JK Don owner, Germaine is the heart and soul of the business. Oddle took a little trip down to JK Don’s cosy eatery at Shaw Tower to hear more from Germaine who has made JK Don a popular choice amongst office workers. Affectionately called “Xiao-mei” by her senior co-workers, she’s been part of the business since her school days and knows every little minute detail at the back of her hands.
Starting their very first outlet at Marine Cove East Coast Park in 2002 was Michelle, Germaine’s mom, who did it because she wanted to share her family’s love for JK cuisine. Today, JK Don has expanded from a family-friendly eatery to a multi-track business. From JK Don Express that’s a hit with the office corporates to JK Don Café & Bar, this little F&B strives to provide the best of JK worlds at an affordable price. This, says Germaine, is probably one of the main reasons why customers come back for more. And of course, if you were still wondering, JK stands for Japanese and Korean food, of which JK Don’s authentic bibimbaps and bentos appeal to the choosy tastebuds of locals.
While JK Don Express gets JK food to you in a snap for office lunches, JK Don Café & Bar is a chill-out place with friends and family. In fact, they are complete opposites. Yet, it subtly reflects a deep need for locals to seek work-life harmony. With great food to go along with, definitely. At work, an energizing bento keeps you going; while back home, wings and beer make one’s day with friends and family around.
Delivering JK Don
True to their promise of providing authentic Japanese and Korean food at an affordable price, JK Don is a major favourite with corporates near Shaw Tower. Germaine works hard to ensure that food gets delivered in a reasonable timeframe and the food still stays great. It’s never as simple as it seems with the exorbitant rates of delivery in Singapore and the infamous jams in CBD.
While you may remember calling for McDonald’s and KFC delivery for the longest time, delivery through online ordering only became popular in recent years. Of course, always starting with the fast food chains before the trend slowly trickled down to independent food houses. However, the setting up of a website for online ordering for food delivery was both an economic and technical barrier to many owners. It was at this juncture that the then newly started Foodpanda began to approach independent F&B owners; pitching to get independent food houses featured on their website.
“I can’t deny that Foodpanda did help with marketing and drawing in new customers,” recalls Germaine when she first went onboard Foodpanda in 2011. Yet today, the game has changed. With more food places on Foodpanda, the potential for drawing new customers has been reduced as consumers are tempted by 101 other places selling similar cuisines.
Furthermore, JK Don, as well as many other independent food houses’ need for the personal touch does not align well with Foodpanda’s strategy of directing complaining customers to overseas call centres where the callers may not be familiar with the exact situation and eventually seek solutions from the F&B owner. This makes the waiting time too long for a hungry and angry customer.
Keeping up with trends
To cope with changes in the online food ordering scene, Germaine employs a multi-faceted approach to achieve her goals of continuing to provide the best authentic JK cuisine at an affordable rate to her customers.
Step 1: Marketing through Foodpanda
Foodpanda may be more consumer-oriented than business-oriented as can be seen from their efforts to provide more choices to consumers and listing top sellers at the top of the list. Often, many decisions are made one-sidedly from Foodpanda’s headquarters. But even so, with the traction it is gaining, there is little harm in staying listed and continuing to draw in new customers.
Step 2: Cutting third-party commission costs through owning a unique shopping cart
After new customers have ordered once, Germaine advises repeat customers to order directly from her through phone calls as it’s cheaper without incurring third-party commission costs like when on Foodpanda. That used to make things busy at JK Don until the Oddle online ordering system became the solution to automate order-collation. With most of JK Don’s orders coming in as bulk orders from corporates, it makes things much easier when each individual has any special preferences for the same dish.
Step 3: Keeping that personal touch through phone calls
Today, Germaine still takes personalised orders through calls from her long-time customers. But now she has more time for them with the other orders streaming in seamlessly through Oddle’s online ordering system.
It’s a win-win situation for both Germaine and her customers. Germaine stands to gain a higher profit from her revenue while her customers can now order hassle-free and still feel the JK love in the cuisine prepared whole-heartedly without being overly occupied with order management.
If you are feeling frustrated with the lack of control over your delivery business at Foodpanda, speak to us today and let us offer you a better solution.
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