Mera State Mahaan – Regionalism at IIMs

One of the amazing aspects about business schools in India is regional diversity. In the clamour around less number of women and lack of non-engineer perspective in the classroom, one good thing that goes completely unnoticed is the excellent regional diversity in an Indian classroom. I doubt if many countries in the world can boast of such diversity within a nation’s borders. One of the highlights of my 2-year PGP programme at IIM Indore was observing in my batch of 240 how people from different parts of India would react when faced with the same situation. It’s a great study and one learns to appreciate different kinds of behaviour.

Another heart-warming aspect is the celebration of different festivals irrespective of the state or the religion. It’s an important part of the 2-year learning and educates you a lot about your own country.

(I do wonder though that even this aspect in a few IIMs is under threat given the thoughtless admission criteria doled out by many top schools of India. Some plainly refuse to normalize scores even today. I do believe that some states are at an advantage based on criteria in a particular year and will send students in bigger numbers.)

What prompted me to write on this issue though was the recent debate in the Parliament around students from North-East feeling marginalized. It’s unfortunate that a few students had to die for us to become aware of this. The subject of this post is not the North-East alone but the larger question about our regional mindset. And when I say ‘our’ it includes my friends, my family and me.

Somehow the state allegiance is so strong that at times it seems as if we are at war with our own colleagues at work or our own batch mates on campus. I understand that it’s natural that one is more comfortable with people from one’s own state or someone who speaks the same language.  But healthy camaraderie is very different from clear in-your-face groupism.

There is a separate mail chain of people from one state where the well-being of all ‘brothers’ is to be ensured. There are drinking parties of people from another state every month where you are invited only if you are from that state. Harmless you would say. But it doesn’t end there. Club, Committee and Society elections is when the regional flavour is at its zenith. “Are we getting enough representation?” “Do we have someone of our ‘own’ in the committee?” People even beg for votes promising well-being of ‘our’ people. I have always wondered who these ‘our’ and ‘your’ people are. For a long time in my life, I thought we are all in the same country. I do not make this mistake anymore. We are different provinces in the same country happy to be in India as long as it suits us.

A little more digging led me to multiple state-based Facebook groups that span across top business schools of India. So Bengalis have their own private group and so do people from Andhra and so do Punjabis and it goes on and on.

I recently came across a closed group on Facebook for people from the same religious community studying in a top business school of India. Clearly, this is not direction we should be heading.

The problem is that it is so ingrained in us to divide each other based on states and languages that you shall see it in the most sophisticated and hitherto assumed as ‘evolved’ and ‘progressive’ places. There is a classic firsthand account of a top consulting firm that recruits from most IIMs. The partner interviewing the candidates had made up his mind before visiting that he will shortlist all people from his state as he wanted to increase the representation of people from his state in his practise. Not only did he shortlist people but also made an offer to a candidate in the 2nd round itself while others went through multiple rounds. This is a true story.

A friend of mine studying in a top school in India told me this incident of a professor who called her in his cabin giving suggestions how to do well at the course and some other general pointers regarding discipline. “The only reason I’m taking so much interest in your well-being is because you’re from my state” – exact words told to her.

Recently, someone pinged me on Facebook. After the exchange of pleasantries the gentleman came down straight to the point. I should recommend him for a job in my company since we both share the same mother tongue.

One would argue that these are sporadic incidents and should not be given too much weight. I don’t believe that any more. It’s out there. It is in your face occurring all the time.

What worries me is that I don’t see it getting any better. I only see it getting worse. In an insecure job environment with burgeoning batch sizes and quotas of various kinds, the incentive to be a ‘protectionist’, ‘regionalist’, ‘elitist’ is only fuelled further. It’s fairly easy these days for anyone to polarize people from a particular state or community by typing a 140 character tweet. People make passionate appeals for the ‘cause of their state’ on facebook with the help of concocted facts attached to a misleading photo. Not surprisingly, they go viral with people believing anything they see or read on such forums.

I have begun to believe that as human beings our basic instinct is to divide. This egoistic craving for one’s identity is what forces us to cling on to concepts like state, race, language and then to claim its superiority over others. I don’t know. May be I’m wrong. But the above incidents deflate one’s spirits. (And just for the record, all the incidents quoted above are from 3 different Top business schools of India. And my belief is that people in other business schools behave the same way. Just that I need to put those incidents which I know have actually taken place.)

Regionalism bothers me. It is one of the many problems that plague our education system. Leading institutions in the country need to be examples of meritocracy and unity. Currently, certain people in these very institutes seem to be taking us in the opposite direction.

– Ankit Doshi

 

 

(The author is an alumnus of IIM Indore –  Class of 2011 and Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics,Mumbai –  Class of 2007.  He currently works with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and has worked with TATA Capital and WhatsonIndia.com  in the past. He still believes that ‘Umang’ NM College’s festival was the best thing to have happened to him where he led a team of 500 students)

 

 

Other articles by this Author

50 things you should know about IIM

The Power of a NGO

6 Traps to be wary of in a business school in India

5 reasons why student-run Placement committees should give way to CDC at IIMs

Final Placements 2012 – The big test for the IIMs

 

Knowledge Cafe on InsideIIM : Understanding the Sports Broadcasting business in India

Football Clubs Finances : The Business of Football

 

Student Exchange – The Most definitive Student Exchange Programme Report – 2011 (One of its kind report for top business schools in India)

 

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author

Star Sports’ Short-Sighted Football Broadcast Strategy In India

I got introduced to the Premier League because of friends. However, the reason I became a fan was because I could watch Premier League matches live on my TV. I was exposed to a world of entertainment and scintillating display of skill. The pre-match and post-match analysis was of high quality. The weekly shows on Football were educating and gave great insight into how the sport was run. The only way you develop an interest and convert it to a passion is if the content is available. When I look back I became a cricket fan as a child too because I could watch the Indian team travel across the world on TV. Access to experiencing the content was never a problem.

Unless you can watch matches regularly in a stadium, there is no other way you can recruit new fans to your product but through TV/Live Broadcast.

I am part of a 100 member sports group on WhatsApp. There are people trying to get others on the group interested in EPL. However, there is no way for the newbies to access this content. They just don’t know where to go and watch matches. Most of them have already given up as they can’t sample this ‘exciting’ thing called the Premier League. This is anecdotal evidence but I wouldn’t bet against many similar experiences across India really harming growth of EPL viewership in the country.

Unfortunately, Star Sports India’s strategy will harm growth of interest in English football and in the long run it will harm their own interests. Let’s take all issues one by one.

So, what is this new strategy? What is the problem?

I have subscribed to 8 Star Sports Channels – Star Sports 1,2,3,4 + Star Sports HD 1,2,3,4.  However, from October if I want to watch Premier League action, I need to mandatorily subscribe to Star Sports Select HD 1 and HD 2 channels. Now, subscribing to these 2 new channels will not guarantee coverage of all matches but you can be assured of being able to watch the big matches at least.

The other way you can get access to the action is if you subscribe to Hotstar at INR 200/- per month. You can watch all matches live on demand. This also means you get access to other premium content on hotstar but I am forced to take it even though I only want to watch the premier league. This option means tons of extra money I need to spend on internet data. It isn’t such a great deal if you ask me. You will consume at least up to 1 GB data on every match day.

Indians don’t like to pay for content

This is not entirely true. One could argue that Star is trying to maximise its revenue but I think they are pushing it too far. It is not that people are not paying for content. I am paying for 8 star channels already. Now, I need to pay for 2 more ‘premium’ channels. When will this end?

Also, it is not like the 8 channels I have subscribed to have world class live programming all the time. There are re-runs of matches and packaged cricket programming which is shown multiple times each week.

There is only so much viewers will take, Ultimately, they will just give up and not care. Highly passionate fans will find ways to watch what they want. Star Sports  is making watching live action legally as painful as watching something for free on an online stream.

