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TREEHOUSE, the healthy plant-based eating heaven that took over Hong Kong’s Soho district by storm since opening its doors in September last year, has launched on Deliveroo Wanchai Editions today. The renewed partnership between TREEHOUSE and food delivery service giant Deliveroo, which the restaurant has been working with since their launch, reflects the rise in popularity of plant-based eating in Hong Kong. Amid challenging circumstances for businesses in the city, the expansion of vegan and vegetarian whole food mecca TREEHOUSE with Deliveroo editions indicates that the future of the food service industry in Hong Kong is shifting towards not only a delivery model, but a plant-centric one.
Since launching softly in September and officially in late October and planting over 10,000 trees along the way, TREEHOUSE has become the hottest vegan and vegetarian eatery in Hong Kong. In the midst of trying times for Hong Kong’s F&B industry, the restaurant’s whole foods and plant-based signature burgers and personalisable flats and grain bowls have won over the health-conscious lunch crowd and fitness community in the city. Now, on 6th January, TREEHOUSE will be officially joining Deliveroo’s Wanchai editions site, which will extend their range of delivery until Causeway Bay. A further expansion to cover deliveries to North Point and Quarry Bay is also planned for launch in February or March.
Food Delivery On The Rise Amid Trying Times In Hong Kong
The expansion follows the success of TREEHOUSE’s partnership with Deliveroo since the restaurant first opened its doors in September. According to figures from Deliveroo Hong Kong, the number of weekly orders from the vegan-friendly restaurant through the delivery platform have grown to over five times than what it was within the first week.
More broadly, food delivery is becoming a popular business model to capitalise on in Hong Kong. While food logistics services like Deliveroo and FoodPanda have experienced steady growth in the past couple of years, the city’s months of political and social unrest have driven further demand for such services as more diners opt to stay home. Conventional restaurants that only offer dine-in services, on the other hand, have taken a brutal hit. According to estimates from the government released in August 2019, total restaurant receipts had slumped 4.6% from the first quarter of the year.
To cope with changing the changing F&B landscape, restauranteurs are manoeuvring creatively and strategically towards this virtual restaurant model. In conversation with Green Queen on TREEHOUSE’s deepened partnership with Deliveroo with the launch of Editions Wanchai, Christian Mongendre, the founder of TREEHOUSE explained: “We’re expanding our brand through this model. The landscape in Hong Kong has changed quite a bit and delivery has worked out a lot more than stay-in dining…This economy pushed me to start partnering up with Deliveroo further to make our delivery options more available across town.”
Plant-Based Demand Higher Than Ever
The launch of TREEHOUSE with Deliveroo Editions in Wanchai is representative of the shift towards conscious consumption across Hong Kong’s F&B industry. While dining out is on the downtrend, the rise in food delivery coupled with the increased demand for plant-based options. Consumers in Hong Kong are hungry for more than just convenient delivery solutions, which is turn partly led by the city’s current political situation, they are also demanding more plant-centric meals, driven by a heightened awareness about health and environmental issues.
Vegan orders on Deliveroo shot up by 70% within the past year, according to data provided by Deliveroo Hong Kong. This prompted the delivery giant to double the number of caterers providing vegan options in order to serve this growing demographic. Other Deliveroo markets are experiencing the same record growth- the company’s UK home base recently shared that vegan orders on the platform are up a whopping 330% since 2017.
Commenting on the trend, Deliveroo Hong Kong’s general manager Brian Lo told Green Queen that while not all diners in the city have made a fully vegan switch, “customers are more frequently opting-in for part-time vegan diet,” adding that the company sees a “strong potential” for plant-based restaurants and caterers that are willing to expand their veggie-friendly menu offerings.
Deliveroo Editions Model Offer F&B Concepts Low-Risk Expansion
Deliveroo Editions offer restaurants fully-equipped kitchen locations that are specially designed to allow for fast delivery from a range of restaurant partners. The concept acts as a platform with the kitchen infrastructure to support both new players and established brands in the food industry to reach more customers and trial new concept without the hefty investment price tag- no longterm leases, no expensive equipment, no overheads.
Deliveroo simply takes a percentage of sales in exchange for what is essentially a new form of F&B financing. The model is especially suited to fast-casual concepts and takeaway friendly meals. As Brian Lo, General Manager of Deliveroo Hong Kong tells Green Queen: “We [are] providing restaurants with the infrastructure to set up kitchens to bring brands to new areas within as little as 8-12 weeks.”
The first Editions debuted in Hong Kong’s Wanchai neighbourhood in 2017 and later expanding to Sai Ying Pun the following year. The latter site is dubbed a “Food Market,” and allows customers to pick-up their takeaway orders in addition to the option of delivery. Since opening the second location, Food Market has brought in an additional 50% in terms of order volume and 26% new customer acquisition for restaurant businesses, according to figures provided by Deliveroo Hong Kong.
Lo contends that Editions brings benefits to a multitude of parties while lowering business risks for restaurant owners. “Editions is good for creating work for chefs and kitchen staff at its sites, [as well as] more opportunities for Deliveroo riders,” he said. As of December 2019, Deliveroo has a total of 5 Editions sites in Asia – 2 in Hong Kong and 3 in Singapore.
What is clear is that veganism and food delivery are both rising trends, in contrast to the dwindling demand for conventional dining and meat-heavy eateries in Hong Kong. As city-dwellers become increasingly aware of their environmental impact, from single-plastic usage to the carbon footprint of what’s on their plate, and as changing landscapes in Hong Kong mean diners stay home, we’re likely to see the future of the industry become more oriented towards healthy, plant-based F&B logistics services.
Looking ahead to the future, TREEHOUSE has plans to roll out more expansions with the delivery model, firstly with an extension to deliver all the way to North Point and Quarry Bay from February / March onwards, and in other Editions locations in Hong Kong and beyond.
Get a 25% discount when you order from TREEHOUSE on Deliveroo Wanchai Editions for orders off HKD$ 300 until Jan 19 2020.
January 2020 Update: This article has been updated to reflect that TREEHOUSE will be extending their delivery range with Deliveroo Editions Wanchai to also cover North Point and Quarry Bay from February / March onwards.
Lead image courtesy of Treehouse.