Home Seniors, One-Click Dining, Eli.me’s Digital Exploration of Community Services

"I went to the hospital for a physical examination. I found a random community canteen nearby. A meal with meat, vegetables and eggs costs only 24 yuan. It’s another day of envy for the people of Shanghai."

This is a comment from a user on a social media platform. Recently, community canteens have become popular. It is not because the elderly have also fallen in love with taking pictures at the clock in, but because community canteens have been sought after by young people, and even some netizens have specially collected the "map of community canteens in Shanghai". The reason is that community canteens are both affordable, hygienic and convenient, and in the highly competitive urban life, they have greatly added a sense of security to young people.

Elderly residents eat in a community cafeteriaElderly residents eat in a community cafeteria

From the elderly group to the "hipster circle", the community canteen can hold up the elegant old age "small table", the value is self-evident. Recently, the executive meeting of the State Council has reviewed and approved the "Action Plan for the Active Development of the Elderly Buffet Service", pointing out that the development of the elderly buffet service is an important livelihood project, and an important measure to support the elderly in the home community and improve the well-being of the elderly. According to the data, there are more than 1,600 community elderly buffet places built in Shanghai.

However, community canteens are not without "growing pains". How to make the elderly enjoy government subsidies more efficiently? How to expand the order volume to maintain long-term operation in the case of low profit margins? How to solve the problem that the elderly cannot go out to eat in bad weather? The above problems plague many community canteen operators.

The author found that the community cafeteria in Xinqiao Town, Songjiang, Shanghai recently launched a community buffet delivery service in cooperation with Ele.me, which broke the game for the further development of community cafeterias and made a digital example.

The elderly are exempt from going out, the canteen increases orders, and the subsidy increases income.

The community cafeteria in Xinqiao Town launched Ele.me in September. Elderly residents can receive the subsidy of "Huilao Buffet Red Packet" issued by the street online, and the order will be delivered to their home by Ele.me. This is also the first community buffet project in Shanghai to connect government subsidies and takeaway platforms.

Launching takeaway first solves one of the biggest pain points of the canteen and the elderly in the off-peak season. In previous media reports, the reporter learned that most community canteens are facing serious off-peak season problems. For example, from November to March of the following year in Shanghai, due to the cold weather, most elderly people will go out less for safety reasons, so they naturally cannot come to the store to eat. Even the number of customers in many stores will be reduced by more than half. And with the access to the delivery service of takeaway riders, the elderly can enjoy the meal service of the community canteen at home.

Not only that, the takeaway platform has also greatly expanded the service coverage of community canteens. According to estimates, after the community canteen in Xinqiao Town launched Ele.me, the service scope expanded from a few hundred meters around to 47 square kilometers, which is equivalent to opening the canteen to the "doorstep" of the elderly in more surrounding communities. This has led to a 4-fold increase in the number of people who have opened buffet respect cards exceeding 3,000. In addition to the elderly, the takeaway platform can also bring more orders from young users to the community canteen, thereby increasing operating income and achieving long-term sustainable operation.

The street’s targeted red envelope subsidy for the elderly has also eliminated the elderly’s concerns about the price of takeaway. According to the reporter’s actual measurement, after the online package of the cafeteria is matched with the "Hui Lao Buffet Red Packet", many are only 10 yuan. And the assignment method of online red envelopes is also very accurate and convenient, without additional human intervention, it is automatically issued to the elderly user account every day, and can be used at the same time if there are 2 elderly people in one household.

It is worth mentioning that the canteen has also responded to the "breakfast project" and launched steamed buns as low as 0.8 yuan each, with takeaway selling more than 500 copies per month, eliminating the trouble of the elderly getting up early and queuing. In addition, the proportion of orders for sugar-free packages has exceeded 20%, showing the value of community canteens in the management of healthy diets for the elderly. Ele.me said it will invest expert resources in the joint canteen to develop more nutritional packages.

The person in charge of the Ele.me community service project team revealed that the platform is currently planning to further introduce public welfare institutions to help the elderly. In the future, for some elderly people with special difficulties, they can also issue larger red envelope subsidies through public welfare institutions, and even provide them with free meals.

A digital attempt not only solves the pain points of service coverage in community canteens, but also makes the distribution of street subsidies for the elderly more efficient, and also provides the possibility for more social resources to intervene in the future.

Digital + human touch, when the Blue Knight transforms into a "community man"

Another welcome byproduct of the digitization of community cafeterias is the introduction of more takeaway riders into community service, enabling them to participate more deeply in the cause of "one old and one small" in the community.

