Here Are 16 F&B Business Collaborations Born During COVID-19

The local food and beverage (F&B) industry collapsed during the Covid-19 pandemic. To survive, innovation and the backbone proved to be necessary.

Restaurant businesses have displayed resilience strategies and one of them is to partner with each other to expand their reach.

On the one hand, standalone bubble tea brands weren’t allowed to open during the breaker period, and they quickly partnered up with cloud kitchens to keep selling their offerings.

Here are the most notable collaborations between restaurant companies that have helped them weather the storm.

Cat and the violin x Tenderfresh

Cat and the violin x Tenderfresh
Image Credit: Tenderfresh Group

F&B group Tenderfresh collaborated with Singapore-based cheesecake brand Cat & the Fiddle through their Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop in Jalan Kayu to bring cheesecake to the table.

Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop is a cafe serving nostalgic tuckshop fare and barista coffee like its popular Smoky Iced Caramel Macchiato.

According to Tenderfresh, Cat & the Fiddle is selling so well that Makcik Tuckshop has expanded the menu to their outlets at Admiralty and Ayer Rajah Community Center.

Thong Aik Coffee x Ying Thai

Thong Aik Coffee x Ying Thai
Image Credit: Seth Lui

Thong Aik Coffee serves Nanyang coffee in the morning, and Thai cuisine from lunch (11am) to dinner together with Ying Thai from the breaker.

Until 11 a.m., you can expect such products as Lu Rou Fan aka Braised Pork Rice Bowl, Century Egg Porridge, and Green Bean Soup with Gula Melaka.

From 11am the menu changes and you can expect authentic Thai cuisine like Minced Pork Rice with Basil, Tom Yum Fried Rice or Tang Hoon with Pork or Chicken.

Many customers have been delighted with the place, with reviews online saying it serves great coffee and authentic Thai food in one place.

Meatsmith x Jack Daniels

Meatsmith x Jack Daniels
Image Credit: Meatsmith SG Facebook page

American meathouse Meatsmith and American whiskey brand Jack Daniels have teamed up to create the ultimate in-home tasting menu during Covid-19.

The menu includes a 5-course meat menu from Meatsmith and a 5-bottle tasting kit from Jack Daniels.

We know that a good alcoholic drink goes well with tasty meat, which is why this collaboration was very necessary.

Gully x Blu Kouzina

Gully x Blu Kouzina
Image Credit: Foodies vs the world

The Gully Kitchen & Bar on Dempsey Road collaborated with Executive Chef Blu Kouzina to create a menu featuring street-inspired dishes from countries around the world.

Think Nepalese momo dumplings, sambal-sautéed Indonesian tempeh, German currywurst, Taiwanese fried chicken sliders, and of course, Mediterranean dishes such as falafel and rice.

MONGA x Founder Bak Kut Teh

Founder Bak Kut Teh and Monga
Image Credit: Founder Bak Kut Teh and Monga

Founder Bak Kut Teh collaborated with Monga Taiwanese Fried Chicken to offer Monga Brown Sugar Bubble Milk Tea when customers spend a minimum amount on the former.

Customers were able to satisfy their cravings with Monga’s Bubble Milk Tea and comforting pork rib soup from founder Bak Kut Teh.

Due to popular demand, the collaboration was even extended for one month until July 1 from June 1.

KOI x Grain

KOI x Grain
Image Credit: @koithesingapore

Following the implemented shutdown of stand-alone bubble tea shops during the breaker, the KOI chain worked with Grain to continue offering bubble tea to its customers.

Grain is an online restaurant that offers on-demand meals such as Grilled Farm Chicken or Char Siew Caramelized Beef made from scratch in their cloud kitchens.

Apparently, Grain built a bubble tea maker in their kitchen to produce drinks until the breaker goes out.

Customers were able to discover KOI drinks as well as Grain’s selection of healthy dishes.

The response has been overwhelming as most bubble teas sell out almost immediately after restocking.

Grain had stated that KOI drinks “were selling faster than [they] can put them back in stock ”.

Xing Fu Tang: Wooshi, Suparakki Ramen, Fish shack

Xing Fu Tang and Wooshi
Image Credit: Wooshi Singapore

Famous Taiwanese bubble tea brand Xing Fu Tang collaborated with The Fish Hut for island-wide delivery during Covid-19.

Customers were able to order Brown Sugar Boba Milk Tea and / or Brown Sugar Boba Oolong Milk Tea from XFT, as well as a food from The Fish Hut, Wooshi or Suparakki Ramen.

These meal combinations allowed customers to enjoy bubble tea with sushi, ramen or even fish soup.

LiHO: Woo Ricebox, Paik’s Bibim, Tino’s Pizza and Gong Yua Ma La Tang

Image Credit: LiHo

Not to be outdone, LiHO has also regrouped with a list of F&B outlets for the delivery they rolled out on April 23.

Foodies were able to pair bubble tea with Korean dishes from Paik’s Bibim, traditional Taiwanese rice boxes from Woo Ricebox, Italian-inspired hand-thrown pizzas or mala soup from Guan Yuan Ma La Tang.

