The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) has launched food delivery platform eatsHUB to help small and medium-sized eateries boost their earnings through digital channels.
The platform has been created in collaboration with Food Ordery, an affiliated company of SET-listed TV Direct.
Touted as Thailand's first national food delivery platform, eatsHub charges vendors a commission fee, known as gross profit (GP), at a low rate of 8%, compared with the standard 30% collected by other major operators.
Depa president and chief executive Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin said eatsHub is expected to see more than 500,000 users and over 5 million transactions in the first year of operation.
The project was started last year and has passed a trial period through a cloud and related backup system.
The official launch of eatsHub was held at CentralWorld in Bangkok on Wednesday, chaired by Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn.
Mr Nuttapon said eatsHub is now available for download on both Android and iOS, adding that the platform is expected to generate more than 500 million baht in economic value within the first year.
"The pandemic has affected various ways of life. People are being driven to count more on digital tech in their daily life as the new normal," said Mr Nuttapon. "This is why the food delivery platform business has seen strong growth over the past two years."
He said competition in food delivery services is intense, with the participation of various foreign operators. The operational costs of small and medium-sized food vendors on platforms is high, which affects consumers.
"eatsHub can help small entrepreneurs access the digital platform, which can ease inequality," Mr Nuttapon said.
He added that eatsHub is aiming to hire 2,000 food delivery drivers in the first year.
The platform focuses on services for each community that involves eateries and drivers within a distance of 1-5 kilometres, with various features provided, including a point of sales system, self-promotion campaigns, a messaging service and a call centre.
"Our challenge is how to connect, assist, support and maintain these small restaurants. These eateries are an integral part of the grassroots and community economy. They suffered a lot from the pandemic and the lockdowns," said Mr Nuttapon.
Some 20% of the project's operational budget is funded by Depa, with 80% covered by Food Ordery.
Thammanit Khamwangyang, chief executive of Food Ordery, said eatsHUB is now ready to provide a service for launch zones in Bangkok, including Bang Khen, Chatuchak, Lat Phrao and Suan Luang. The service is expected to cover all of Bangkok by July.
He said the service will cover 18 provinces in the first year of operation, adding that more than 20,000 food vendors are expected to join the platform by the end of this year.
"EatsHub comes with a new standard for food vendors, such as a lower GP rate, while eateries will be able to receive cash transfers for their sales within the next day," said Mr Thammanit.
"The platform also offers marketing promotions and big data analysis as well as ensuring food service standards with fair prices, which are not different from eating in the restaurants."
Interested eateries and drivers can join the platform via www.foodordery.co.th.