Gulshan Rai loves her vegan cakes but she could not leave her house to visit the cake shop as the first movement control order (MCO) was in place. This was in early 2020.
So, she trawled social media sites and googled for shops that delivered vegan cakes to the home but there were hardly any within the stipulated delivery distance to her house. Finally, she managed to get the name of a shop from an online vegan group and placed her order.
She also found it difficult to get vegetarian meals delivered to her home in Subang as there were too few on the local online food ordering platforms. Also, there was a lack of variety available.
In addition, she felt that the vegetarian meals she ate at restaurants tasted better than that which were delivered – even if they were from the same restaurants.
The frustration that began building up made Gulshan, who turned vegetarian about 10 years ago, ponder over the difficulty vegans and vegetarians faced in getting food delivered to their homes.
The more she thought about it, the more she felt she should get into the business of making food easily available to vegans and vegetarians.
Gulshan, who had quit working in the telecommunications sector about three years ago and was doing some work in online education with her husband Mandeep Sidhu, saw a good market for vegetarian and vegan food.
“I also noted that an increasing number of people were turning to plant-based diets and vegan food in search of a healthier lifestyle. I felt this was the right time to start something for this growing community, and my husband and I started planning how we could go about it.”
Mandeep has an IT background too and so, it wasn’t too difficult for them to decide on what they would do. With some input from friends Gulshan had made in India when she was working in Bangalore, the couple created an app for an online food ordering platform last year.
And that’s how Zesty Clickz – “Malaysia’s very own vegan/vegetarian/plant-based food ordering platform” – began, with its office in Subang Jaya, Selangor.
What differentiates this from other online food delivery platforms, such as Grab and Food Panda, is that all food sold through this platform is vegan or vegetarian.
“Everything was ready for launch this February but because of the uncertainties caused by the movement restrictions, we waited and launched Zesty Clickz in April.
“We already have 65 merchants – including some who are home-based – and are working on signing more over the next few months. More than 2,000 people are using our app on android and iOS to order food.
“We make sure that all our merchants operate out of vegan or vegetarian kitchens. We don’t include those who cook both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. About 80% of our regular customers are vegetarians or vegans.”
Unlike some other food platforms which limit deliveries to a radius of 10km, Zesty Clickz delivers food up to a distance of 25km in the Klang Valley. This expanded coverage comes out of Gulshan’s experience in facing difficulties getting vegetarian food within delivery distance of her home. Her company uses Lalamove and a local logistics outfit to deliver the food.
To celebrate Father’s Day, Zesty Clickz began a promotion from June 19 till June 30 where they offer delivery to anywhere within a 25km radius in the Klang Valley for a flat delivery charge of RM5.
“It has proved immensely popular and orders have shot up by more than 30%. We also have a promotion lined up for July,” Gulshan says.
The petite young entrepreneur says Zesty Clickz’s top priority is customer satisfaction and that is why they have included a WhatsApp link for customers to contact them immediately if they have questions or complaints.
The couple initially planned to launch the app together with a QR ordering system for dine-in customers at their merchants’ outlets but that was put on hold due to the MCO which disallows dining-in at eateries. Still, they have some exciting plans for Zesty Clickz.
For instance, they are looking at expanding to Penang in the near future and possibly other areas. In the long run, Gulshan says they want to create a single marketplace for anything and everything vegan, including grocery and vegetable deliveries.
But that will come much later. For now, they intend to make Zesty Clickz the go-to place for those wanting authentic vegan and vegetarian food delivered to their homes.
Meanwhile, Zesty Clickz has received the thumbs up from the Malaysian Vegetarian Society.
Its president Raj Kumar Seth says: “It’s the only online vegetarian ordering platform. I am making use of it and I’m very satisfied. I’m hoping more vegan and vegetarian eateries and home-based food makers will join the platform so that consumers will be spoiled for choice.”