Batu Lanchang Market Food Court Stays Afloat with Digital Ordering and Pick-up Service

By Enzo Sim

Published on 2021-06-28 Updated 2021-07-06

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Goh Kok Joo delivers food to a waiting customer.

THE BATU LANCHANG Market Food Court may be decades old but the food vendors there are making sure the place does not close down because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The latest round of MCO resulted in an 80% reduction in customers," says Goh Kok Joo, who sells brown sugar Chinese pau at the food court. "It has been heart-breaking to see the place emptied of activity."

Goh has a personal attachment to the place, having helped man his family's drink stall since the age of seven. "Something had to be done. If we continued to sit idly by, our businesses would plummet even more; it didn't help that the FMCO came into effect almost immediately after we reopened."

Last May, three vendors were confirmed positive for the virus during a RTK-Antigen test at Lam Wah Ee Hospital, and the food court had to be closed for nine days for sanitising.

Goh, who was familiar with the local online F&B ordering platform Orderla.my, decided to pitch the idea of a drive-thru service to his fellow vendors. It would be a win-win situation for all; the vendors are guaranteed a daily income and customers get to safely enjoy their favourite food as takeaways.

Stir-fried Indian noodles. Photo: Goh Kok Joo

Since it was introduced in mid-June, the service has seen 25 vendors come onboard, both young and old. Food orders received by Orderla.my automatically notifies the WhatsApp account handled by Goh's cousin, who then forwards them to the individual vendor. Once ready, the orders are delivered to customers at selected pick-up points.

Claypot chicen rice. Photo: Goh Kok Joo

The pick-up service is the first to be set up in an MBPP (Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang) food court, says Goh and happily, business over the first weekend did pick up, with dishes like claypot chicken rice and char koay teow and desserts like nyonya kuih and ais kacang being some of the more popular choices. Cash payment is accepted but as a safety measure, customers are urged to make contactless payment instead using e-wallets and online banking.

"With this initial success, I'm optimistic that more vendors will join in. This is done with community spirit after all; we need to help each other out. We assist the older vendors who aren't proficient with technology by keeping them informed when orders come in for their food. To simplify matters, vendors need not calculate their daily total sales, Orderla.my does it for them."

The ais kacang of Batu Lanchang Market Food Court is a definite must-have. Photo: Goh Kok Joo

Goh adds that soon, the vendors will be branching out through the use of food delivery service platforms like Foodpanda. "But we will still be using Orderla.my to manage food orders. With this initiative, chances for us to pull through is better."

Visit http://bit.ly/blfoodcourt if you wish to place an order with these food vendors.

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Enzo Sim

is a Mass Communications graduate who has an unwavering passion towards international relations, history and regional affairs of Southeast Asia. His passion has brought him to different Southeast Asian capitals to explore the diverse cultural intricacies within the region.