Ok. So Star is greedy. What is your point about it affecting them in the long run? Why is this strategy short-sighted?

Football hasn’t reached a critical mass of viewers in India yet. They are killing the growth in its popularity even before it reaches its true potential. For context, look at this FIFA Television viewership report for World Cup 2014 in Brazil 2 years ago. The highest number of people to have watched any match at any point of time is 5 Million whereas the average viewership per match is 1.3 Mn. The total reach of the entire competition is 85 Million. A country like Indonesia (1/5th of India’s population) with a far worse time zone for live broadcast from Brazil reached 103 Million. On the other hand Cricket ICC T20 World cup was watched by 730 Million Indians. All these stats point to the ground football still has to cover in India and the massive potential it has.

India is one of the few markets where channels/broadcasters not only make money through Pay TV (Subscriptions) but also through advertising. The argument generally is that people pay too little per subscription so they need to monetise through ads as well. When HD programming was being promoted initially, one of the key features mentioned was ‘Ad-free programming’. Channels then started inserting 30 second ads. Then they became 90 seconds. Now, its exactly like the SD channels. So consumers pay extra for HD channels and still have to endure the advertising. Read this piece from 2012.

This mindset of continuously trying to exploit every possible way to make money out of the consumer is what will lead to their downfall. Apart from the bad PR that these issues generate (check protest Facebook pages, quora and petitions on change.org), what this is doing is restricting the growth of the popularity of the game. Unless you are born in a family that has access to HD TVs and has someone in the family who has also subscribed to Star Sports Select HD, you will never be introduced to Premier League Football. Unless I watch games as a kid on TV, how will I be interested in the game or the league? If I haven’t developed an interest why will I ever subscribe to this content?

PL football became popular in India for the following reasons :

  1. Time Zone : Weekend Afternoon in England is prime time in India.  So a 3 pm BST kickoff means a 7.30 pm or 8.30 pm match in India. La Liga matches are generally much later in the night and this is a big reason La Liga isn’t as big as EPL in India. It is also the reason NBA will find it tough to reach same popularity. Matches take place when kids are either sleeping or in school.
  2. Language : There is an historic comfort with everything English.
  3. Access: Access to Premier League action was always easy. It was easy for a newbie to be introduced to the game. 

It is this third reason which is critical. Football viewership needs to grow at a fast clip if Star Sports wants to make money (either through Pay TV or advertising). By restricting distribution they are bracing themselves up for pain in the future. Disgruntled fans will switch to free online streams. New additions to fan base should be as important as making money out of the present ones. The Premier League itself may not be too enthused if viewership in India does not grow fast enough. Clubs like Arsenal who look at India as their next market for expansion would not be too happy with these developments either. They will need young kids to be able to watch the Arsenal team in action for their fan base to grow. This Medium piece talks about how big the EPL is going to be in the coming years and even markets like USA haven’t been tapped fully yet.

I am sure they would have done their analysis before shifting PL entirely to Star Sports Select HD. The Star Sports CEO Nitin Kukreja (an IIM A alumnus) claimed on an interview to Sportskeeda that they are already in 7 Million homes. The assumption must be that everyone who watches EPL is from a background that fits the profile of these 7 Million homes. What is not clear though is why they need to add two new HD channels and charge for it and not use the existing 4 channels? There can’t be any other reason but to make additional money. I am also not entirely sure if they’ve weighed in the costs of not letting a fan base develop though. It is possible Star Sports thinks current fans will eventually give in and subscribe but I am not sure how they will attract more viewers with such a restriction in distribution and access.

The alternate view is that the number of EPL followers is so small that it doesn’t affect the overall viewership in a big way in the short run even if there are drop offs. Importantly, the additional money from ‘forced’ subscription of SS Select HD will cover up for the relative loss in viewers who won’t subscribe to it. This is in my view is a short-sighted approach to maximize revenue. A little bit like killing the golden goose that will lay the eggs.

Opportunity

Every situation is an opportunity. If Sony can get its act together it can really popularize the La Liga and Serie A. But the leagues need to take advantage of this situation. That India is the next frontier for football or sports in general is well known. Even if a fraction of India starts following a league or a sport it will break records in viewership. The popularity of Kabbadi League and Indian Soccer League is enough evidence that there is appetite for good sporting content (Star has been a big promoter of both these leagues!).

The other option is if Youtube, Facebook or Twitter can get exclusive rights of sports. NBA already has a deal with Twitter. Imagine if one could watch the EPL on Facebook or Youtube for free. All I need to pay for is the data. The reach will be massive – definitely more than the 7 Million HD homes Mr.Kukreja spoke about.


The author is the creator of this platform

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

Tell Us What’s Wrong With Us – InsideIIM

Hello Guys,

Do you find InsideIIM Ads intrusive? Is the mailer frequency ok or is it too much? Have you stopped liking our content? What are the things you hate about us? Tell us!

We are soon going to be launching a revamped version of the site both on Desktop and Mobile. Our regular users would know that we have done a revamp once every year. It will be absolutely stupid to not get inputs from the core people who make our platform what it is today. Please do spare 2 mins of your time and tell us what we can do better. Our team wants to hear more from you.

 

 

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author

Why Online Food Ordering Doesn’t Work For Me. Yet.

Today is just one of those days. An empty stomach leads to an angry mind. An angry mind is a big impediment in staying rational. So, I write this after ensuring I’ve eaten well!

A world with online food ordering is an infinitely better world than without it. There is no doubt about that. However, I don’t see myself using it as often in India with the current state of affairs.

Things I like about online food ordering :

1) Discovery of new restaurants – The single biggest plus for me. In the last 6 months, I have ordered from places I have never physically been to or seen.

2) Convenience – There are live sporting events or times when you are watching a great movie at home when you just don’t feel like getting out of the house. Online food ordering is a great help. For those who live alone or without a family – this has opened up an ocean of choice which just wasn’t available earlier.

3) Avoids human interaction – In theory, when everything works well this is a big plus. Speaking on the phone to ill trained staff across restaurants has always been a big irritation. However, this plus is applicable only when things work well. As you will discover soon, things don’t always work well.

(I am sure there are other reasons that make you order food online. Feel free to add in the comments section below.)

Let’s talk about today. Certain circumstances developed at home which meant that I had to order food from outside or eat out.

Lunch : I am in office. I placed an order on Zomato at 12: 54 pm. I was told I will get my order latest by 1.40 pm. I ordered from a restaurant which is about 1 km from my office. I did this to ensure that food will arrive on time. Food never arrives. I chat with Zomato using their chat function. I have to get out of office latest by 1.50 pm so that I reach for an event at 2.30 pm. So I leave and I ask Zomato to cancel the order. Food arrives at 1.54 pm. I am not in office to collect it. What is irritating is that I am part of a panel discussion which goes on till 4.30 pm. There is a networking event immediately after that. So basically I am supposed to skip lunch now. This background is important so that you get an idea of how a user would normally order. Could I have ordered earlier? Maybe. Could I have made a backup plan? Maybe. But on a working day, you don’t expect someone to worry about food delivery and the various things that could go wrong with it!

What makes the situation worse is a call from the restaurant complaining – why I haven’t accepted the order! Irritation now reaches a whole new level. I crib a little on Twitter and get back to work – on an empty stomach. :-/

Dinner : Surely, things won’t be so bad this time round. Lightning doesn’t strike twice and all that. I tried to use Hola Chef this time. I place an order at 7.50 pm for something that will be delivered to me between 8.30 and 9.30 pm. I know that technically, Hola Chef can send a person at 9.25 pm ( a good 1.5 hours later!) with the food but I was willing to allow for that possibility because I had little choice and I was too tired to go out of the house. The order is accepted. Suddenly at 8.30 pm I get a call that one of the items is not available. Again, I am on an empty stomach and this leads to extreme irritation again. It shouldn’t take you 40 mins to figure out that an item is missing. They ask me to select another item. Tired of having to go through the whole process again, I asked them to just cancel the order. If the person hadn’t left yet there was no way he was reaching soon. Plus, I still had to modify my order.

