Online deliveries made easier: How a restaurant managed to save time and manpower with the help of technology
“Businesses must not be rigid. We have to be flexible and adaptable, if we wish to stay in the market.” - Vincent Heng, owner of KK Beaufort Restaurant
KK Beaufort Restaurant is a Chinese restaurant based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, and current owner Vincent Heng bought the restaurant in 2016. At first, he did face certain challenges, but things started going well eventually, until the pandemic came.
Find out how he overcame one obstacle after another.
Q: Can you share with us your experience while running the restaurant?
A: It has been almost 5 years since I officially took over the restaurant in 2016. I was actually a salesman and I used to work in the hospitality industry. But I also wanted to give my family a better life, so I decided to use my savings and mortgaged my house to buy a restaurant.
It was definitely not easy, as the restaurant business wasn’t doing well at first.
Q: How did you overcome that?
A: Competitions were stiff, so it was crucial for us to transform the way we do things. Thankfully, this was where my experience in the sales and hospitality industry came into place. We revamped the working culture, and business gradually improved but it wasn’t for long, for the pandemic came.
Q: What was it like for the business during the pandemic?
A: We almost faced bankruptcy in May last year, and at that time, I thought that there was very little chance for us to get our business back on track. However, a friend approached me and offered an opportunity to form a food delivery service company together. It didn’t work out though, and I made the decision to do my own delivery service.
Q: Why did you choose to set up your own delivery service team instead of working with a well-known delivery service platform?
A: I did consider working with well-known food delivery platforms. They even contacted me personally, but I declined. Mainly, it’s because of the high commission fee charged by these platforms. Of course, naturally we would have to pay a certain amount to use someone else’s services but to do so, I had to increase my menu prices and that wasn’t a choice I was willing to make. I then decided to form an in-house delivery team to help boost sales.
I just thought perhaps it’s best for me to take things into my own hands, and be ahead of everyone else.
Q: How did you promote your in-house delivery service?
A: At first, business was not good. So I offered special promotions and every customer who used our delivery service got a cup of Honey Green Tea. I also updated our Facebook page regularly to ensure we are on top of our customers’ minds. We opted to manage our own logistics even though Cloud POS Lite also enables businesses to use the services of delivery partners. Now, the delivery team consists of 4 people including myself, and things have been going great since then.
Q: How did boosting online deliveries become your main goal?
A: Our focus shifted to online deliveries, because it’s more profitable and lets us serve more customers. Plus, dine-in only allows a certain number of customers. If the situation permits, we can deliver 200 servings a day. But of course that is not an easy task, unless you have extra help.
Q: Would you like to elaborate more on the challenges of handling your own deliveries?
A: Initially, we took orders via phone calls and WhatsApp, but it was time-consuming, and could cause delays. We also felt that typed messages could be wrongly interpreted, and there were the risks of customers thinking that we were being cold and unfriendly. Even with 3 phones at our premises, it could still be very overwhelming.
Q: So what was the next step to overcome it?
A: The Maxis SME Help Squad approached me and introduced Cloud POS Lite. The system is really great and has helped us save a lot of time. Customers no longer have to order through WhatsApp. They can just scan the QR code displayed on our online platforms and brochures, browse the menu, place their order, and make payments. It’s really convenient, and has helped us save a lot of time, and manpower especially on busy weekends. Efficiency has greatly improved and my staff think the system is very user-friendly as well.
At first, I actually considered hiring a special staff to answer incoming calls, but then I also realised it would be much easier to utilise a machine, than to have another person working through the weekends.
Q: So, using Cloud POS Lite actually helped you get your online business back on track?
A: That’s right. When we first started, we only had 5 to 6 orders a day, or at most, a dozen. But after a year, we now receive at least 40 to 50 orders a day, or at most 70 to 80 orders.
Q: You applied for the SME Digitalisation Grant when you were signing up for Cloud POS Lite. What was the process like?
A: I did hear about the SME Digitalisation Grant even before Maxis Business contacted me, but never really thought much about it. But then, the Maxis SME Help Squad explained to me about the benefits and the application process, and I realised it was something I should take advantage of. While there were many companies out there with POS systems, my experience with Maxis was the best. I only had to prepare some documents and soon after, the application was approved. They were the ones who handled the rest of the application process.
Q: I believe your story will inspire many future UsahaWIRAs. Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs out there who are still hesitant to go digital?
A: Businesses must not be rigid, and it’s very important for us to be flexible and adaptable to survive and thrive in the current market. We may not be able to change the situation, but we can control the way we react to it. Our business model can’t stay the same forever, and there are times where we need to consider the latest trends and see whether they are relevant to our business.
Thanks to his persevering spirit, and the power of digitalisation, Vincent can now bring his restaurant forward towards bigger business goals. Digitalisation is better, easier and faster with Maxis Business. Book your free consultation now.
Are you also based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah? Join us in supporting our local UsahaWIRAs. Click the following link to order from KK Beaufort Restaurant: https://kkbeaufortrestoran.placeorder.my/#/
You too, can be an UsahaWIRA like Vincent Heng.