An open challenge to bring food brands in one platform

Food brands and Restaurants are facing no end of challenges as COVID continue to encourage a takeaway culture and limited person dine-in.

The food industry is facing unprecedented pressues, and those compounding challenges have wrecked havoc on mostly small businesses. 

Singapore, traditionally the largest per capita of lunching out in the world, is facing extension of COVID-19 rules restricting dining to to persons until Nov 21 2021. This has left restaurants feeling frustrated and resigned, as they compare themselves to airplanes with 100 people and gym running full-on spinning classes.

 "It takes time to get supplies in Singapore. So with all restaurants hesistating with their orders, it weakens the supply chain. When things opens up, everything will be more expensive as supplies won't be there," says Mr Christopher Millar, culinary director of the I Group, which operates restaurants like fine-dining One Stellar at Raffles Place. 

In response, businesses are enacting a variety of strategies to keep going, such as increasing their takeaway menu, promotions or adding more delivery channels, but they are not working and the only thing that is left now is to cut staff.

Ecosystem needed to showcase more food brands

Coined by American organisational theorist Henry Chesbrough in 2003, the term ‘open innovation’ (OI) is a rallying call for enterprises to look beyond their four walls for ideas and expertise. An OI encourages launching of challenges to invite participants anywhere in the world to contribute innovative solutions to your business or organisation. At kimbocorp. we encourage the discovery of new ideas and solutions, and link up partners in the open innovation ecosystem.

The OI that we are trying to receive interests from centers a collaborative e-commerce platform that showcases local food brands that are quintessentially Singaporean, including grocery and craft. 

We believe an online experience allows one to discover new and lesser-known Singaporean food brands, learn about the stories behind each brand and be part of the brands’ journeys. It supports up-and-coming local start-ups and time-tested brands who share a common thread of tenacity, passion and innovation.

The OI looks at bringing at least 100 local brands to the platform and is using the platform to enable brands to Go Digital; Connect with Consumers through online and offline (O2O) channels; and Go Global, to access overseas distribution.

In Connect with Consumers, brands participate in experiential retail pop-ups to allow for tasting and deeper understanding on what the brand is about. Through this intimate interaction, brands tweak their offerings as well as build a base of loyal customers.

Lesser known food brands face difficulty attracting followers

Food brands and products that are new have lower online conversion rate due to the fact that people need to taste, as such sampling at such popups are essential. Popups also allows the brands to understand their consumers better through the interactions and tastings. Such brands can only grow their following if people learn about the stories behind the brand through the popups.

However due to covid-19, popups are a huge concern when it comes to safe distancing, malls also see lesser crowds. 

The experiential popup needs to be exciting, draw crowds, and allow for sampling.

Desired outcomes of the experiential popup

Consumers get to experience the food brands beyond the website, through multiple touchpoints eg. pop-ups with consideration towards covid-19 safety measures. It should be able to extend to multiple formats eg. food tasting, demonstrations, workshops or showcases of at least 25 brands.  The key elements required would include the ability to cater to families, consideration to sustainability, ability to re-use or re-adapt into other formats and to incorporate local artists, celebrities, influencers or talents. 

There is a budget of S$50,000 available, in addition to possible partnership involving share from sales of ticket proceeds.

Interest applications can contact kimbocorp directly.