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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ordering Food Goes Online (Guest Post for 27Coupons.com)

Recently I was on a cleaning spree before the Ganapati festival. Changing the curtains, dusting out every nook and corner, giving away the old stuff in anticipation of the festive shopping, etc. If you are in the habit of reading in between the lines, you would wonder why I cannot entrust the domestic help with such mundane matters. Well it so happens that I am quite finicky about small things like people touching my stuff or worse moving it around. Personally I would prefer things in their natural state of disarray as I have left them to things arranged in an orderly fashion by others. And this style of management is made even worse by a toddler who has made it a ritual of throwing things around the house or still worse…stacking them in secret places that he has discovered.
It was during one such broom wielding spree that I discovered this neatly arranged stack of flyers in a forgotten corner of the kitchen cabinet. Belonging to various restaurants in and around Marathahalli, Bellandur and Kormangala, they had been painstakingly and enthusiastically collected by me akin to the manner in which kids collect stickers and tattoos. Their yellowing appearance was almost metaphorical, evoking sepia tinted memories of a bygone era when they had been in-disposable for ordering food from a restaurant. Whenever I was not in a mood to cook or some friends/relative decided to put in an appearance at the eleventh hour, I would frantically rummage through the lot and pick up a restaurant. The next step would be to call up the place and check if they delivered to our locality/apartment. As fate would have it, more often than not the designated delivery guy for our locality would have either fallen sick or taken off to his native. However on the rare occasions that I got lucky, the next step would be to check if a particular dish would be available on that day. A curt ‘No’ for an answer would set me back to square one but I duly persisted till I successfully hunted down a restaurant that home delivered the food of my choice within the shortest possible time.
But that was before I discovered FoodPanda (Coupons), Just-Eat (Coupons) and TastyKhana. Now one just needs to log in to their website, select the city and the locality and voila, all the restaurants that cater/deliver to a particular locality are listed in a matter of seconds. Additional filters allow one to narrow down the choice based on cuisine type, delivery time, and even minimum order value. Plus they display the individual restaurant ratings based on the customer reviews as well. Having their app on ones smartphones make it still simpler, allowing one to order on the go. One needs to pay either cash on delivery or opt for an online payment (which often translates into an additional discount or cash-back).
A recent report in the TOI pegs the food services industry at a Rs 2.5 trillion valuation which is set to reach a Rs 4.1 trillion figure by 2018. Rising salaries and dual income households are fueling the trend which is being fanned by a number of cookery shows/competition on television. Exposure to various international cuisines is whetting up the Indian appetite for experimentation. Indian are regarded as quite conservative when it comes to their food but this is now changing at a very rapid pace.
A win-win situation for both parties, the portals/websites offer a wider reach for the restaurants while their own revenues are driven by large volume sales. While Foodpanda and Just-Eat are established global players who have targeted major cities where a sizable section of the population has more disposable income per household and established eating-out habits, the Pune based TastyKhana might as well emerge as the dark horse in this race. It has partnered with the Jubilant Foodworks owned Domino’s Pizza in India. The association would enable TastyKhana.in to take online orders on its website for Domino’s Pizza across 158 cities in India with an option of COD and online payment. While the 158+ cities on its map include Tier I cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, etc, it also takes home delivery to Tier III cities like Rourkela (Orissa), Manipal (Karnataka), Amravati (Maharashtra), Limbdi (Gujarat), Rongpo (Sikkim). With no major players catering to these cities, TastyKhana might have earned some customers for the keeps. Once the population of these cities get a hang of ordering food online, it is only a matter of time that more local restaurants jump on to the online bandwagon. And with industry pundits predicting that the future lies in Tier II and Tier III cities which is where the next wave of retail boom will take place, TastyKhana might be in for a windfall. I have my bets in place, what about you ?
Note: Image courtesy of Keerati at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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