IIM Grad? Have an IIM call? Show some humility.

 

I am an IIM alumnus and what I write below applies to me as well.

If you have an interview call from the IIMs, thank god or whatever supreme power you believe in and get on with it. If you believe that just because you are an IIM grad you are superior allow me to burst your bubble.

Perspective

The total population of India is 1.2 Billion (120 Crore). Even if I assume 100,000 unique people took the CAT each year over the last 10 years, that still amounts to 1 Million people. Now that is less than 0.1% of the population in the country. It would be foolish to be proud of doing well in an exam which over 10 years not even 0.1% of this country’s people have attempted!  You have not even competed with 99.99% of the country’s population. So all your jingoism about we are the best brains in the country etc. should be washed away in your kitchen sink. There are millions of children who were born in the same year as you were born but never got to go to school. Many dropped out after Class IV. Many more dropped out after high school. A miniscule of those graduated from college which is the minimum qualification to even take the CAT. Teach for India has a great presentation on this.

(P.S – Three people have written to me saying comparing CAT takers with whole of India is not fair. Compare with age group only. OK. As per UNICEF 26 Million people are born in India each year. I will take people 3 years older and 3 years younger as the sample that can compete with you. That is 182 Million people and not 1.2 Billion. Your percentage jumps to 0.55% of the sample. Happy?)

Let me add another angle to this. Most people who take the CAT are people who have access to the English language in their formative years. Take away English and you won’t be able to understand a single question. Only 20 Million children in India were in English medium schools in the country as of March 2012 according to NUEPA (National University of Educational Planning and Administration). That is 2% of India’s population. This figure in 2003-04 was less than 8 Million (Less than 1% of India’s population then). If we look at the whole country as per 2001 Census, less than 120 Million (12 Crores) people in this country claim to know English. This is people who treat English as their 1st,2nd or 3rd language. Does knowing English make you a better manager? If the CAT were in vernacular languages, most of you would not have even a 80%ile ranking score. The raw talent of millions in the small towns and villages in this country will blow you away. Our preference to English as a mode of business communication has blocked the progress of millions of our countrymen and women.

You are where you are only because you were born in the right family.  The fact that you got the opportunity to go to a school. The fact that you had exposure to the English language. You can’t even claim credit for having chosen this path for yourself. Even Lord Krishna could not choose where his upbringing took place so it is unlikely you were a special child who had figured out career choices as a 3 year old.

Selection Criteria

Call getters are lucky. Plain lucky. What are you so proud of? The fact that normalization of your SSC/HSC/Grad marks went your way ? Or that you were born in a state where scoring 80% was easier than in other states? Or that the CAT difficulty level normalization across slots favoured your slot? Or that you are a woman and hence you got extra points? Or that you have a certificate that ensures the bar is set lower for your entry? Be honest. The selection criteria favoured you. Deep in your heart you know that equally deserving candidates lost out for no real fault of theirs.

A lot of people I know have ‘spectacular’ academic records because they could memorize stuff better and vomit it in the exam. Evaluation is done in the most improper way across India. Students can get penalized if the paper checker didn’t get his tea on time or if the fan above her wasn’t working in the month of May. Sometimes office boys are asked to check board exam papers. I have personally seen people checking papers in crowded Mumbai local trains. I was once asked to write at least 15 lines per answer even if it didn’t make sense because I was told they measure length before awarding you marks.

So while I respect your consistent academic record, I really don’t see how the ones who didn’t do well in these farcical exams are any less. A lot many of them were learning skills that will end up helping their family or even the nation much more while you spent your childhood memorizing text books from start to end.

Even when people receive their final admits, you know that it is not a 100% fair selection. Personal biases and prejudices of interviewers (who are imperfect people) kick in. Some professors will favour candidates from their state. Some will be biased against the rich. Some will be biased against the poor.

Conclusion

So what’s the point of all this? Am I undermining your hard work over the years? Am I giving an easy escape route (sour grapes) to all those who didn’t work hard and hence failed?  No. The purpose of this piece is to remind ourselves that we are fortunate to get this opportunity. Let us know very well that getting admitted in a higher ‘ranked’ institution or bagging a job in a sought after company was equally a matter of  chance. The hubris should go. Rather than treating this as an achievement, you are better off treating it as a responsibility. There are deserving people out there who didn’t get the option to graduate from these premier institutions.  There is a lot one can do with the help of this platform. One may not always be in a position to give back to the society, community or the nation. The least we can do is be humble.

– Ankit Doshi

 

The writer is the founder of this website, an IIM grad and most recently a banker. He now runs KiRa9 Edumedia Pvt Ltd. which owns InsideIIM.com. He is consumed by the thought of democratizing access to quality management education.

 

Other articles by Ankit Doshi

 

Read this Warning to All IIM Aspirants

 

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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.


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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.

 

 

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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

 

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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

 

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Ankit Doshi

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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