In Indonesia, for as long as I can remember, in residential neighborhoods in cities big and small, vendors of all kind have been known to sell their goods using push-carts or motorbikes equipped with a mini-cart at the back. This system works well, with the seller passing by in front of houses, hoping someone will notice and flag him to stop.
Until now, however, buyers are at the mercy of the sellers. Normally sellers would go through similar routes and around the same time of the day; but if a particular vendor for a neighborhood is absent for the day, then you are out of luck.
Founder and CEO Albert Wibisono, formerly the Head of the Human Resources Business Partner Sales and Marketing at PT HM Sampoerna Tbk Surabaya (owner of the wildly successful House of Sampoerna), said that when he wanted Beef Ball Soup (Baso or Bakso in Indonesian), he wanted to have it in the most convenient way.
The old method would have you either passively wait for the vendor to pass, or proactively by going to a Baso restaurant. More common these days would be through a call center for delivery orders. There are drawbacks to this last method: Food would not be as fresh or hot, and once ordered, it might be difficult to modify the order.
Mr. Wibisono would like to change that business model; thus was born the BasoCup™.
Taking advantage of the technology that had recently been used in Indonesia, Mr. Wibisono is employing the aid of the Global Positioning Services (GPS) along with a Call Center and Mobile Crew (at launching, the company has 20 Mobile Crew). Each Crew member is equipped with a smartphone that has a GoogleMaps-based software. The company strikes a partnership with Telkomsel®, a national cellular telephone provider. Ericson Sibagariang, General Manager of the Java and Bali Regional Division Account Management, and the team for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) have supported the company in its infancy.
When someone suddenly has a craving for beef ball soup, s/he can dial a number, give the Call Center her/his home phone number and address. The Center will create a personal database (landline and cellular phones tied to home and office addresses); and then, using the GPS, will locate a nearby Mobile Crew and send the vendor to the customer’s house, office, or even a friend’s home. In the future, when a customer calls, his caller ID will alert the Call Center of who he is and where he is, facilitating the sending of a Mobile Crew member.
Once at the home of the customer’s, the vendor “sets up shop” and sells the goods. There are different combo sets, but each beef ball and fried wonton can be purchased individually. Each Crew member goes out ready to serve approximately 100 portions. Should inventory be low when a Crew member is currently serving a buyer, s/he will push a Panic Button to alert the Call Center for more help, like sending another Crew member to the same location.
When buying BasoCup through the Call Center, a minimum purchase of 2 Cups (at IDR 13,000.00 each) is required; however, if you see a Crew member nearby and flag him to come over, there is no minimum purchase requirement. At Press time, individual item sells for IDR 2,000.00.
In Indonesia, vendors usually provide limited bowls. Occasionally, buyers would provide their own bowls; this is to facilitate the vendor from leaving immediately after the transaction is completed: otherwise, the vendor will have to wait for the buyers to finish, retrieve the bowls, wash them, and then leave.
How each bowl is washed is a questionable practice. Vendor would throw away leftovers, then dip and rinse the bowl inside a pail of water, and finally towel-dry it. Eventually, this pail of water becomes murky and dirty; but unfortunately, vendors may not change the water frequently.
Instead of using a bowl BasoCup, as the name implies, uses a Cup. The Eco-friendly Cup, able to withstand the high degree of the broth, is designed by Detpak a multinational company that manufactures the product locally in Indonesia.
Eating from a narrower-opening Cup, instead of a wider-mouthed bowl, may take some getting used to, but this is not a problem. With a bowl, you will be forced to sit down; because standing up, cradling a bowl, and eating requires delicate balancing. With a cup, you can have a better grip and can eat more securely, sitting or standing.
Further, the Cup actually provides an easier way to “drink” the broth, much like the way the Japanese eat their soup (or their Cup O’Noodle!). One hand grips the Cup, while the other scoop the contents.
And speaking of contents, how did the Chinese get away with eating just with a pair of chopsticks? Because by the time food is on the table, the morsels are just the right size to be picked up by a pair of chopsticks; no fork and knife necessary! With BasoCup, each beef ball is just the right size to eat in its entirety.
Now, if only there were an iPhone App for this one! Perhaps in the near future.
[UPDATE: APRIL 1, 2012]
Beginning 19 March 2012, BASOCUP™ outlets open in two locations:
At the RKZ or RSK St. Vincentius a Paulo Cafeteria
At the Rumah Sakit Premier (formerly the HCOS)
Hours for both outlets:
Mon – Sun: 08:00-20:00
By virtue of shape, the suffix of the phone number (8450) resembles the letters B A S O. As a mnemonic device, one can think 566-BASO, but this is not to be confused with the American way of personalizing a phone number. In the US, if you have 566-BASO, it would translate to 566-2276, which is NOT the case here.
PT BasoCup Foods
Jalan Joyoboyo 42
Tel: +62 (031) 563-0690
Fax: +62 (031) 563-0691
BasoCup, a set on Flickr.