I crib on twitter a little bit again. I make alternate food arrangements at home.

To be fair to the food ordering apps, this doesn’t happen all the time. I have ordered previously from Zomato, Tinyowl and Holachef and they’ve all done an okay job. However, there are two issues :

1) Actual delivery times vary a lot from expected times mentioned in the app. Hence, it works in very specific settings only.

2) There is no sense of reliability with any of them. You are always anxious. Hunger makes you a little irrational.

So what about my hunger problem?

In my experience over the last decade, there is only one true hunger helpline – Dominos (apart from tried and tested local restaurants whom you call directly). It is absolutely incredible how they manage to always deliver on time and error-free within 30 minutes. The phone ordering used to be irritating but with online/app ordering that issue has also been resolved. Dominos is expensive. But Dominos is reliable. If I am hungry and want to order home, I rely on Dominos. It’s unique because it not only makes good food but it is also the best and most reliable delivery guy in the eco-system.

( I have had the worst experiences with Faaso’s over the last 3-4 years in Mumbai. I used to like Faaso’s rolls. They were also priced reasonably. But they just couldn’t deliver at home without issues. Dominos used to bail me out during all those times.)

Hence, the big issue is that none of the food ordering companies solve my hunger problem.

Hola chef wants me to order 1.5 to 2 hrs in advance. I don’t know of too many people who plan so well in advance about their food. Sure, there could be folks who order early at 9 am in office for food to be delivered in a particular slot but someone like me wouldn’t even remember I need to eat until I’m really hungry. Zomato deliveries almost never match the expected times on their app. It is okay when I am with friends having conversations and I lose track of time. But when I am alone or if I am at work if food isn’t delivered on time it just doesn’t make sense to order food online. A hungry stomach causes stress and irritation.

For me to use food ordering apps regularly the following 2 things need to change :

1) Wait times – People order food when they are hungry. If you can’t deliver on time, you add no value. Reduce wait times and you have my loyalty. Dominos has done it consistently. Figure out how they did it. Or create your own unique way which works.

2) Reliability – Unless you establish credibility in my mind that you will deliver without errors, without multiple phone calls to me, I will always be hesitant. I can’t rely on you. I will not use you enough.

I will still use food ordering apps for parties and get togethers when I am planning in advance. I will take all your phone calls and talk to you as I may have enough leisure time.

But I don’t trust you with my hunger. Yet.

Am I being too demanding? Possibly. I travel to Europe often. I have regularly used Deliveroo and Thuisbezorgd in Amsterdam. There was a delivery charge between 2 to 5 Euros for each delivery. However, the experience was hassle free, consistent and delivery was always before time. The person delivering would always be in uniform and majority of them would be on cycles! The packaging would ensure that irrespective of heavy rains or the occasional snow, the food was delivered hot.

Maybe I expect the same level of performance from online food ordering companies here in India. It is of course not an entirely reasonable expectation. Infrastructure is poor. There is a traffic and congestion issue in almost every big city of India. There is lack of skilled manpower. I do admire start-ups who are trying to fix online delivery despite the afore mentioned issues. As an entrepreneur myself, I acknowledge that it is easy to do analysis from the outside. However, despite my sympathy for them I don’t think I see myself ordering often enough. The core issue is not being resolved yet. Not for me.

To end this, I just want to share a few numbers about Dominos in India. This company astonishes me despite the recent fall in the stock price and a the recent results. The 5 year numbers back the anecdotal evidence of excellence. In 2011, Jubilant Foodworks (the company which owns this franchise in India) did about INR 6 Bn in revenue and was selling 3.7 Crore Pizzas annually –  1 Lakh pizzas a day. In 2016, as per the latest report, their revenue is at approx INR 25 Bn a four fold jump in 5 years. There are new categories – Dunkin Donuts which also form part of the revenue but it is safe to assume Dominos still dominates the sales numbers. About 50% of Dominos’ sales are now through delivery. 40% of those orders are online. In FY 2015, Dominos was selling approximately 12 crore Pizzas. For context, that’s 2 times the number of burgers McDonald’s sells in India. All of this at a healthy profit margin – approx INR 25 Bn in 2016.

Zomato ( a private company) recently released some data about their online ordering service. They claim to process 750,000 orders a month. Interesting data points and a compelling story. The best I see Zomato doing as average commission per order is about INR 50 to INR 60(this is essentially their top line). Unless there are massive volumes it’s tough to see how a lot of money can be made in this business. The one thing that the Dominos’ numbers do is make an even stronger case for Zomato’s assertion that delivery business will grow. After all Pizza is just one category in the QSR space. It will take the likes of Zomato a few years just catching up with Dominos’ daily numbers. So there is room for massive growth. However, as an entrepreneur I’d say that it is far better to be in the business of making the food rather than being in the business of delivering it or getting it delivered.

(Update! – 22:26 pm – 10th June 2016 – The final word in this saga wasn’t spoken it seems. A lot of friends and readers suggested I try Swiggy. I downloaded the app and ordered lunch. It got delivered within 39 mins. Fancy looking Uber style live map tracker. Quite happy. However, for dinner I got a wrong item delivered to me. I understand it is not necessarily Swiggy’s fault but it still points to issues with online ordering. Within 48 hours I have experienced a lot about what can go wrong with online food ordering.)

ankit_snowystgallen

The author is the Creator of InsideIIM.com and Konversations.com

 

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

Today is just one of those days. An empty stomach leads to an angry mind. An angry mind is a big impediment in staying rational. So, I write this after ensuring I’ve eaten well!

A world with online food ordering is an infinitely better world than without it. There is no doubt about that. However, I don’t see myself using it as often in India with the current state of affairs.

Things I like about online food ordering :

1) Discovery of new restaurants – The single biggest plus for me. In the last 6 months, I have ordered from places I have never physically been to or seen.

2) Convenience – There are live sporting events or times when you are watching a great movie at home when you just don’t feel like getting out of the house. Online food ordering is a great help. For those who live alone or without a family – this has opened up an ocean of choice which just wasn’t available earlier.

3) Avoids human interaction – In theory, when everything works well this is a big plus. Speaking on the phone to ill trained staff across restaurants has always been a big irritation. However, this plus is applicable only when things work well. As you will discover soon, things don’t always work well.

(I am sure there are other reasons that make you order food online. Feel free to add in the comments section below.)

Let’s talk about today. Certain circumstances developed at home which meant that I had to order food from outside or eat out.

Lunch : I am in office. I placed an order on Zomato at 12: 54 pm. I was told I will get my order latest by 1.40 pm. I ordered from a restaurant which is about 1 km from my office. I did this to ensure that food will arrive on time. Food never arrives. I chat with Zomato using their chat function. I have to get out of office latest by 1.50 pm so that I reach for an event at 2.30 pm. So I leave and I ask Zomato to cancel the order. Food arrives at 1.54 pm. I am not in office to collect it. What is irritating is that I am part of a panel discussion which goes on till 4.30 pm. There is a networking event immediately after that. So basically I am supposed to skip lunch now. This background is important so that you get an idea of how a user would normally order. Could I have ordered earlier? Maybe. Could I have made a backup plan? Maybe. But on a working day, you don’t expect someone to worry about food delivery and the various things that could go wrong with it!

