Free Platforms to Promote Your F&B Business This Circuit Breaker – Facebook groups, Telegram channels, & more!
2020 – the year of takeaway and food deliveries.
With the imposed circuit breaker mandating us to stay home beyond essential tasks and restricting the option to eat out, food and beverage (F&B) stalls that traditionally rely on walk-in traffic now face the new challenge of reaching out to their customers at home.
Meal delivery platforms such as Grabfood, Foodpanda and Deliveroo may bridge the gap in terms of providing greater store visibility and providing food delivery services. However, with commission fees ranging from 25 to a steep 40 per cent for each order, this may not be viable for stalls experiencing already-thin margins.
So how else can you as an F&B owner promote your business? Here are some free platforms and channels to get you through this time.
1.Hawkers United – Dabao 2020 (Facebook Group)
Audience Outreach: 229,000
Suitable for: Licensed F&B owners and hawkers
Aimed initially at helping hawkers to promote their menus, takeaway and delivery services for free, Hawkers United – Dabao 2020 is a public Facebook Group that has since expanded to feature other F&B businesses such as family-owned restaurants and cafes.
Free for anyone to join, leverage on the group’s over 200,000 members to share more about what your store offers. From photos of your store, food and menu, to details about how interested customers can order from your store.
Do note that the group is heavily moderated to optimise all members’ browsing experience, so please read through their guidelines before posting to avoid getting rejected. They include what posting format to use, tags and information to include with each listing, and only posting once a day through updating your photo album – regulations that benefit both you and the community.
Overall, given the low bar to entry and large platform outreach, Hawkers United – Dabao 2020 is a good way to reach out to more customers, and most definitely worth a shot.
- Singapore Restaurant Rescue (Facebook Group)
Audience Outreach: 63,500
Suitable for: Independent and small group restaurants offering delivery
As its name suggests, Singapore Restaurant Rescue is also a free to join private Facebook group that hopes to support local restaurants impacted by the circuit breaker.
Similar to Hawkers United – Dabao 2020, the group encourages members to list restaurants that they know are doing their own independent deliveries to homes, and also allows postings from restaurant owners with relevant offers.
Ground rules for the group however are relatively simple, with the main requirement being that recommendation should only include independent and small group restaurants doing independent delivery.
For businesses that match the description, this group could hence be the one for you!
- Bakery & Cafes United (Facebook Group)
Audience Outreach: 3,200
Suitable for: Bakery shop, café owners
Doing what Hawkers United – Dabao 2020 and Singapore Restaurant Rescue does for homebased bakers and café owners, Bakery & Cafes United is another public Facebook group offering F&B owners a free space to promote their craft.
Here, there are less regulations on the ways members can list their stores and offerings – videos, photos and album listings are all accepted, and owners can choose what contact details to put up – making it easier to work with any promotional material you already have for your business.
The group is also constantly growing, so despite its current limited outreach in comparison, expect it to gain more traction in the coming days as Singapore’s circuit breaker approaches its third week.
- Halal Food Delivery Singapore (Facebook Group)
Audience Outreach: 41,000
Suitable for: Halal food & beverage businesses offering delivery
One of the largest Halal food delivery Facebook groups in Singapore with over 41,000 members, Halal Food Delivery Singapore has been established for several years prior to the recent outbreak.
Due to the private nature of the group, posts on the thread aren’t immediately visible to the public. However, interested F&B owners and fans of halal cuisines can still request to join the group in order to enjoy the benefits.
Needless to say, the group ultimately caters to Muslims, so do ensure that your food has been certified Halal if you intend to post on the platform.
- SG Kiasu Foodies (Telegram Channel)
Audience Outreach: 143,200
Suitable for: F&B outlets offering generous discounts for popular food items (e.g. bubble tea, ice cream, sushi)
Unlike earlier listed Facebook groups that focused on providing a platform for stores to connect with the public, SG Kiasu Foodies is Telegram Channel aimed at benefiting its subscribers through offering good promotions and deals.
Given its unique goal, businesses interested in having their promotions featured on the channel for free will hence need to meet several guidelines. This includes being a relatively known brand selling popular food items (bubble tea, ice cream and sushi being some of the listed examples), having a generous promotion with minimal redemption pre-requisites, and being easily accessible to members of the public.
Have a deal that fits the bill? Send in your offer to Kiasu Foodies for a chance to be promoted to over 140,000 members at no additional cost.