The demand for LiHO was so overwhelming that their DIY bubble kits sold out within 3 days.

Truedan x Eggstop

Egg Stop and Truedan
Image Credit: Egg Stop and Truedan

Another Taiwanese bubble tea brand, Truedan, collaborated with Korean toast brand Eggstop for delivery.

Truedan hails from the Shihlin Night Market in Taiwan, and the Truedan franchise in Singapore is Muslim-owned, by a Singaporean named Ahmad Adam. Ahmad is also one of the owners of Egg Stop.

During the breaker, customers could get one of the Egg Stop sandwiches, to pair with fresh brown sugar milk.

Tiger sugar x PUTIEN

Tiger Sugar x Putien
Image Credit: Tiger Sugar Singapore

Fans of the Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant PUTIEN might get their famous Lor Mee or Fried Heng Hwa Bee Hoon with a side of brown sugar bubble milk.

Tiger Sugar is a Taiwanese brand known for popularizing brown sugar bubble tea here.

The platters combined a PUTIEN main course with Tiger Sugar Brown Sugar Boba Milk and Cream.

They continued their collaboration when the circuit breaker was extended for another 4 weeks.

Milksha x Yum Cha Express

Milksha x Yum Cha Express
Image Credit: oo-foodielicious

It seems the list of bubble tea collaborations goes on and on.

Milksha, another brand from Taiwan, has partnered with Yum Cha Express for island-wide delivery during the pandemic.

Yum Cha Express is the delivery arm of Yum Cha restaurants.

Customers were able to order a variety of dim sum and other Chinese fare, paired with Milksha’s signature bubble tea offerings, such as Fresh Taro Milk and Earl Gray Latte.

Orders have been “overwhelming” since the launch of its collaboration with Yum Cha, said Joseph Lim, managing director of Sinpoint Holdings, which owns the master franchise of Milksha Singapore.

CHICHA San Chen x Yu Kee duck rice

CHICHA San Chen x Yu Kee Duck Rice
Image Credit: Oddle

CHICHA San Chen (吃茶 三千) partnered with Singaporean duck rice brand Yu Kee at Connexis to offer island-wide delivery via GrabFood.

In fact, Yu Kee Group introduced the Taiwanese bubble tea brand to Singapore.

Thanks to Covid-19, Yu Kee’s Seah siblings reinvigorated 60-year-old Yu Kee Braised Duck Rice with freshly brewed traditional teas.

Today, foodies can still get their hands on the CHICHA San Chen and Yu Kee bento sets from Oddle.

The alley: Chir Chir, Masizzim, Nipong Naepong

The Alley and Chir Chir
Image Credit: The Alley Singapore

The Alley Singapore has teamed up with KFood Holdings, the parent company of several F&B concepts here, to offer island-wide delivery.

With bubble tea, customers could order Korean food brands Chir Chir, Masizzim, and Nipong Naepong in one order.

The culinary blog Ladyironchef even called it “the ultimate circuit breaker feast”.

Gong Cha: Sushi Express, COLLIN’S, Chatterbox, Mapo Tofu from Chen, Wolf Burgers

Gong Cha
Image Credit: Kiasu Foodies

Singaporean favorite Gong Cha has teamed up with a host of food service vendors to deliver bubble tea during the breaker time.

These are Express by Chatterbox, Mapo Tofu by Chen, and Wolf Burgers.

Foodies were able to sample bubble tea with a variety of different cuisines.

Each-A-Cup: ENAQ, Chuan Shi Dai, Pontien

Image Credit: Each-A-Cup

Local bubble tea brand Each-A-Cup partnered with 3 F&B brands during the breaker era.

Customers living in the West could order at least one item of food from the ENAQ prata store or the Chuan Shi Dai steamboat restaurant in order to purchase Each-A-Cup bubble tea.

Alternatively, foodies can also enjoy the Pontian noodle sets with Each-A-Cup bubble tea.

Playmade x Jiak by Jin Feng

Playmade x Jiak by Jin Feng
Image Credit: Daniel Food Diary

Another collaboration is Jin Feng’s Jiak braised pork rice brand with another Taiwanese bubble tea brand PlayMade.

Jiak by Jin Feng located at Ang Mo Kio Hub is related to the famous Jin Feng braised pork rice in Taipei.

Jin Feng is probably one of the best-known restaurants in Taipei, known for serving Lu Rou Fan (Braised Pork Rice).

Industrial because resilient

If one good has come out of Covid-19, it’s the fact that F&B players are harnessing the power of collaboration more than ever.

These collaborations have made it clear that the restaurant industry is as industrious as it is resilient.

Coming together to survive has pushed the industry to create bigger and better things under pressure.

In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic could have a positive side. He highlighted the shortcomings of the F&B sector and underlined the importance of digitization and innovation.

As a result, catering businesses can be better prepared in the future in the event of a new crisis.

Featured Image Credit: Burpple / Timeout / Meatsmith SG / Foodies vs the world / KOI / Milksha

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Jothi Venkat

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