Expansion plans continue despite pandemic setbacks

Despite the setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to F&B businesses around the region, fast food brands and concept dining operators will expand in the coming months thanks to technology and business model resiliency.
Digital food hall operator Zing Ventures has secured funding to expand its operations in Malaysia and enter the Singapore and Indonesia markets. The company has secured US$10 million Series A funding from Tisana Ventures. The funds will drive the group's aggressive regional expansion plan to grow its existing footprint in Malaysia, enter Singapore by the fourth quarter of 2022, and penetrate the Indonesian market in 2023.
The company offers digital hybrid food halls and delivery kitchen systems to help F&B brands to thrive in an increasingly virtual and digital marketplace. Thus, both physical and virtual marketplace, combined with multi-brand delivery kitchens and catering solutions. These offerings can leverage customers' growing demand for delivery and multi-brand dine-in experiences.
Several market trends prompted the hybrid food hall concept offered by the company. First, the digitisation of the F&B industry because of the COVID-19 pandemic and second, the changing food consumption behaviours, which have seen growth in food delivery, cloud kitchen and digital segments.
Ehon Chew, the company's co-founder and CFO, said the company's hybrid solutions could help F&B brands overcome conventional expansion struggles without excessive capital expenditure.
Meanwhile, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic globally, US fast-food brand Wingstop has signed an expanded development agreement with its current brand partner in Indonesia. The brand will be doubling its commitment from 60 to 120 restaurants by 2028.
As experienced worldwide, the pandemic presented a challenging operating environment in Indonesia, said the company. But the brand's economic model showcased resiliency, and its Indonesian partner continued new restaurant development with 18 new restaurants since 2020. The secret? The team emphasised off-premises occasions to match changing consumer behaviour – shifting from 35% of pre-pandemic digital sales to 65%.
The brand said that success in Indonesia signals business development potential in the broader Asia Pacific region.

(Image from Unsplash)

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