DBS rolls out digital relief package to help F&B businesses amid COVID-19

Photo by Kai Pilger

DBS announced on 25 March a suite of digital solutions to support the F&B services industry which has about 8,000 establishments impacted by tightened safe distancing measures as a result of the COVID-19 situation. 

With Singapore residents being encouraged to change their eating habits from dining out to dining in, DBS is working with two homegrown technology startups, Oddle and FirstCom, to offer F&B businesses the ability to set up an online food ordering site in just three business days. 

Supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore, DBS’ F&B digital relief package aims to help the F&B services industry go online, creating new income streams for them while catering to the nation’s growing need for takeaway and delivery meals. 

Joyce Tee, Group Head of SME Banking, DBS, said that through conversations with F&B clients and industry groups to understand their immediate challenges, she realized that the industry is grappling with fewer dine-in patrons due to stricter safe distancing measures implemented by the authorities as a result of the COVID-19 situation.

“The DBS F&B digital relief package elevates our support for the F&B community by creating an ecosystem of government partners and homegrown technology startups to help affected businesses overcome cashflow challenges by creating new income streams fast. The digital solutions in our package can be implemented with minimal lead time, allowing F&B businesses to tap into a rich online consumer base in just days rather than months,” she said.

Unlocking new income streams for the F&B services industry through digital solutions. 

Oddle will support DBS’ F&B clients by establishing a branded e-menu with integrated shopping cart, order management and payment gateways in as few as three business days. This will allow merchants to immediately establish a digital presence and access previously untapped pools of online customers.

Oddle will also ease the on-boarding process to their F&B platform by providing training and a social media kit for merchants to further power online sales through digital marketing tools. 

Additionally, Oddle will also allow F&B SMEs the option to integrate with Oddle’s preferred logistics partners who may want to ride on the growing preference for on-demand food delivery.

FirstCom will help DBS’ F&B customers who already have an online presence to amplify their digital marketing efforts by offering merchants preferential rates for digital marketing services, which includes setting up and managing businesses’ social media presence on Facebook and Instagram. For F&B brands that are new to e-commerce, FirstCom will also be able to help them set up a digital presence in fewer than five working days. 

With cashflow the lifeblood of an SME business, FirstCom will also integrate DBS’ digital merchant collections solution, DBS Max, as a payments and collections option in their respective e-commerce solutions. Additionally, DBS will absorb the set-up costs for DBS Max and waive Merchant Discount Rates for six months for FirstCom customers adopting DBS Max.

Jane Lim, Assistant Chief Executive, Sectoral Transformation Group, IMDA, said: “We are heartened to see the industry step up with efforts to encourage digital adoption in support of our call to “Stay Healthy, Go Digital”, such as DBS’ latest suite of offerings. In spite of the Covid-19 situation, we want to enable enterprises to carry on with their business operations as much as possible.”

“Going digital is key; it not only allows our local SMEs to tide through the current climate, but also positions them to emerge stronger and more competitive when the economy recovers,” she added.

Tee said that DBS is also exploring additional last mile delivery solutions for F&B merchants as the bank believes the current situation is bound to reshape dining patterns. This allows F&B businesses to offer their own on-demand food delivery services and better position them to ride on the growing norm of dining in.

Tee added, “As a result of COVID-19, consumer behavior is likely to change as web-shy consumers are now pushed to embrace online food orders and doorstep deliveries. To adapt to the shifting business landscape, we are tapping into our digital capabilities to empower our corporate customers to transform their businesses to keep pace with the changes.”