Deliveries set new tone for township-based businesses

Township businesses are coming up with innovative ways of taking services to their customers, to beat restrictions imposed by regulations to suppress the spread of Covid-19.

Residents can now use Apps to place orders for anything from food, drinks to cleaning services.

Tebogo Phiri, owner of Disoufeng Restaurant and Pub in Meadowlands, Soweto, said they created an App, which can be downloaded from Google Playstore, for their clients to try to capture new customers.

"The idea for the App came last year because we would get people chilling at home saying they are enable to come over to buy our food. However, we did not pay much emphasis into it at the time; it was only when the Covid-19 lockdown kicked in that we decided to focus on it.

"When it was announced that restaurants can sell food during level 4 we introduced the App for our customers to order food from the comfort of their homes," he said.

"Our challenge at first was that we would give one driver about three orders and that created a lot of complaints as customers would get their food late and cold. We decided to get in more drivers and now we do about 200 quick deliveries a day," Phiri said.

He said the App has security features, including the ability to block under-18s from ordering alcohol.

On the other side of Soweto, Zanele Silimela, 32, of Protea Glen Ext 24 owns Eco Valet car wash. He too is making it easier for clients to have their cars washed at their homes.

"The idea for a mobile car wash was born last year in January because I realised that car-wash business was low during winter. However, it only gained momentum during the lockdown when people could no longer take their cars to car-wash places.

"I marketed the business over social networks and I received a good response," she said.

Silimela said they used waterless chemicals and a chargeable vacuum cleaner to get the job done.

She said they charge R100 per car and get about four to five jobs a day.

For now they serve Soweto and surrounds, and can go as far as Rosebank and Parktown North.

Meanwhile, a group of teenagers in Cape Town are running a bicycle delivery business in Langa township. The group of about nine youths, aged between 16 and 19, use bicycles to deliver groceries and takeaways from local restaurants.

The business called Cloudy Deliveries was started by Colin Mkosi last year after he saved up from his salary when he used to work part time for an insurance company.

"I started saving from February [2019] and this year I managed to buy 11 second-hand bicycles. My friend then helped with painting them to have one colour.

"I then asked a few guys from my area to be part of the project. We help our customers, especially the elderly, to buy their groceries and deliver at their home. We also have relationships with the restaurants to deliver their orders. We only charge a fee of R9 per delivery," he said.

He said the business was looking up and he hopes it continues to grow post lockdown.

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