(Virtual) Reality Bites in Covid-19!

(Virtual) Reality Bites in Covid-19! 2021 saw the rise of virtual brands in the Food and Beverage (F&B) sector in Singapore, and we’re actually in a prime position to explore that concept, thanks to our densely populated area mass, the diverse range of restaurants, cuisines, and infrastructure. 

So what exactly is a virtual brand? To put it simply: Imagine a brand that you see online, which can be a business or a service, but not exist in a physical sense. The business can continue in a different location, but there isn’t a fixed space that the business operates out of. It’s a fascinating concept, and we’ve been seeing a few examples of food establishments that operate as virtual brands, businesses that exist due to various reasons. We explore and look into these virtual brands and how they developed into the viable businesses they are today.


Easily, the first biggest brand that’s associated with virtual brands and online businesses happens to be Deliveroo,  one of Singapore’s biggest food delivery platforms. A company that operates in nearly 800 locations across 11 markets,  the company works with over 140,000 best-loved restaurants and grocery partners on a global market. In Southeast Asia, they chose to set up operations in Singapore, working with 8,000 restaurant partners, over 200 grocery partners in the market and with a fleet of more than 9,000 delivery riders. It’s one of the most extensive, well-researched, and busiest delivery platforms that’s in business.

“Restaurants are a key aspect of our business model and we at Deliveroo are committed to helping restaurants succeed,” says Ms Sarah Tan, in an email interview. “To do so, we work collaboratively with all our restaurant partners to create a tailored partnership scheme that works for both parties.” This partnership scheme includes access to tools like Restaurant Home, Marketer and Menu Manager so that they can receive data from Deliveroo to analyse the information and see how they can market their menu items better, help them upload and tailor promotions and offers, and change menu items and prices easily for the user. Other aspects include a monthly delivery performance report that includes data on financial performance such as week-on-week sales; operational performance (e.g. average delivery and food preparation time) and customer profile (e.g. total and new customers, rating, order frequency, top items) to give feedback and inform them improve their delivery performance and business models.
This is something that has helped in making the processes of working with F&B establishments smoother, especially since delivery of food has become indispensable in the time period before 2020. “With COVID-19, we’ve seen an upward trend in consumers ordering, with more people using food delivery as well as rediscovering the joys of cooking at home and dining together with their families in recent months," explains Ms Tan. As such, she continues to explain, making sure a continuous supply of grocery partners, as well as riders on the road, are willing and able to supply and deliver as quickly as possible is pertinent, all while making sure the riders do it in the safest manner possible.  With their system algorithm Frank designed to take into account various factors including riders’ profiles, distance, weather and duration of orders, the system ensures that the company has always had the right number of riders on the road in the right place at any one time. 

More on Deliveroo and its branding can be found in the Cover Story of Cuisine & Wine Jan/Feb 2022. Deliveroo is offering CWA readers a promo code for new customers off their first order! Details can be found below!
  • Promo: $3 off your first order for New Customers
  • Code (in caps): CWADELIVEROO
  • Redemption limit: 2000
  • Time period: 01 Jan 2022 - 28 Feb 2022
  • T&Cs: Single order only, First order only, Platform minimum spend applies (SGD 12)