What makes the situation worse is a call from the restaurant complaining – why I haven’t accepted the order! Irritation now reaches a whole new level. I crib a little on Twitter and get back to work – on an empty stomach. :-/

Dinner : Surely, things won’t be so bad this time round. Lightning doesn’t strike twice and all that. I tried to use Hola Chef this time. I place an order at 7.50 pm for something that will be delivered to me between 8.30 and 9.30 pm. I know that technically, Hola Chef can send a person at 9.25 pm ( a good 1.5 hours later!) with the food but I was willing to allow for that possibility because I had little choice and I was too tired to go out of the house. The order is accepted. Suddenly at 8.30 pm I get a call that one of the items is not available. Again, I am on an empty stomach and this leads to extreme irritation again. It shouldn’t take you 40 mins to figure out that an item is missing. They ask me to select another item. Tired of having to go through the whole process again, I asked them to just cancel the order. If the person hadn’t left yet there was no way he was reaching soon. Plus, I still had to modify my order.

I crib on twitter a little bit again. I make alternate food arrangements at home.

To be fair to the food ordering apps, this doesn’t happen all the time. I have ordered previously from Zomato, Tinyowl and Holachef and they’ve all done an okay job. However, there are two issues :

1) Actual delivery times vary a lot from expected times mentioned in the app. Hence, it works in very specific settings only.

2) There is no sense of reliability with any of them. You are always anxious. Hunger makes you a little irrational.

So what about my hunger problem?

In my experience over the last decade, there is only one true hunger helpline – Dominos (apart from tried and tested local restaurants whom you call directly). It is absolutely incredible how they manage to always deliver on time and error-free within 30 minutes. The phone ordering used to be irritating but with online/app ordering that issue has also been resolved. Dominos is expensive. But Dominos is reliable. If I am hungry and want to order home, I rely on Dominos. It’s unique because it not only makes good food but it is also the best and most reliable delivery guy in the eco-system.

( I have had the worst experiences with Faaso’s over the last 3-4 years in Mumbai. I used to like Faaso’s rolls. They were also priced reasonably. But they just couldn’t deliver at home without issues. Dominos used to bail me out during all those times.)

Hence, the big issue is that none of the food ordering companies solve my hunger problem.

Hola chef wants me to order 1.5 to 2 hrs in advance. I don’t know of too many people who plan so well in advance about their food. Sure, there could be folks who order early at 9 am in office for food to be delivered in a particular slot but someone like me wouldn’t even remember I need to eat until I’m really hungry. Zomato deliveries almost never match the expected times on their app. It is okay when I am with friends having conversations and I lose track of time. But when I am alone or if I am at work if food isn’t delivered on time it just doesn’t make sense to order food online. A hungry stomach causes stress and irritation.

For me to use food ordering apps regularly the following 2 things need to change :

1) Wait times – People order food when they are hungry. If you can’t deliver on time, you add no value. Reduce wait times and you have my loyalty. Dominos has done it consistently. Figure out how they did it. Or create your own unique way which works.

2) Reliability – Unless you establish credibility in my mind that you will deliver without errors, without multiple phone calls to me, I will always be hesitant. I can’t rely on you. I will not use you enough.

I will still use food ordering apps for parties and get togethers when I am planning in advance. I will take all your phone calls and talk to you as I may have enough leisure time.

But I don’t trust you with my hunger. Yet.

Am I being too demanding? Possibly. I travel to Europe often. I have regularly used Deliveroo and Thuisbezorgd in Amsterdam. There was a delivery charge between 2 to 5 Euros for each delivery. However, the experience was hassle free, consistent and delivery was always before time. The person delivering would always be in uniform and majority of them would be on cycles! The packaging would ensure that irrespective of heavy rains or the occasional snow, the food was delivered hot.

Maybe I expect the same level of performance from online food ordering companies here in India. It is of course not an entirely reasonable expectation. Infrastructure is poor. There is a traffic and congestion issue in almost every big city of India. There is lack of skilled manpower. I do admire start-ups who are trying to fix online delivery despite the afore mentioned issues. As an entrepreneur myself, I acknowledge that it is easy to do analysis from the outside. However, despite my sympathy for them I don’t think I see myself ordering often enough. The core issue is not being resolved yet. Not for me.

To end this, I just want to share a few numbers about Dominos in India. This company astonishes me despite the recent fall in the stock price and a the recent results. The 5 year numbers back the anecdotal evidence of excellence. In 2011, Jubilant Foodworks (the company which owns this franchise in India) did about INR 6 Bn in revenue and was selling 3.7 Crore Pizzas annually –  1 Lakh pizzas a day. In 2016, as per the latest report, their revenue is at approx INR 25 Bn a four fold jump in 5 years. There are new categories – Dunkin Donuts which also form part of the revenue but it is safe to assume Dominos still dominates the sales numbers. About 50% of Dominos’ sales are now through delivery. 40% of those orders are online. In FY 2015, Dominos was selling approximately 12 crore Pizzas. For context, that’s 2 times the number of burgers McDonald’s sells in India. All of this at a healthy profit margin – approx INR 25 Bn in 2016.

Zomato ( a private company) recently released some data about their online ordering service. They claim to process 750,000 orders a month. Interesting data points and a compelling story. The best I see Zomato doing as average commission per order is about INR 50 to INR 60(this is essentially their top line). Unless there are massive volumes it’s tough to see how a lot of money can be made in this business. The one thing that the Dominos’ numbers do is make an even stronger case for Zomato’s assertion that delivery business will grow. After all Pizza is just one category in the QSR space. It will take the likes of Zomato a few years just catching up with Dominos’ daily numbers. So there is room for massive growth. However, as an entrepreneur I’d say that it is far better to be in the business of making the food rather than being in the business of delivering it or getting it delivered.

(Update! – 22:26 pm – 10th June 2016 – The final word in this saga wasn’t spoken it seems. A lot of friends and readers suggested I try Swiggy. I downloaded the app and ordered lunch. It got delivered within 39 mins. Fancy looking Uber style live map tracker. Quite happy. However, for dinner I got a wrong item delivered to me. I understand it is not necessarily Swiggy’s fault but it still points to issues with online ordering. Within 48 hours I have experienced a lot about what can go wrong with online food ordering.)

ankit_snowystgallen

The author is the Creator of InsideIIM.com and Konversations.com

 

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

Today is just one of those days. An empty stomach leads to an angry mind. An angry mind is a big impediment in staying rational. So, I write this after ensuring I’ve eaten well!

A world with online food ordering is an infinitely better world than without it. There is no doubt about that. However, I don’t see myself using it as often in India with the current state of affairs.

Things I like about online food ordering :

1) Discovery of new restaurants – The single biggest plus for me. In the last 6 months, I have ordered from places I have never physically been to or seen.

2) Convenience – There are live sporting events or times when you are watching a great movie at home when you just don’t feel like getting out of the house. Online food ordering is a great help. For those who live alone or without a family – this has opened up an ocean of choice which just wasn’t available earlier.

3) Avoids human interaction – In theory, when everything works well this is a big plus. Speaking on the phone to ill trained staff across restaurants has always been a big irritation. However, this plus is applicable only when things work well. As you will discover soon, things don’t always work well.

(I am sure there are other reasons that make you order food online. Feel free to add in the comments section below.)

Let’s talk about today. Certain circumstances developed at home which meant that I had to order food from outside or eat out.

Lunch : I am in office. I placed an order on Zomato at 12: 54 pm. I was told I will get my order latest by 1.40 pm. I ordered from a restaurant which is about 1 km from my office. I did this to ensure that food will arrive on time. Food never arrives. I chat with Zomato using their chat function. I have to get out of office latest by 1.50 pm so that I reach for an event at 2.30 pm. So I leave and I ask Zomato to cancel the order. Food arrives at 1.54 pm. I am not in office to collect it. What is irritating is that I am part of a panel discussion which goes on till 4.30 pm. There is a networking event immediately after that. So basically I am supposed to skip lunch now. This background is important so that you get an idea of how a user would normally order. Could I have ordered earlier? Maybe. Could I have made a backup plan? Maybe. But on a working day, you don’t expect someone to worry about food delivery and the various things that could go wrong with it!

