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Indonesian SaaS platform ESB helps restaurants deliver food

Written by Ursula Florene Published on     2 mins read

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It will be hard for newcomers to break Indonesia’s food delivery duopoly, expert says.

Food delivery continues to experience significant growth in Indonesia. Esensi Solusi Buana (ESB) has created a cloud-based mobile ordering system that syncs up with a restaurant’s point of service and kitchen management. It allows food outlets to launch their own online delivery service, and so save the commission they would pay to Grab or Gojek.

The startup just announced a USD 3 million Series A funding in a round led by Beenext, with participation from AC Ventures and Skystar Capital. “We built ESB in 2018 to introduce automation and reduce costs for F&B outlets, and our growth is a testament to how happy our clients are,” said CEO and founder Gunawan Woen in a statement. “Today, we are also helping our clients improve their operations and build more resilient businesses.”

Woen claims that his firm has processed 20 million annual orders for its customers. He said that after its seed funding from AC Ventures in late 2019, ESB saw its user base grow 12-fold in 2020. Among its customers it counts culinary giants such as Boga Group, which manages the popular restaurants Kintan Buffet and Bakerzin, as well as Ismaya Group and MAP Boga. Woen’s goal is to create an all-inclusive ecosystem that emulates the US-based software Toast.

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Indonesia, the most populous country in Southeast Asia, generated USD 3.7 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) in the food delivery sector in 2020, the largest in the region. The market is dominated by just two players, Grab and Gojek, with a 53% and 47% share, respectively, according to research firm Momentum Works.

“It’s going to be tough for new players,” Heru Setiadi, a director with the ICT Institute, told KrASIA. “To excel, they have to build an all-in ecosystem for merchants and consumers, along with delivery fleets.” They won’t be tied to a single delivery method however. Users have more freedom to choose the courier that suits their preferences in terms of price and delivery time, Setiadi added.

This year, newcomers are spicing up the competition in the sector. Sea Group’s e-commerce platform Shopee is quietly building its food delivery service ShopeeFood, while Tokopedia launched Nyam!.

As countries are ramping up their vaccination programs, a return to normal life is coming closer. Setiadi however thinks that some habits may stick, such as reliance on delivery orders for food and groceries. The market will still be promising, even when people resume eating in restaurants.

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