Penang’s Bella Food takes packed lunch to another level

Fandi Khor (left) and Nisha Rezqi (right) took the opportunity to start a business selling packed lunches during MCO. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE GEORGE TOWN, March 17 — The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent movement control order (MCO) led to many losing their jobs but for best friends Fandi […]

Fandi Khor (left) and Nisha Rezqi (right) took the opportunity to start a business selling packed lunches during MCO. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

Fandi Khor (left) and Nisha Rezqi (right) took the opportunity to start a business selling packed lunches during MCO. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

GEORGE TOWN, March 17 — The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent movement control order (MCO) led to many losing their jobs but for best friends Fandi Khor and Nisha Rezqi, it was an opportunity to start a business selling packed lunches.

They saw a market for convenient and affordable packed lunches for office and factory workers who were unable to eat outside due to the MCO SOPs.

“There were so many restrictions eating outside due to the SOPs so we saw a market for delicious, convenient and affordable food delivered right to these people,” Khor said.

The duo started planning simple fusion menus from butter chicken with parboiled rice and fruits to spaghetti aglio olio.

They knew times were bad and people wanted to cut costs so they kept their pricing low at a fixed price of RM10 per lunch set and RM12 for when they have a seafood menu.

The duo launched Bella Food last September and started taking orders from offices and factories in Bayan Lepas.

It initially started with orders of less than 20 packs a day but Bella Food’s reputation grew through word of mouth and its page on Facebook.

Each pack comes with the main dish, rice and fruits. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

Each pack comes with the main dish, rice and fruits. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

“Now, we are getting orders of up to 50 packs a day and sometimes 70 packs,” he said.

Khor, who is a graphic designer, designed the packaging and made sure each lunch pack is presentable, clean and convenient for the customers.

Each pack comes with the main dish, rice and fruits, with plastic utensils and a serviette provided for convenience.

“We want our customers to open the package and eat without any hassle, they don’t have to worry about looking for utensils or tissue to clean up after their meal,” he said.

While Khor designs the packaging and delivers the food, Nisha is in charge of the cooking.

Nisha was formerly a chef in a hotel and a restaurant for several years before he decided to switch careers and become a car salesman.

“I could not sell any cars during the MCO last year and that was when Fandi approached me and asked if I wanted to join him in this venture,” he said.

He said cooking is still a passion for him so he decided to take a chance and go into the venture with Khor.

Nisha Rezqi cooking up the meal of the day at the kitchen. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

Nisha Rezqi cooking up the meal of the day at the kitchen. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

Since they both had little capital, they decided to start small and Nisha was cooking the meals from his home in Gelugor.

Then as the orders increased, they set up a proper kitchen in Nisha’s childhood home, a residential flat unit in Sungai Nibong.

“We didn’t want to invest in a commercial kitchen just yet, we wanted to test the market and start small,” he said.

However, they stressed on quality and despite the affordable price of their lunch sets, they ensured the ingredients are of high quality and the portions are reasonable.

“This is why we name it Bella Food, we want to serve beautiful delicious food to our customers and maybe this is why we kept getting more orders, because of what we offer,” he said.

Each Sunday, they will post a list of the daily menu for Monday through Thursday so that their customers can place their orders.

They will offer one menu per day but each week the menu changes so that there is variety for the customers.

Fandi Khor getting ready to deliver the packed food to customers. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

Fandi Khor getting ready to deliver the packed food to customers. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

Khor said they usually offer rice sets as most of their customers prefer something filling and simple but occasionally, they will offer pasta and spaghetti for variety.

Even though Bella Food is only available four times a week on weekdays now, Khor said they have plans to expand.

“We are looking at other possibilities, maybe expanding to a place with better facilities and even possibly opening a small cafe for customers to dine in,” he said.

Bella Food previously only delivered to the Bayan Lepas area but is now available to deliver to most of the island.

All lunch sets have to be pre-ordered one day ahead and delivery is between 11.30am and 1pm.

To order the lunch sets, go to fb.me/mybellafood or send a WhatsApp message to 019-878 7410.

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