What makes the situation worse is a call from the restaurant complaining – why I haven’t accepted the order! Irritation now reaches a whole new level. I crib a little on Twitter and get back to work – on an empty stomach. :-/

Dinner : Surely, things won’t be so bad this time round. Lightning doesn’t strike twice and all that. I tried to use Hola Chef this time. I place an order at 7.50 pm for something that will be delivered to me between 8.30 and 9.30 pm. I know that technically, Hola Chef can send a person at 9.25 pm ( a good 1.5 hours later!) with the food but I was willing to allow for that possibility because I had little choice and I was too tired to go out of the house. The order is accepted. Suddenly at 8.30 pm I get a call that one of the items is not available. Again, I am on an empty stomach and this leads to extreme irritation again. It shouldn’t take you 40 mins to figure out that an item is missing. They ask me to select another item. Tired of having to go through the whole process again, I asked them to just cancel the order. If the person hadn’t left yet there was no way he was reaching soon. Plus, I still had to modify my order.

I crib on twitter a little bit again. I make alternate food arrangements at home.

To be fair to the food ordering apps, this doesn’t happen all the time. I have ordered previously from Zomato, Tinyowl and Holachef and they’ve all done an okay job. However, there are two issues :

1) Actual delivery times vary a lot from expected times mentioned in the app. Hence, it works in very specific settings only.

2) There is no sense of reliability with any of them. You are always anxious. Hunger makes you a little irrational.

So what about my hunger problem?

In my experience over the last decade, there is only one true hunger helpline – Dominos (apart from tried and tested local restaurants whom you call directly). It is absolutely incredible how they manage to always deliver on time and error-free within 30 minutes. The phone ordering used to be irritating but with online/app ordering that issue has also been resolved. Dominos is expensive. But Dominos is reliable. If I am hungry and want to order home, I rely on Dominos. It’s unique because it not only makes good food but it is also the best and most reliable delivery guy in the eco-system.

( I have had the worst experiences with Faaso’s over the last 3-4 years in Mumbai. I used to like Faaso’s rolls. They were also priced reasonably. But they just couldn’t deliver at home without issues. Dominos used to bail me out during all those times.)

Hence, the big issue is that none of the food ordering companies solve my hunger problem.

Hola chef wants me to order 1.5 to 2 hrs in advance. I don’t know of too many people who plan so well in advance about their food. Sure, there could be folks who order early at 9 am in office for food to be delivered in a particular slot but someone like me wouldn’t even remember I need to eat until I’m really hungry. Zomato deliveries almost never match the expected times on their app. It is okay when I am with friends having conversations and I lose track of time. But when I am alone or if I am at work if food isn’t delivered on time it just doesn’t make sense to order food online. A hungry stomach causes stress and irritation.

For me to use food ordering apps regularly the following 2 things need to change :

1) Wait times – People order food when they are hungry. If you can’t deliver on time, you add no value. Reduce wait times and you have my loyalty. Dominos has done it consistently. Figure out how they did it. Or create your own unique way which works.

2) Reliability – Unless you establish credibility in my mind that you will deliver without errors, without multiple phone calls to me, I will always be hesitant. I can’t rely on you. I will not use you enough.

I will still use food ordering apps for parties and get togethers when I am planning in advance. I will take all your phone calls and talk to you as I may have enough leisure time.

But I don’t trust you with my hunger. Yet.

Am I being too demanding? Possibly. I travel to Europe often. I have regularly used Deliveroo and Thuisbezorgd in Amsterdam. There was a delivery charge between 2 to 5 Euros for each delivery. However, the experience was hassle free, consistent and delivery was always before time. The person delivering would always be in uniform and majority of them would be on cycles! The packaging would ensure that irrespective of heavy rains or the occasional snow, the food was delivered hot.

Maybe I expect the same level of performance from online food ordering companies here in India. It is of course not an entirely reasonable expectation. Infrastructure is poor. There is a traffic and congestion issue in almost every big city of India. There is lack of skilled manpower. I do admire start-ups who are trying to fix online delivery despite the afore mentioned issues. As an entrepreneur myself, I acknowledge that it is easy to do analysis from the outside. However, despite my sympathy for them I don’t think I see myself ordering often enough. The core issue is not being resolved yet. Not for me.

To end this, I just want to share a few numbers about Dominos in India. This company astonishes me despite the recent fall in the stock price and a the recent results. The 5 year numbers back the anecdotal evidence of excellence. In 2011, Jubilant Foodworks (the company which owns this franchise in India) did about INR 6 Bn in revenue and was selling 3.7 Crore Pizzas annually –  1 Lakh pizzas a day. In 2016, as per the latest report, their revenue is at approx INR 25 Bn a four fold jump in 5 years. There are new categories – Dunkin Donuts which also form part of the revenue but it is safe to assume Dominos still dominates the sales numbers. About 50% of Dominos’ sales are now through delivery. 40% of those orders are online. In FY 2015, Dominos was selling approximately 12 crore Pizzas. For context, that’s 2 times the number of burgers McDonald’s sells in India. All of this at a healthy profit margin – approx INR 25 Bn in 2016.

Zomato ( a private company) recently released some data about their online ordering service. They claim to process 750,000 orders a month. Interesting data points and a compelling story. The best I see Zomato doing as average commission per order is about INR 50 to INR 60(this is essentially their top line). Unless there are massive volumes it’s tough to see how a lot of money can be made in this business. The one thing that the Dominos’ numbers do is make an even stronger case for Zomato’s assertion that delivery business will grow. After all Pizza is just one category in the QSR space. It will take the likes of Zomato a few years just catching up with Dominos’ daily numbers. So there is room for massive growth. However, as an entrepreneur I’d say that it is far better to be in the business of making the food rather than being in the business of delivering it or getting it delivered.

(Update! – 22:26 pm – 10th June 2016 – The final word in this saga wasn’t spoken it seems. A lot of friends and readers suggested I try Swiggy. I downloaded the app and ordered lunch. It got delivered within 39 mins. Fancy looking Uber style live map tracker. Quite happy. However, for dinner I got a wrong item delivered to me. I understand it is not necessarily Swiggy’s fault but it still points to issues with online ordering. Within 48 hours I have experienced a lot about what can go wrong with online food ordering.)

ankit_snowystgallen

The author is the Creator of InsideIIM.com and Konversations.com

 

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

Today is just one of those days. An empty stomach leads to an angry mind. An angry mind is a big impediment in staying rational. So, I write this after ensuring I’ve eaten well!

A world with online food ordering is an infinitely better world than without it. There is no doubt about that. However, I don’t see myself using it as often in India with the current state of affairs.

Things I like about online food ordering :

1) Discovery of new restaurants – The single biggest plus for me. In the last 6 months, I have ordered from places I have never physically been to or seen.

2) Convenience – There are live sporting events or times when you are watching a great movie at home when you just don’t feel like getting out of the house. Online food ordering is a great help. For those who live alone or without a family – this has opened up an ocean of choice which just wasn’t available earlier.

3) Avoids human interaction – In theory, when everything works well this is a big plus. Speaking on the phone to ill trained staff across restaurants has always been a big irritation. However, this plus is applicable only when things work well. As you will discover soon, things don’t always work well.

(I am sure there are other reasons that make you order food online. Feel free to add in the comments section below.)

Let’s talk about today. Certain circumstances developed at home which meant that I had to order food from outside or eat out.

