A man cooks a dish in a Kuala Lumpur restaurant -- Easy Eat aims to transform restaurants into 'tech companies' with their disruptive digitization options. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP)

A man cooks a dish in a Kuala Lumpur restaurant — Easy Eat aims to transform restaurants into ‘tech companies’ with their disruptive digitization options. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP)

AI tech startup Easy Eat disrupting the food delivery sector in SEA

As lockdowns continue popping up in and around Southeast Asia from frequent Covid-19 outbreaks, consumers have increasingly switched to ordering their essentials online — including groceries and food.

The pandemic saw a massive increase in demand for food delivery services, most popularly from delivery giants Grab, Gojek, and Foodpanda. 

However, tensions are brewing between delivery platforms and restaurateurs in Malaysia who have engaged their services. 

As reported by Malay Mail, the steep commissions by the Foodpanda-Grab duopoly of upwards of 30% are impeding these merchants’ abilities to survive the multiple extended lockdowns. To that effect, they have sought intervention from the government to ameliorate the problem.

This issue isn’t just endemic to Malaysia — other restaurateurs have expressed similar discontent, with their respective governments taking action in Thailand and Singapore, among others.

Tech startup Easy Eat disrupting, well, tech startups

Enter Easy Eat AI, a Singapore-based tech startup run by a group of professionals from India. It aims to “transform restaurants into technology companies”, its Twitter profile reads. 

Easy Eat, which has recently raised US$ 5 million in funding, aims to change the way restaurateurs do business by injecting artificial intelligence (AI) into their operations.

“AI & data-driven decision making is at the core of Easy Eat. We use AI to suggest menu improvements to restaurant owners, inventory updates, and also to suggest dishes for customers to try”, said Mohammad Wassem, CEO of Easy Eat, to Tech Wire Asia.

Easy Eat has its own delivery services available, including riders. “Although they are third-party riders, there is deep integration with a third-party delivery platform — we have our own technology layer that manages riders from multiple platforms”, he added.

Unlike other food delivery platforms, it only charges merchants a four percent commission per order, making it immensely enticing and affordable for merchants.

As customers can just scan a QR code to go directly to the restaurant’s menu online, it makes it easy for merchants to post their QR code on their social media or website for customers to order directly without much hassle.

According to Wassem, on average, each of their clients sees sales of US$ 15,000 monthly. Post Easy Eat AI implementation, they noticed an average of around 30% increment in revenue and 15% reduction in costs for these merchants.

“On every order sourced through our Easy Eat technology, our clients’ customers see approximate savings of 26% on the whole. Of all the delivery orders that our partner restaurants get, 26% of them are sourced through East Eat. We are the second-biggest source of delivery orders to our partnering restaurants”, added Wassem.

Wassem shared with Tech Wire Asia that 90% of the dining data is usually lost.

“There would be so many possibilities that would be open once the transactions are handled with digitalization. Right now, we are using technology to address the basic problems that restaurants are facing. For example, payment gateways in Malaysia take around three to seven days to settle payments to the restaurants.

“Imagine this — customers are paying today at the restaurants using an online payment gateway, but the restaurants only get their monies after seven days. This chokes their entire cash flow. Easy Eat settles the payments the very next day. Very soon, we would start settling the payment on the same day —  and in few quarters, maybe even in real-time or on-demand.”

Easy Eat helps with long term strategy using tech

Easy Eat’s services don’t end there, though — their slew of other product offerings are particularly valuable to restaurateurs for the long run.

Aside from improving payment options, their products serve to allow their clients to glean insights into their customers’ behaviors with data analytics, streamline ordering processes, and even optimize operations in the kitchen. 

Fostering contactless service, dine-in patrons can scan a QR code for the menu and order directly from their mobile devices, as well as make payments through the platform as well, reducing the need for face-to-face contact with servers and cashiers.

For back-of-house staff, their integrated system will automatically update orders to the kitchen and point-of-sale (POS), whereas the ‘smart waiter’ can manage tables. 

Analytics-wise, Easy Eat allows restaurants to understand customer choices, food preferences, spending behavior, and plenty more other data points to make better business decisions. Analytics insights are visualized on a single dashboard.

Onboarding the platform

“We are using a combination of GTM (go-to-market) strategies to reach out to potential customers. This includes digital channels, industry associations, partnerships with existing POSes, and referrals. Since our existing customers are very happy with us, we are getting a good number of leads through referrals”, added Wassem.

Merchants interested in Easy Eat’s solutions will find the signup process a breeze. After the onboarding form is filled online, and the menu uploaded, dashboard creation and menu digitization can be completed in as quickly as 48 hours.

Their staff will schedule a premise visit for hardware setup and training within a week — merchants can look forward to going live on the same day the training is completed.

Easy Eat estimates that it takes around two to three days to train staff to be able to independently utilize the product. Additionally, the company provides training and product walkthrough videos.

Easy Eat is currently operating in Malaysia, where it launched in mid-2020, with plans to expand in Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand in the fourth quarter of 2021.