Two Indian banker-turned-startup founders bring hawker food delivery to CBD workers in Singapore

Rishabh Singhvi and Varun Saraf, who are both from India, met each other in Singapore nine years ago as freshmen. They fell so deeply for local hawker fare that they ditched their banking job to start a hawker food delivery business, according to a report by Todayonline on March 19, 2017.

Photo courtesy: WhyQ
Photo courtesy: WhyQ

Their startup is called WhyQ, which pools orders from hawker centres and food courts, then delivers them to offices. This enables fellow hawker food lovers working in the Central Business District (CBD) area who are time-strapped. Singhvi and Saraf said that they understand it can be a feat for CBD workers to get an affordable meal in their hectic schedule.

Orders are only extended to nearby hawker centres, such as Lau Pa Sat, and up to Smith Street. This ensures that their delivery fees can be kept low, at S$1.50 per order. There is also no minimum order required.

Photo courtesy: WhyQ Facebook
Photo courtesy: WhyQ Facebook

As its name WhyQ suggests, the idea was also to spare customers the wait at hawker centres, which are usually packed during mealtimes in the CBD

‘Stories behind hawker food cooked with love’

Singhvi said that he appreciates how hawker fare is “cooked with love” and is an integral part of Singaporean culture. “Many (hawker stalls) are family-run outfits and the effort and dedication really comes through. I love going to a hawker center without having a specific cuisine in mind and then choose on the spot depending on my mood,” he said.

Char Kway Teow. Photo courtesy: WhyQ Facebook
Char Kway Teow. Photo courtesy: WhyQ Facebook

Him and Saraf therefore started the Hawkers of Singapore video series, which they modeled after popular photoblog Humans of New York, according to a report by Todayonline on March 20, 2017. The aim of this project was to let more people know “the stories behind their delicious food cooked with love.” They hope the stories will help connect customers with the faces behind their favourite hawker fare, said Singhvi.

“It warms your heart to see hawker uncles and aunties cook food with so much passion and patience in the midst of this extremely busy, fast-paced city,” added Saraf.

Kareyst Lin
Kareyst Lin – Senior Writer

Kareyst has experience in writing about B2B technology for Computerworld Singapore, MIS Asia and CIO Asia; and on government technology for GCIO Asia. Her pet areas are artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and smart cities - these are fueled by her obsession with sci-fi movies and philosophy of mind. An active Yoga practitioner and cat lover, with a background in Indian philosophy, subaltern and diaspora studies.


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