#TECH: Malaysia’s first virtual gourmet food court

KUALA LUMPUR: As Malaysia stepped into the recovery stage of the Movement Control Order (MCO), more service industries have shifted their focus to boost their digital presence to increase their revenues that were badly affected since the nationwide lockdown earlier in March.

While other restaurants and food operators turn to online food delivery partnership to make up for the cutback faced due to Social Distancing and limited operational hours, Tamarind Restaurants decided to take another turn by launching CiaoChow (http://www.ciaochow.com.my/), Malaysia’s first virtual gourmet food court that allows food lovers to order a variety of cuisines from the different virtual kiosks within the CiaoChow food court.

“We always pride ourselves on our brand values, high standards and quality of products and services long before the lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Hence, we decided to launch CiaoChow to ensure our loyal customers will continue to enjoy our food at the comfort of their own home, while practising safety protocols. Furthermore, the food varieties featured in CiaoChow platform are not available in our group of physical restaurants, all menus from cioachow are specially crafted with delivery durability in mind ,” said Tamarind Restaurants’ founder Federico Asaro.

“By running end-to-end online orders in-house, we can ensure the high quality of our food in our environmentally-friendly packaging is well-maintained while promoting our brands to new and existing customers,” he said.

“Our clientele comes from a group of people who appreciate the finer things in life and they are conscious about ethical food business, generally those of the middle to high income bracket aged 30 and above. We work directly with fishermen who supply our fresh seafood. Our vegetables are primarily organic and sourced from a lowland and highland farm in Malaysia. Our meat comes from cage free poultry and grass-fed cattle farms that apply humane sustainable practices. Therefore, it is important for us to maintain the quality of our online order service just like we do at physical restaurants,” he added.

Asaro hoped that the success of the online platform will allow their group of companies to sustain their business and operations to continue to retain their manpower as many from similar industries have gone either downsized or discontinued operations permanently. CiaoChow also receives orders from their official Facebook and Instagram channel to cater to the more Social Media savvy demography.

Currently, CiaoChow offers an international menu with a twist through their brand Neo, Italian cuisine through Il Tiempo and Thai cuisine through Tamarind Kitchen. Asaro hoped to launch Mandi Mandi in the second half of July, a new brand under their umbrella that serves fine dining Malay cuisine. Asaro has plans to expand Ciaochow’s service footprint by setting up more kitchens in neighbourhoods within the Klang Valley area.

“These kitchens do not operate as physical restaurants for walk-in customers. We hope by setting up these kitchens, we will be able to ensure the quality of our food and efficiency of our delivery service within 6km radius from each kitchen.

There are further plans to add other brands within Ciaochow’s food court, one is to serve a diet-focused clientele by allowing customers to plan their weekly dietary needs for delivery to multiple addresses, work, home and anywhere in between. Asaro is currently making plans to bring the brand to the Middle East in the near future.

Source: NST