Lunch : I am in office. I placed an order on Zomato at 12: 54 pm. I was told I will get my order latest by 1.40 pm. I ordered from a restaurant which is about 1 km from my office. I did this to ensure that food will arrive on time. Food never arrives. I chat with Zomato using their chat function. I have to get out of office latest by 1.50 pm so that I reach for an event at 2.30 pm. So I leave and I ask Zomato to cancel the order. Food arrives at 1.54 pm. I am not in office to collect it. What is irritating is that I am part of a panel discussion which goes on till 4.30 pm. There is a networking event immediately after that. So basically I am supposed to skip lunch now. This background is important so that you get an idea of how a user would normally order. Could I have ordered earlier? Maybe. Could I have made a backup plan? Maybe. But on a working day, you don’t expect someone to worry about food delivery and the various things that could go wrong with it!

What makes the situation worse is a call from the restaurant complaining – why I haven’t accepted the order! Irritation now reaches a whole new level. I crib a little on Twitter and get back to work – on an empty stomach. :-/

Dinner : Surely, things won’t be so bad this time round. Lightning doesn’t strike twice and all that. I tried to use Hola Chef this time. I place an order at 7.50 pm for something that will be delivered to me between 8.30 and 9.30 pm. I know that technically, Hola Chef can send a person at 9.25 pm ( a good 1.5 hours later!) with the food but I was willing to allow for that possibility because I had little choice and I was too tired to go out of the house. The order is accepted. Suddenly at 8.30 pm I get a call that one of the items is not available. Again, I am on an empty stomach and this leads to extreme irritation again. It shouldn’t take you 40 mins to figure out that an item is missing. They ask me to select another item. Tired of having to go through the whole process again, I asked them to just cancel the order. If the person hadn’t left yet there was no way he was reaching soon. Plus, I still had to modify my order.

I crib on twitter a little bit again. I make alternate food arrangements at home.

To be fair to the food ordering apps, this doesn’t happen all the time. I have ordered previously from Zomato, Tinyowl and Holachef and they’ve all done an okay job. However, there are two issues :

1) Actual delivery times vary a lot from expected times mentioned in the app. Hence, it works in very specific settings only.

2) There is no sense of reliability with any of them. You are always anxious. Hunger makes you a little irrational.

So what about my hunger problem?

In my experience over the last decade, there is only one true hunger helpline – Dominos (apart from tried and tested local restaurants whom you call directly). It is absolutely incredible how they manage to always deliver on time and error-free within 30 minutes. The phone ordering used to be irritating but with online/app ordering that issue has also been resolved. Dominos is expensive. But Dominos is reliable. If I am hungry and want to order home, I rely on Dominos. It’s unique because it not only makes good food but it is also the best and most reliable delivery guy in the eco-system.

( I have had the worst experiences with Faaso’s over the last 3-4 years in Mumbai. I used to like Faaso’s rolls. They were also priced reasonably. But they just couldn’t deliver at home without issues. Dominos used to bail me out during all those times.)

Hence, the big issue is that none of the food ordering companies solve my hunger problem.

Hola chef wants me to order 1.5 to 2 hrs in advance. I don’t know of too many people who plan so well in advance about their food. Sure, there could be folks who order early at 9 am in office for food to be delivered in a particular slot but someone like me wouldn’t even remember I need to eat until I’m really hungry. Zomato deliveries almost never match the expected times on their app. It is okay when I am with friends having conversations and I lose track of time. But when I am alone or if I am at work if food isn’t delivered on time it just doesn’t make sense to order food online. A hungry stomach causes stress and irritation.

For me to use food ordering apps regularly the following 2 things need to change :

1) Wait times – People order food when they are hungry. If you can’t deliver on time, you add no value. Reduce wait times and you have my loyalty. Dominos has done it consistently. Figure out how they did it. Or create your own unique way which works.

2) Reliability – Unless you establish credibility in my mind that you will deliver without errors, without multiple phone calls to me, I will always be hesitant. I can’t rely on you. I will not use you enough.

I will still use food ordering apps for parties and get togethers when I am planning in advance. I will take all your phone calls and talk to you as I may have enough leisure time.

But I don’t trust you with my hunger. Yet.

Am I being too demanding? Possibly. I travel to Europe often. I have regularly used Deliveroo and Thuisbezorgd in Amsterdam. There was a delivery charge between 2 to 5 Euros for each delivery. However, the experience was hassle free, consistent and delivery was always before time. The person delivering would always be in uniform and majority of them would be on cycles! The packaging would ensure that irrespective of heavy rains or the occasional snow, the food was delivered hot.

Maybe I expect the same level of performance from online food ordering companies here in India. It is of course not an entirely reasonable expectation. Infrastructure is poor. There is a traffic and congestion issue in almost every big city of India. There is lack of skilled manpower. I do admire start-ups who are trying to fix online delivery despite the afore mentioned issues. As an entrepreneur myself, I acknowledge that it is easy to do analysis from the outside. However, despite my sympathy for them I don’t think I see myself ordering often enough. The core issue is not being resolved yet. Not for me.

To end this, I just want to share a few numbers about Dominos in India. This company astonishes me despite the recent fall in the stock price and a the recent results. The 5 year numbers back the anecdotal evidence of excellence. In 2011, Jubilant Foodworks (the company which owns this franchise in India) did about INR 6 Bn in revenue and was selling 3.7 Crore Pizzas annually –  1 Lakh pizzas a day. In 2016, as per the latest report, their revenue is at approx INR 25 Bn a four fold jump in 5 years. There are new categories – Dunkin Donuts which also form part of the revenue but it is safe to assume Dominos still dominates the sales numbers. About 50% of Dominos’ sales are now through delivery. 40% of those orders are online. In FY 2015, Dominos was selling approximately 12 crore Pizzas. For context, that’s 2 times the number of burgers McDonald’s sells in India. All of this at a healthy profit margin – approx INR 25 Bn in 2016.

Zomato ( a private company) recently released some data about their online ordering service. They claim to process 750,000 orders a month. Interesting data points and a compelling story. The best I see Zomato doing as average commission per order is about INR 50 to INR 60(this is essentially their top line). Unless there are massive volumes it’s tough to see how a lot of money can be made in this business. The one thing that the Dominos’ numbers do is make an even stronger case for Zomato’s assertion that delivery business will grow. After all Pizza is just one category in the QSR space. It will take the likes of Zomato a few years just catching up with Dominos’ daily numbers. So there is room for massive growth. However, as an entrepreneur I’d say that it is far better to be in the business of making the food rather than being in the business of delivering it or getting it delivered.

(Update! – 22:26 pm – 10th June 2016 – The final word in this saga wasn’t spoken it seems. A lot of friends and readers suggested I try Swiggy. I downloaded the app and ordered lunch. It got delivered within 39 mins. Fancy looking Uber style live map tracker. Quite happy. However, for dinner I got a wrong item delivered to me. I understand it is not necessarily Swiggy’s fault but it still points to issues with online ordering. Within 48 hours I have experienced a lot about what can go wrong with online food ordering.)

ankit_snowystgallen

The author is the Creator of InsideIIM.com and Konversations.com

 

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

Today is just one of those days. An empty stomach leads to an angry mind. An angry mind is a big impediment in staying rational. So, I write this after ensuring I’ve eaten well!

A world with online food ordering is an infinitely better world than without it. There is no doubt about that. However, I don’t see myself using it as often in India with the current state of affairs.

Things I like about online food ordering :

1) Discovery of new restaurants – The single biggest plus for me. In the last 6 months, I have ordered from places I have never physically been to or seen.

2) Convenience – There are live sporting events or times when you are watching a great movie at home when you just don’t feel like getting out of the house. Online food ordering is a great help. For those who live alone or without a family – this has opened up an ocean of choice which just wasn’t available earlier.

3) Avoids human interaction – In theory, when everything works well this is a big plus. Speaking on the phone to ill trained staff across restaurants has always been a big irritation. However, this plus is applicable only when things work well. As you will discover soon, things don’t always work well.