- GOODLOBANG (Telegram Channel)
Audience Outreach: 108,800
Suitable for: F&B outlets offering good deals
GOODLOBANG may not be a wholly food-dedicated platform. However, with a large majority of its recent posts comprising of great food deals and offers, the channel is nevertheless a good way to share your ongoing F&B promotion.
One thing worth noting is the current COVID-19 F&B Marketing Assistance Scheme that the channel has launched. In lieu of the current pandemic, GOODLOBANG is offering all affected F&B businesses the opportunity to advertise on their platform till 4th May for free.
The main caveat?
Interested businesses should still have a sufficiently ‘Good Lobang’ to be featured. Though really, given the channel name, we certainly weren’t expecting anything less.
- Singapore Atrium Sale (Facebook Page)
Audience Outreach: 243,000 – 263,000
Suitable for: F&B businesses located in shopping malls, and more
Starting out as a Facebook Page that typically shared about mall atrium sales, Singapore Atrium Sale has since adapted to post about the crowd situation in malls and promotions offered by mall tenants in light of the circuit breaker.
The page also has a Telegram channel with 12,100 members, giving featured stalls a wide coverage on both messaging apps and social media.
Interested in listing your business on Singapore Atrium Sale? Send them a message on their Facebook page to make an enquiry!
- WhyQ (Website & App Platform)
Suitable for: Hawkers
The Foodpanda for hawker stall owners, WhyQ offers a one-stop shop solution for hawker owners facing challenges in reaching out to the home delivery crowd.
Charging zero commission fees for its services which include being listed on its web and app platform, collating orders, and settling delivery, WhyQ instead transfers its operational costs to customers in the form of a low $1.50 delivery fee and slightly marked up prices (no minimum order quantity imposed). The platform is hence a good alternative for hawker owners who cannot afford the steep commission fees elsewhere, yet want to jump onto the delivery bandwagon.
To apply, simply check if your stall is located in a supported Hawker Centre and submit an enquiry to them. Alternatively, you may also drop them an email for additional enquiries.
9. Chope and Save (Website)
Suitable for: Restaurants, bars
Another community-led initiative geared towards helping affected businesses tide through this difficult time, Chope and Save offers a unique platform that enables customers to pre-pay for services at their favourite local restaurants, bars and stores through purchasing a store gift card.
Redeemable at the stores itself when business does resume, the micro-financing scheme helps to provide owners with capital to temporarily cushion overhead costs, staff wages and more.
All you have to do to join is to create a valid gift card that your customers can purchase, and add your store to their list! For more information on how you can begin offering online gift cards, follow their online resource for assistance.
- Carousell (Marketplace App)
Suitable for: Small F&B owners, home-based chefs and more
The last platform on the list shouldn’t be a stranger to anyone. A well-known local marketplace for anyone who wishes to sell their goods and services, Carousell is another free way to list your stall’s offerings – be it meal packs, catering services or store vouchers.
Though it is debatable how many locals would opt to make their food purchases from the platform itself, Carousell does offer classification tags for ‘food & drinks’ as well as ‘local F&Bs’ to help customers locate your listings easily.
If you’re looking for additional exposure, there’s hence no harm giving Carousell a try. After all, doing something generally beats doing nothing at all.
Marketing Tips for Posting
Depending on the platform that you intend to post on, different formats and styles may be better suited for cutting through the clutter and garnering attention. While providing basic information such as your store name, address, type of food sold, and how customers can contact and order from you are staples for any listing, here are several other ways you can polish up your posts:
- Feature real life photos of your store and signature dishes. Customers (especially hungry ones) tend to be visual creatures, so tempt us with vibrant images of your food offerings! Additionally, consider editing the images (e.g. increasing image contrast and colour saturation) to make your image punchier and even more tantalising.
- Incorporate photos in your menu. There are many ways to do this: captioning each photo with the name and price of your dish, or digitally editing your menu to feature each dish alongside its title. Ultimately, customers tend to pick their food options based on how a dish looks like, so leverage on it if you have an array of gorgeous dishes that users may find hard to visualise.
- Share about your hardships and history. Everyone loves a good story, but more than that, stories give viewers and readers something to connect better with you and root for you. If you have an interesting true life story to share, talk about it in your post. Who knows, it might just help to catapult your business!
- Highlight what sells. With numerous messages flooding the chats every day, it is important to know what sets you apart from other F&B businesses and to emphasise it. This could be your offer (50% off!), your newly launched dish (e.g. rainbow coloured bubble tea) or simply even your brand name (if you’re well-known).
In the end…
Times may be tough, but together, we can get through this. Whether you’re an F&B owner, or someone who know of one, let’s share this article to help out those in need!