WIEF WBN #iEmPOWER Digitalisation Trend Creating Opportunities in F&B


May  10th

World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation, through its WIEF Businesswomen Network (WBN), successfully organised its #iEmPOWER webinar series on 4 May 2021, via Zoom platform. 97 participants attended the webinar from 12 countries, including Singapore, Ghana, UAE, Bangladesh and Philippines. The speakers were:

  • Bryan Loo, founder of Loob Holding Sdn Bhd & CEO of Tealive, Malaysia
  • Stephen Francis, co-founder and CEO of MyGroser, Malaysia
  • Sayantan Das, managing director of Foodpanda, Malaysia


The three speakers focused on the topic Digitalisation Trend Creating Opportunities in F&B. The one-hour virtual session was moderated by wealth strategist and coach, Jashidah Kamal.

‘During these 12 to 18 months, we noticed behavioural changes in consumers. Mainly, consumers seek trust in that the goods they ordered are delivered on time, in good condition as well as fresh.’ Stephen said.

There is a steeper gradient in terms of adoption rates, in the recent year, new customers, active users and returning customers are purchasing more frequently, demanding convenient and fast delivery. Acceptable speed of delivery has decreased tremendously since the past two years, from 60 minutes to 30 minutes now.

Bryan noted that there is a vast contrast between outlets in Petrol Stations and malls, where the latter were badly impacted due to mall closures during the Movement Control Order (MCO). ‘We also observed a change in consumer buying behaviour during the pandemic. For example, before the pandemic, college level consumers only make up five to eight per cent of our total sale, now they make up 30 per cent.’ Bryan explained.

Straight forward delivery service is abundant of late, businesses need to be creative in offering niche service. For MyGroser, they not only offer normal and organic products, but they have also ventured into offering ready to cook meals kit. ‘Every meal kit has actually been tried by co-founders of MyGroser before it’s sold. Obviously, we eat a lot, it’s part of the job!’ Stephen said. ‘Basically, every product we sell has been used by someone on our team. This gives a measure of confidence in that we know what we’re selling.’ He explained.

Entrepreneurs are operating in a different realm now. The mindset and business model have to change with the trend. ‘The moment entrepreneurs raise funds or have a little or a lot of liquidity, they fall into this trap of thinking they need to spend a lot on acquiring customers. While there’s some truth in that, it’s not all true. You want to acquire the right kind of customers and doing it blindly without a strategy will cause your ROI to not be anywhere near what you expect.’ Sayantan explained.

‘Focus on the basics, know what’s the worst-case scenario, how much is your safety margin and what’s the best-case scenario. Ensure that you have a really great team.’ He added.

When answering a live question from audience, Stephen said, ‘the market for delivery business is tremendous, that we don’t see other online supermarkets as competitors. This is because if all supermarkets decided to go online, the demand is going to be much greater than we can cater for.’

A participant, Perlita Mallari from Philippines said, ‘the webinar was very helpful in addressing the competitive landscape of online food platforms, the benefits of the digitalisation of food business as well as promoting positive impact of online food delivery while maintaining sustainable profit growth.’

The COVID-19 lockdown restricted the movement of people and drastically changed consumers’ habit in terms of online food and grocery shopping. The online F&B delivery service market is at the tipping point of rapid digital transformation to manage the sudden surge of delivery demand due to stay and work from home order.


For more information or interview requests, contact Faizah Jaafar at +6019 399 7746 (faizah@wief.org) or follow WIEF Foundation on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter for regular updates on future events and happenings.


About WIEF Businesswomen Network (WBN)

WIEF Businesswomen Network (WBN) was introduced at the inaugural World Islamic Economic Forum in 2005. It marked the Foundation’s recognition of the importance of women’s contribution to economic growth. WBN is aimed at providing a networking platform for women entrepreneurs globally. Thus, creating valuable connections between businesswomen from both Muslim and non-Muslim worlds, as well as empowering their business potential and widening their market reach.

WBN initiatives are designed to equip women entrepreneurs with business know-how, e-commerce capabilities as well as knowledge in business growth and diversification. To this effect, WBN has initiated several entrepreneurship programmes such as WIEF Women Entrepreneurs Workshop, WIEF Regional Online Marketing Workshop, WIEF Entrepreneurial Retreat, WIEF Tea Talk, WIEF Women Entrepreneurs Strategic Workshop, WIEF Social Media Workshop for Women Entrepreneurs, WIEF Businesswomen Forum held in Gangneung, Korea and #iEmPOWER workshop series.