(I am sure there are other reasons that make you order food online. Feel free to add in the comments section below.)

Let’s talk about today. Certain circumstances developed at home which meant that I had to order food from outside or eat out.

Lunch : I am in office. I placed an order on Zomato at 12: 54 pm. I was told I will get my order latest by 1.40 pm. I ordered from a restaurant which is about 1 km from my office. I did this to ensure that food will arrive on time. Food never arrives. I chat with Zomato using their chat function. I have to get out of office latest by 1.50 pm so that I reach for an event at 2.30 pm. So I leave and I ask Zomato to cancel the order. Food arrives at 1.54 pm. I am not in office to collect it. What is irritating is that I am part of a panel discussion which goes on till 4.30 pm. There is a networking event immediately after that. So basically I am supposed to skip lunch now. This background is important so that you get an idea of how a user would normally order. Could I have ordered earlier? Maybe. Could I have made a backup plan? Maybe. But on a working day, you don’t expect someone to worry about food delivery and the various things that could go wrong with it!

What makes the situation worse is a call from the restaurant complaining – why I haven’t accepted the order! Irritation now reaches a whole new level. I crib a little on Twitter and get back to work – on an empty stomach. :-/

Dinner : Surely, things won’t be so bad this time round. Lightning doesn’t strike twice and all that. I tried to use Hola Chef this time. I place an order at 7.50 pm for something that will be delivered to me between 8.30 and 9.30 pm. I know that technically, Hola Chef can send a person at 9.25 pm ( a good 1.5 hours later!) with the food but I was willing to allow for that possibility because I had little choice and I was too tired to go out of the house. The order is accepted. Suddenly at 8.30 pm I get a call that one of the items is not available. Again, I am on an empty stomach and this leads to extreme irritation again. It shouldn’t take you 40 mins to figure out that an item is missing. They ask me to select another item. Tired of having to go through the whole process again, I asked them to just cancel the order. If the person hadn’t left yet there was no way he was reaching soon. Plus, I still had to modify my order.

I crib on twitter a little bit again. I make alternate food arrangements at home.

To be fair to the food ordering apps, this doesn’t happen all the time. I have ordered previously from Zomato, Tinyowl and Holachef and they’ve all done an okay job. However, there are two issues :

1) Actual delivery times vary a lot from expected times mentioned in the app. Hence, it works in very specific settings only.

2) There is no sense of reliability with any of them. You are always anxious. Hunger makes you a little irrational.

So what about my hunger problem?

In my experience over the last decade, there is only one true hunger helpline – Dominos (apart from tried and tested local restaurants whom you call directly). It is absolutely incredible how they manage to always deliver on time and error-free within 30 minutes. The phone ordering used to be irritating but with online/app ordering that issue has also been resolved. Dominos is expensive. But Dominos is reliable. If I am hungry and want to order home, I rely on Dominos. It’s unique because it not only makes good food but it is also the best and most reliable delivery guy in the eco-system.

( I have had the worst experiences with Faaso’s over the last 3-4 years in Mumbai. I used to like Faaso’s rolls. They were also priced reasonably. But they just couldn’t deliver at home without issues. Dominos used to bail me out during all those times.)

Hence, the big issue is that none of the food ordering companies solve my hunger problem.

Hola chef wants me to order 1.5 to 2 hrs in advance. I don’t know of too many people who plan so well in advance about their food. Sure, there could be folks who order early at 9 am in office for food to be delivered in a particular slot but someone like me wouldn’t even remember I need to eat until I’m really hungry. Zomato deliveries almost never match the expected times on their app. It is okay when I am with friends having conversations and I lose track of time. But when I am alone or if I am at work if food isn’t delivered on time it just doesn’t make sense to order food online. A hungry stomach causes stress and irritation.

For me to use food ordering apps regularly the following 2 things need to change :

1) Wait times – People order food when they are hungry. If you can’t deliver on time, you add no value. Reduce wait times and you have my loyalty. Dominos has done it consistently. Figure out how they did it. Or create your own unique way which works.

2) Reliability – Unless you establish credibility in my mind that you will deliver without errors, without multiple phone calls to me, I will always be hesitant. I can’t rely on you. I will not use you enough.

I will still use food ordering apps for parties and get togethers when I am planning in advance. I will take all your phone calls and talk to you as I may have enough leisure time.

But I don’t trust you with my hunger. Yet.

Am I being too demanding? Possibly. I travel to Europe often. I have regularly used Deliveroo and Thuisbezorgd in Amsterdam. There was a delivery charge between 2 to 5 Euros for each delivery. However, the experience was hassle free, consistent and delivery was always before time. The person delivering would always be in uniform and majority of them would be on cycles! The packaging would ensure that irrespective of heavy rains or the occasional snow, the food was delivered hot.

Maybe I expect the same level of performance from online food ordering companies here in India. It is of course not an entirely reasonable expectation. Infrastructure is poor. There is a traffic and congestion issue in almost every big city of India. There is lack of skilled manpower. I do admire start-ups who are trying to fix online delivery despite the afore mentioned issues. As an entrepreneur myself, I acknowledge that it is easy to do analysis from the outside. However, despite my sympathy for them I don’t think I see myself ordering often enough. The core issue is not being resolved yet. Not for me.

To end this, I just want to share a few numbers about Dominos in India. This company astonishes me despite the recent fall in the stock price and a the recent results. The 5 year numbers back the anecdotal evidence of excellence. In 2011, Jubilant Foodworks (the company which owns this franchise in India) did about INR 6 Bn in revenue and was selling 3.7 Crore Pizzas annually –  1 Lakh pizzas a day. In 2016, as per the latest report, their revenue is at approx INR 25 Bn a four fold jump in 5 years. There are new categories – Dunkin Donuts which also form part of the revenue but it is safe to assume Dominos still dominates the sales numbers. About 50% of Dominos’ sales are now through delivery. 40% of those orders are online. In FY 2015, Dominos was selling approximately 12 crore Pizzas. For context, that’s 2 times the number of burgers McDonald’s sells in India. All of this at a healthy profit margin – approx INR 25 Bn in 2016.

Zomato ( a private company) recently released some data about their online ordering service. They claim to process 750,000 orders a month. Interesting data points and a compelling story. The best I see Zomato doing as average commission per order is about INR 50 to INR 60(this is essentially their top line). Unless there are massive volumes it’s tough to see how a lot of money can be made in this business. The one thing that the Dominos’ numbers do is make an even stronger case for Zomato’s assertion that delivery business will grow. After all Pizza is just one category in the QSR space. It will take the likes of Zomato a few years just catching up with Dominos’ daily numbers. So there is room for massive growth. However, as an entrepreneur I’d say that it is far better to be in the business of making the food rather than being in the business of delivering it or getting it delivered.

(Update! – 22:26 pm – 10th June 2016 – The final word in this saga wasn’t spoken it seems. A lot of friends and readers suggested I try Swiggy. I downloaded the app and ordered lunch. It got delivered within 39 mins. Fancy looking Uber style live map tracker. Quite happy. However, for dinner I got a wrong item delivered to me. I understand it is not necessarily Swiggy’s fault but it still points to issues with online ordering. Within 48 hours I have experienced a lot about what can go wrong with online food ordering.)

ankit_snowystgallen

The author is the Creator of InsideIIM.com and Konversations.com

 

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author


Message Author

Today is just one of those days. An empty stomach leads to an angry mind. An angry mind is a big impediment in staying rational. So, I write this after ensuring I’ve eaten well!

A world with online food ordering is an infinitely better world than without it. There is no doubt about that. However, I don’t see myself using it as often in India with the current state of affairs.

Things I like about online food ordering :

1) Discovery of new restaurants – The single biggest plus for me. In the last 6 months, I have ordered from places I have never physically been to or seen.

