A Gastronomy Movement
iFood Macau is the first e-commerce platform for restaurants in Macau
iFood Macau is the first e-commerce platform for restaurants in Macau. Established in 2011, it has accumulated over 1,300 merchant members and over 380,000 downloads of its app. Aeson Lei, the CEO of iFood, believes that the platform has introduced a new culture to the gastronomy scene of Macau.
“Six years ago when Macau’s market and manpower were already heavily tilted towards the large enterprises, we realized that Macau needed a new drive that could draw attention back to the peripheral businesses,” he says.
Inspired by the restaurant review platforms in neighboring regions, such as Hong Kong’s Open Rice and Taiwan’s Orange Fish, Aeson launched iFood Macau, the first restaurant review app in Macau, with a team of mixed talents such as I.T and Marketing practitioners. App users can review information of its restaurant members such as addresses, menus and even their origin stories. The company also provides advertising services to their restaurant members such as menu design, information updates and so on.
“iFood is more than just a commercial app. It helps people living outside Macau to learn about the real local cuisines for Macau people and the restaurants that are popular among them. I believe it has a cultural impact on a deeper level,” notes Aeson.
With e-commerce becoming a growing trend in the market, the iFood app has now transformed into a platform that helps restaurants to get business. Citizens and visitors can make orders on the app, and the app will send the orders to the restaurants automatically. The restaurants receive the orders and have the food ready for the customers.
Right now, the company is anticipating an exciting milestone in service upgrade that will happen in the third quarter this year.
“In early September we’ll connect our service with electronic payments such as Visa, Mastercard, UnionPay, Macau Pass, Alipay and WeChat Pay. This move will expand our business from a B2B (business to business) basis to a B2C (business to customer) basis,” Aeson explains.
With six years of exploration and development, Aeson believes that iFood has become a leading figure among its industry peers in Macau. Looking ahead, he believes that iFood has the potential for international expansion, but its main focus will always be promoting Macau’s food culture.
“I have very high standards when it comes to the quality of my product. I still wish to optimize it and make it perfect for the Macau market. After all, Macau is a very vibrant market with a population of over 600,000 people,” says Aeson. “Once I have achieved this goal, I will start to contemplate possible cooperation between iFood and overseas companies.”
With a passion for promoting Macau’s gastronomy industry, iFood recently hosted the second “iFood Awards”, to recognise local restaurants that win the hearts of citizens and tourists.
“The restaurant business is a tough game. Owners have to deal with multiple challenges such as high rents, manpower shortages and changing market demands. You make one mistake and you will never see the customers again. The restaurants that have devoted hard work and impressed the customers really deserve our applause.”
Held at the Venetian Macao, representatives from more than 100 local restaurants attended the ceremony. Nominations were collected from March to April in the form of on-street surveys, as well as iFood’s official Wechat, and voting took place from April to June. The event received an overwhelming response from the public and more than 100,000 votes were collected just in the first month of the voting period. Over 500 local restaurants were nominated and in the course of voting, the click rate reached 4 million times.
Aeson was delighted to learn that the success of last year’s “iFood Awards” caught the attention of companies and expositions. This year, iFood partnered with the Association of Quality Green Brand and the Macau Franchise Expo to scale up the event with more awards and greater participation. In addition to the most popular categories of “Annual Award”, “Annual Click-Rate Award” and “Classic Outlet Award”, the “My Favourite Dish Award” was introduced to the list this year to pinpoint the most representative types of foods.