To date, WBN entrepreneurship programmes have continued to evolve with the times and benefitted nearly 1000 women from 50 countries. WBN will continue its efforts in empowering and advancing women in the economic fields at national, regional and international levels.


About World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation

World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation was established in 2006. It is the organising body of the annual World Islamic Economic Forum. The Forum serves as a focal point where country leaders, captains of industry, emerging entrepreneurs, academics and other stakeholders from the Muslim World and beyond, meet to build bridges through business. The Foundation also undertakes various capacity building programmes under WIEF initiatives of the Businesswomen Network (WBN), Young Leaders Network (WYN), Education Trust (WET) and Roundtable Series (WRT).

For more information, visit www.wief.org

Facebook: @worldislamiceconomicforumfoundation
Instagram: wief_foundation
Twitter: @WIEF_Foundation
YouTube: WIEF FoundationTV



Sayantan Das
Managing Director

Sayantan Das is the Managing Director of foodpanda Malaysia. He oversees all commercial and operational efforts from end to end and is responsible for developing key strategies to tackle the complex food delivery marketplace. After being an analyst with the Singapore Exchange, he then moved on to TripAdvisor before founding his own start-up. His strong data and analytical sense has helped him build as well as implement financial accounting frameworks and develop key strategies to compete against competitors such as Airbnb.

Sayantan is a start-up enthusiast with a passion for marketplaces, consumer behaviour, IoT and fintech. He has great respect for the cultures and traditions of Southeast Asia after living in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia for over 20 years. Also, he considers climbing Mount Kinabalu, and reaching its peak at 13 years of age, as his greatest achievement.


Bryan Loo
Tealive Asia

Bryan Loo has a diverse portfolio of F&B brands spanning multiple countries. He is an award-winning entrepreneur who has long dominated the premium quick-service and fast-casual restaurant business in Malaysia. Born and bred in Perlis, Bryan first embarked on a medical career path after obtaining a degree in biotechnology from Monash University, Australia. However, he decided to make his mark in the local F&B industry instead.

Bryan started LOOB Holding Sdn Bhd and is responsible for the rapid growth of highly-recognised F&B brands such as Tealive, Baskbear Coffee, Gindaco, Croissant Taiyaki, Define:food, Define:burgers, Ko Ko Kai and Yun Bridge Noodle. His hard work and dedication have made him a role model for young entrepreneurs, his gripping personality made him a sought-after spokesperson for world class brands such as TUMI, Merc, Huawei, Sony and Haig Club.

Still in his 30’s, Bryan has won notable accolades including Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2013/2014, JCI Creative Young Entrepreneur Award, RHB Bank Top 40 Under 40 Best Performance Award 2014 and The Brand Laureate SMEs Brand Leadership Award 2014-2015 as the SME Brand Personality of the Year. Now, he manages a 2,000-strong workforce serving over five million customers in more than 530 outlets worldwide including Malaysia, United Kingdom, Australia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Brunei and Philippines.


Stephen P Francis
Co-founder & CEO

Stephen P Francis is a programmer, journalist, consultant, marketeer, entrepreneur and business owner who has been involved in building customer centric experiences for over two decades. With a consulting background that saw him building some of the biggest brands in Southeast Asia, his latest effort has seen him working with his co-founders to create one of Malaysia’s leading online grocery experiences – MYGROSER, integrated services that emphasises convenience, freshness and value.


Jashidah Kamal
Wealth Strategist, Speaker and Coach

Jashidah Kamal has over 20 years of experience in wealth management. She is well-versed in managing multiple asset classes such as equity, bonds, foreign currencies and gold, to name a few. She is also the Board of Director of Women of Global Change, Kuala Lumpur, which is a network of business leaders and entrepreneurs working towards building businesses as well as making social impact globally.

Jashidah’s mission is to empower women as well as manage their money efficiently and ultimately achieve financial freedom. Aside from growing her clients’ net worth, she is also involved in other projects such as wealth coach with Supparetreat and wealth expert in a television Show called Goal-Getters. Armed with a degree in accounting and finance from Middlesex University, London, she has helped numerous clients achieve their financial goals and increase their wealth.