2) Convenience – There are live sporting events or times when you are watching a great movie at home when you just don’t feel like getting out of the house. Online food ordering is a great help. For those who live alone or without a family – this has opened up an ocean of choice which just wasn’t available earlier.

3) Avoids human interaction – In theory, when everything works well this is a big plus. Speaking on the phone to ill trained staff across restaurants has always been a big irritation. However, this plus is applicable only when things work well. As you will discover soon, things don’t always work well.

(I am sure there are other reasons that make you order food online. Feel free to add in the comments section below.)

Let’s talk about today. Certain circumstances developed at home which meant that I had to order food from outside or eat out.

Lunch : I am in office. I placed an order on Zomato at 12: 54 pm. I was told I will get my order latest by 1.40 pm. I ordered from a restaurant which is about 1 km from my office. I did this to ensure that food will arrive on time. Food never arrives. I chat with Zomato using their chat function. I have to get out of office latest by 1.50 pm so that I reach for an event at 2.30 pm. So I leave and I ask Zomato to cancel the order. Food arrives at 1.54 pm. I am not in office to collect it. What is irritating is that I am part of a panel discussion which goes on till 4.30 pm. There is a networking event immediately after that. So basically I am supposed to skip lunch now. This background is important so that you get an idea of how a user would normally order. Could I have ordered earlier? Maybe. Could I have made a backup plan? Maybe. But on a working day, you don’t expect someone to worry about food delivery and the various things that could go wrong with it!

What makes the situation worse is a call from the restaurant complaining – why I haven’t accepted the order! Irritation now reaches a whole new level. I crib a little on Twitter and get back to work – on an empty stomach. :-/

Dinner : Surely, things won’t be so bad this time round. Lightning doesn’t strike twice and all that. I tried to use Hola Chef this time. I place an order at 7.50 pm for something that will be delivered to me between 8.30 and 9.30 pm. I know that technically, Hola Chef can send a person at 9.25 pm ( a good 1.5 hours later!) with the food but I was willing to allow for that possibility because I had little choice and I was too tired to go out of the house. The order is accepted. Suddenly at 8.30 pm I get a call that one of the items is not available. Again, I am on an empty stomach and this leads to extreme irritation again. It shouldn’t take you 40 mins to figure out that an item is missing. They ask me to select another item. Tired of having to go through the whole process again, I asked them to just cancel the order. If the person hadn’t left yet there was no way he was reaching soon. Plus, I still had to modify my order.

I crib on twitter a little bit again. I make alternate food arrangements at home.

To be fair to the food ordering apps, this doesn’t happen all the time. I have ordered previously from Zomato, Tinyowl and Holachef and they’ve all done an okay job. However, there are two issues :

1) Actual delivery times vary a lot from expected times mentioned in the app. Hence, it works in very specific settings only.

2) There is no sense of reliability with any of them. You are always anxious. Hunger makes you a little irrational.

So what about my hunger problem?

In my experience over the last decade, there is only one true hunger helpline – Dominos (apart from tried and tested local restaurants whom you call directly). It is absolutely incredible how they manage to always deliver on time and error-free within 30 minutes. The phone ordering used to be irritating but with online/app ordering that issue has also been resolved. Dominos is expensive. But Dominos is reliable. If I am hungry and want to order home, I rely on Dominos. It’s unique because it not only makes good food but it is also the best and most reliable delivery guy in the eco-system.

( I have had the worst experiences with Faaso’s over the last 3-4 years in Mumbai. I used to like Faaso’s rolls. They were also priced reasonably. But they just couldn’t deliver at home without issues. Dominos used to bail me out during all those times.)

Hence, the big issue is that none of the food ordering companies solve my hunger problem.

Hola chef wants me to order 1.5 to 2 hrs in advance. I don’t know of too many people who plan so well in advance about their food. Sure, there could be folks who order early at 9 am in office for food to be delivered in a particular slot but someone like me wouldn’t even remember I need to eat until I’m really hungry. Zomato deliveries almost never match the expected times on their app. It is okay when I am with friends having conversations and I lose track of time. But when I am alone or if I am at work if food isn’t delivered on time it just doesn’t make sense to order food online. A hungry stomach causes stress and irritation.

For me to use food ordering apps regularly the following 2 things need to change :

1) Wait times – People order food when they are hungry. If you can’t deliver on time, you add no value. Reduce wait times and you have my loyalty. Dominos has done it consistently. Figure out how they did it. Or create your own unique way which works.

2) Reliability – Unless you establish credibility in my mind that you will deliver without errors, without multiple phone calls to me, I will always be hesitant. I can’t rely on you. I will not use you enough.

I will still use food ordering apps for parties and get togethers when I am planning in advance. I will take all your phone calls and talk to you as I may have enough leisure time.

But I don’t trust you with my hunger. Yet.

Am I being too demanding? Possibly. I travel to Europe often. I have regularly used Deliveroo and Thuisbezorgd in Amsterdam. There was a delivery charge between 2 to 5 Euros for each delivery. However, the experience was hassle free, consistent and delivery was always before time. The person delivering would always be in uniform and majority of them would be on cycles! The packaging would ensure that irrespective of heavy rains or the occasional snow, the food was delivered hot.

Maybe I expect the same level of performance from online food ordering companies here in India. It is of course not an entirely reasonable expectation. Infrastructure is poor. There is a traffic and congestion issue in almost every big city of India. There is lack of skilled manpower. I do admire start-ups who are trying to fix online delivery despite the afore mentioned issues. As an entrepreneur myself, I acknowledge that it is easy to do analysis from the outside. However, despite my sympathy for them I don’t think I see myself ordering often enough. The core issue is not being resolved yet. Not for me.

To end this, I just want to share a few numbers about Dominos in India. This company astonishes me despite the recent fall in the stock price and a the recent results. The 5 year numbers back the anecdotal evidence of excellence. In 2011, Jubilant Foodworks (the company which owns this franchise in India) did about INR 6 Bn in revenue and was selling 3.7 Crore Pizzas annually –  1 Lakh pizzas a day. In 2016, as per the latest report, their revenue is at approx INR 25 Bn a four fold jump in 5 years. There are new categories – Dunkin Donuts which also form part of the revenue but it is safe to assume Dominos still dominates the sales numbers. About 50% of Dominos’ sales are now through delivery. 40% of those orders are online. In FY 2015, Dominos was selling approximately 12 crore Pizzas. For context, that’s 2 times the number of burgers McDonald’s sells in India. All of this at a healthy profit margin – approx INR 25 Bn in 2016.

Zomato ( a private company) recently released some data about their online ordering service. They claim to process 750,000 orders a month. Interesting data points and a compelling story. The best I see Zomato doing as average commission per order is about INR 50 to INR 60(this is essentially their top line). Unless there are massive volumes it’s tough to see how a lot of money can be made in this business. The one thing that the Dominos’ numbers do is make an even stronger case for Zomato’s assertion that delivery business will grow. After all Pizza is just one category in the QSR space. It will take the likes of Zomato a few years just catching up with Dominos’ daily numbers. So there is room for massive growth. However, as an entrepreneur I’d say that it is far better to be in the business of making the food rather than being in the business of delivering it or getting it delivered.

(Update! – 22:26 pm – 10th June 2016 – The final word in this saga wasn’t spoken it seems. A lot of friends and readers suggested I try Swiggy. I downloaded the app and ordered lunch. It got delivered within 39 mins. Fancy looking Uber style live map tracker. Quite happy. However, for dinner I got a wrong item delivered to me. I understand it is not necessarily Swiggy’s fault but it still points to issues with online ordering. Within 48 hours I have experienced a lot about what can go wrong with online food ordering.)

ankit_snowystgallen

The author is the Creator of InsideIIM.com and Konversations.com

 

Profile gravatar of Ankit Doshi

Ankit Doshi

Message Author