The digitization of community canteens allows community residents to order food at any timeThe digitization of community canteens allows community residents to order food at any time

In fact, the job attributes of takeaway riders make them familiar with the community, making it easier to build emotions with the community, which makes riders willing to participate in various community services. Tian Dan, a female rider of Ele.me who won the National May Day Labor Medal, said that when she first came to Shanghai to deliver food, she established feelings with the community and even Shanghai, and she gradually became familiar with each neighborhood during the delivery process.

Later, in the "Great Shanghai Defense War", she was alone and a car, on the road for more than 12 hours a day, delivering "life-saving" milk powder, medicine and other supplies to pregnant women and children.

From fresh food to 24-hour retail delivery of general merchandise, Ele.me riders have long been active in the "capillaries" of urban communities, delivering the rigid needs and warmth of life.

Therefore, Ele.me also established the honor system of "Community Hero" to encourage more riders to participate in the construction of the community. For example, Ele.me, based on the rider stations all over the community, and the Leyang Foundation jointly launched the "Blue Inn of Unloved Cabin" project for children’s mental health, introducing a large number of psychological services and parent-child courses into the community.

If a rider finds a child begging or experiencing violence in their daily work, they can also report it in the order receiving app with one click, and professional public welfare organizations will follow up and deal with it, thus establishing the first line of defense for the protection of minors.

Ele.me once found through internal data that when delivering meals to the elderly in the community, the riders tended to stay 1 minute longer than the general order. After understanding it, the riders and the elderly in the community would always care about the needs of the elderly by chatting when delivering meals. I believe that this kind of emotional establishment between the service provider and the served will be of great value for the future community pension.

Building a new digital foundation for replicable community services

In fact, food service, as the most high-frequency and core basic needs of community residents, plays an irreplaceable role in the improvement of home care and quality of life. And food delivery service has greatly improved the eating experience of the elderly, the disabled, children and other special groups.

Digital technology makes community services more efficientDigital technology makes community services more efficient

In the past, the community has also made many considerate attempts to help the elderly with food delivery, such as recruiting volunteers for door-to-door delivery. However, whether it is ordering statistics or volunteer management, it involves a lot of manpower, and the efficiency is not the same as that of a mature takeaway delivery system.

The case of community canteen in Xinqiao Town shows that the digital base of the business platform, combined with the resources of the social assistance system, takes into account efficiency and benefits the people, and will become an effective breakthrough to solve the problem of home dining for the elderly.

In 2018, the Ministry of Civil Affairs issued the "Internet + Civil Affairs Services" Action Plan, the first article on the typical application services of "Internet +" is "Internet + Elderly Care Services". The plan stated that it is necessary to promote the deep integration of the Internet and elderly care services, and build an Internet elderly care service supply system that combines online and offline, multi-subject participation, resource sharing, and fairness and inclusiveness… Gradually form an ecosystem, industrial chain, and service network that includes the participation of the government, society, markets, enterprises, and elderly care service consumers.

The action plan of the Ministry of Civil Affairs shows that the value of "Internet +" is not only to improve the efficiency of elderly care services, but also to build a platform that can connect the resources of all parties in the community. Only with the participation of more subjects can we continuously establish new models and propose new solutions to address the major social proposition of elderly care services.

Connecting various community life scenarios through digital pedestalsConnecting various community life scenarios through digital pedestals

In the case of the community canteen in Xinqiao Town, we see that because of the addition of the Ele.me platform, subsidies from the government can be more targeted, and it will also make it possible for future public welfare organizations to help the elderly in need. And Ele.me’s large resources in the field of food nutrition can better participate in the health management of the elderly through diet. Even in the crab-eating season, which is very concerned by traditional Shanghainese people, Ele.me also cooperated with merchants in Hongze Lake to send the first batch of hairy crabs out of the lake to the table of the elderly in the community canteen.

It is understood that the pilot of the community canteen project in Xinqiao Town, the streets and platforms have made great efforts. The Xinqiao Town Party Committee has made the "community buffet delivery project" the "No. 1 project" in the town this year. After months of coordination, it finally put the government subsidies at the two levels of the town into the "Huilao Buffet Red Packet" on the underlying logical structure of the takeaway platform.

Therefore, if we can make better use of the inspiration of this new achievement of digital assistance to the elderly, further explore the depth of ecological cooperation, and broaden the breadth of social participation, we will undoubtedly have more expectations for a happy life in the future digital community.