Prethip’s adventure as an aspiring restaurant owner.
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Since the pandemic hit Malaysia, many of us have faced a continuous battle in adapting to the new normal. But 23-year-old Prethip Radakrishnan did more than survive his ordeal – he turned tribulations into opportunities.
From a humble career in the food and beverages (F&B) industry, Prethip handled the blows life dealt him, embarked on a life-changing career move and emerged as an inspiring gig economy youth in Malaysia’s largest food delivery rider fleet – Foodpanda.
Prethip had just completed his studies and had landed a job when the pandemic hit. During the first Movement Control Order (MCO) in March 2020, he lost his job.
“I enjoyed my experience in the food and beverage industry even if it was a short stint. I learnt a lot of interesting things and got the chance to experience the inner workings of the industry. I also got the opportunity to meet many interesting successful people and learn to handle and overcome difficult situations”, said Prethip, who was born and brought up in Taman Bangi Indah, Selangor.
With time in his hands, Prethip deliberated starting his own F&B business by opening his own restaurant, a dream he’s always had.
In this day and age, experience is as important as the certificates that you hold. Unfortunately, my experience in the food and beverage industry is limited as was my funds, and in the end, I decided not to enter the industry blindly.Prethip Radakrishnan
Prethip felt that a natural first step towards fulfilling his dream was to make full use of the downtime to gain the experience he needed. It was then that he decided to become a Foodpanda rider.
This career as a rider – which took him off course from the path that he was originally on – offered him all the experience and independence he desired without any of the financial burdens of running his own business. The opportunity by Foodpanda gave Prethip the steppingstone needed to learn about the F&B industry.
As a Foodpanda rider, he had a front-row seat to the dynamics of running a restaurant when he interacted with the vendors and got firsthand insight and feedback from the customers that he delivered to. With the incredible on-the-job knowledge he’s gaining, Prethip is even more motivated to work hard and save up to be able to make his dream a reality.
But the job isn’t always a walk in the park and has its own set of challenges. He’s encountered customers of all walks of life and faced challenging deliveries, but he was quick to learn to communicate with them to effectively serve them better.
In addition, there are moments as a Foodpanda rider that are rewarding and memorable and while he works on fulfilling his dream, Prethip appreciates the simple joys the job brings. Most of all he loves the happiness each delivery brings to customers.
The good moments always outweigh the bad. It doesn’t matter if I am making a delivery when it’s raining cats and dogs or under the scorching heat of the sun. When a customer is courteous enough to show gratitude by saying a simple thank you with a smile, my day is made. At times, they are also offered complimentary food from kind-hearted vendors and customers. The flexible hours also give me plenty of time to work on plans for my future and to spend quality time with my family as well.Prethip Radakrishnan
To Prethip’s account, Foodpanda provides its riders with discounts on certain purchases for their motorcycle maintenance. He was especially happy when Foodpanda provided their riders with 24-hour protection through insurance. “We put our lives on the line to serve our customers’ needs, so having this coverage makes us feel secure and appreciated,” he added.
Prethip also mentioned that getting discounts on his monthly postpaid plan was a huge help as Foodpanda offers discounts on selected monthly postpaid plans. He also got to participate in an interesting contest that offered great prizes held solely for the riders by Foodpanda.
Prethip’s advice to those who are planning to become a rider is to be strong, brave, resilient, disciplined, and strong-hearted.
The community is very supportive as everyone understands that sometimes we must step out of our comfort zone and conventional practices to survive and support ourselves in achieving our dreams.