The billionaire founder of Mang Inasal, who brought unlimited rice to the mainstream, now wants to change how people do their virtual grocery shopping during the pandemic, with deliveries in as fast as 15 minutes.
Under Edgar "Injap" Sia's "dark grocery" concept, the supermarket will cater solely to online deliveries, compared to the current setup, wherein physical stores branch out into e-commerce. Sia said this would make the grocery "invisible."
Sia said his own MerryMart Grocery Inc will partner with food delivery platform FoodPanda's grocery service, Panda Mart, for the "dark grocery" venture. The venture aims to be the first 15-minute grocery service in the country, MerryMart told the stock exchange.
“This concept is a real game changer in the online grocery space,” Sia said in the disclosure. “Imagine being able to buy exactly what you need, when you need it, and for it to arrive at your doorstep in a very short span of time. We are glad to join forces with the global delivery platform FoodPanda to power this ‘dark grocery’ store concept as they are the leaders in the online food delivery space."
The first two "dark groceries" will start operating in Makati and Manila in October.
Sia has a track record for challenging convention. After Mang Inasal, he helped establish the community-based CityMall chain that offered the most basic shopping mall experience -- fastfood, department store, grocery and cinema.
MerryMart debuted on the stock exchange in July, defying an economy that has plunged into a recession because of COVID-19.
Sia is the Philippines' 21st richest according to Forbes Magazine, with an estimated net worth of $700 million (P34 billion).