Jakarta. On-demand meal delivery service GrabFood wants to allow families to still bond over food during the fasting month of Ramadan despite the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc with some of its traditions by offering an array of new features and programs.
After abstaining from food and drink from sunrise until sunset, Muslims would break their fast with an evening meal, or iftar, which usually would turn into socializing events, including many impromptu school reunions.
Later in the evening, they would perform the mass tarawih prayer at mosques, while out on the streets festive night markets buzz until dawn selling fritters and smashed chicken.
But as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb across the country's 34 provinces, Indonesian Muslims have no choice but to say goodbye to these routines in this year's Ramadan, which begins on Friday.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has instructed Muslims to observe the fasting month at home and drop social gathering plans outdoors.
The government has also banned the annual Idul Fitri exodus, or mudik, after a Transportation Ministry survey revealed 24 percent of Indonesian Muslims still intend to return to their hometowns despite warnings.
With more time spent at home, families now actually have more chance to strengthen ties, especially during meals.
"These restrictions have forced many to adapt to a new norm of socially distanced Ramadan. With our #SiapAntarRamadanmu non-contact campaign, we want to bring back the togetherness and warmth of Ramadan to people's homes while still complying with the health protocols," Grab Indonesia managing director Neneng Goenadi said in a teleconference in Jakarta on Thursday.
The campaign, available nationwide, introduces the new "Scheduled Order" feature that gives customers the flexibility of ordering their food from two hours to up to two days in advance.
The feature comes in handy to avoid long queues at restaurants before iftar, and it's also integrated with the recently launched "Multi Order," which allows customers to order from up to four vendors at a time.
"Because families bond over meals during Ramadan, we want to make sure our customers never miss a single moment of sahur or iftar at home. We've also worked with twelve of our selected merchants to provide special offers with up to 50 percent discounts during the fasting month," GrabFood marketing head Hadi Surya said.
Supporting Local Merchants
With no dine-ins allowed during the social restriction, restaurants now rely heavily on food deliveries for income. GrabFood hopes the fasting month will offer momentum to provide more support for local merchants.
To this end, the food delivery service has also launched "Bukber Maya," a livestream series showing celebrities indulging in local restaurant dishes.
Ramadan special menus – including takjil or light snacks or drinks for iftar – will be available through the Online Ramadan Market and Grab Kitchen Beduk Ramadan Package.
Customers can shop at the online marketplace from April 27 to May 17.
The "Mudik Menu" feature might also provide a cure for homesickness due to the mudik exodus ban. Using this feature, customers can enjoy the culinary specialties of their hometown during the Idul Fitri holiday from the comfort of their own home.
"We hope these initiatives will not only keep our customers happy during the holy month but also contribute to keeping the economy running by supporting local culinary entrepreneurs in Indonesia," Hadi said.
GrabFood guarantees that all of its merchants' food prep and delivery processes comply with the government's health protocols during the pandemic, including storing food in hygienic packaging and wearing masks and sticking to non-contact delivery for the drivers.