added to food prices offsets operational costs such as its payment system and server costs, it added. Vendors are also not required to pay the set-up fees usually charged by major food delivery companies. Restaurants can opt to use WhyQ’s delivery riders, for which customers are charged a distance-based rate.

Marketplace@WhyQ offers islandwide delivery and has about 100 stalls registered so far. They include those in food courts, coffee shops, hawkers and restaurants, such as healthy rice bowl vendor Beng Who Cooks, heritage brand Li Xin Fishball Noodles, and popular hotpot restaurant chain Coca.

The platform is said it’s aimed at smaller establishments facing business difficulties compounded by high commission fees, lack of manpower, and the inability to digitize operations. 

Vendors can opt for delivery or self-collection via the app. Those with their own delivery solutions will receive the delivery fees paid by customers on the platform. 

“Marketplace@WhyQ is a community platform that enables all food vendors to digitise their offerings with no commission fees, no onboarding charges and a transparent, distance-based delivery fee. It empowers vendors and gives them ownership over discounts and pricing to customers,” WhyQ’s statement said.

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