Founder and CEO of justeat.in Ritesh Dwivedy interacts with Technuter about his company, R&D works, expansion and expectation from the new Government:
We are an aggregator of restaurants that offer home delivery services. By and large any restaurant in India today, gets users from two sources, that is, walk-ins and by phone. We introduced the third source – Online medium, to help them reach out to hungry-surfers, (i.e., anyone who is hungry and has access to internet). We offer these users a single platform on web or mobile to discover restaurants in their locality, read reviews about them, scan through the menu, and then go ahead and place orders. They can either pay for it online or on delivery.
Features like the option to save multiple delivery addresses, and to order on the go with our mobile apps makes it a must have app for any foodie. What’s more, our service is completely free for users.
What are latest industry trends in online food ordering portal?
Food deliveries in India are growing faster than dine-ins. From a restaurateur’s perspective, the margins are 2-3% higher in deliveries, and spare kitchen capacity can be utilized for serving those who want to eat at home. The future seems bright for this business in India, as we are trying to catch up with developed markets, where 30% of deliveries take place through online channels. Also, with India becoming the fastest growing smartphone market in the world, we are positive that the business of online takeaway services will see phenomenal growth in 2014 and 2015.
The market is increasingly shifting towards mobile. As a food ordering platform, we understand that being mobile first is the key to our business. So, all our efforts are focussed on enhancing our existing mobile apps. Further, with the increase in Internet penetration in India and the availability of more payment options has boosted the ecommerce industry today. There has been growth in transactions in all sectors, be it banking, lifestyle accessories or fashion retail. This is therefore, fostering a positive growth on the food business and online ordering market as well, with more and more people ordering online.
In January 2013, our mobile orders were 3% of overall orders, and as of January 2014, it’s close to 30%. In developed markets where JUST EAT operates, the mobile to web orders are 50:50 right now. With India becoming the fastest growing Smartphone market, we believe that it will reach the 50:50 ratio by 2015.
What is the USP of ‘justeat.in’ in contrast of other online food provider in India?
Our website is a first- of-its-kind in South East Asia, and we are by far the largest food ordering portal in India.
Though there are a number of players in this market today, what gives us an edge over competitors is our experience of having processed the maximum number of online orders than anyone else in India. This has helped us make better products and processes for both our users and partner restaurants. Although we are a part of the JUST EAT group, we have developed everything from scratch to cater to the Indian market, and not done a mere copy paste job. Also, the key differentiating factor for us has been the technology that is being put to use to scale the business to new heights.
What is ‘justeat.in’ doing differently to increase its market share in India?
With regards to market share, we are by far the largest food ordering portal in India.
As our main focus areas in 2014 are to become firstly, a Mobile first company, and secondly, expand geographically, we are working in these two areas to increase our market share. We are also continuously updating our website, and you will see a lot more updates on it in 2014.
Would you please reflect upon your R&D work?
We are investing a lot of time and effort in people and technology. As I mentioned, our focus for 2014 is to become a Mobile first company, and to succeed in that goal we are expanding our technical team.
We are recruiting the top talent from colleges such as IIIT. Our tech team has doubled in the last nine months and we expect to add more people in the coming months. There are two reasons to do this. Firstly, replicating the same experience on mobile requires a lot of effort, and secondly, we need to be equipped to scale up our current website to support the number of hits.
Do you plan any significant market expansion in near future?
In January this year, we ventured into cities like Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad among others, with the aim to consolidate our position in these areas.
Apart from Pune, Chennai, and Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi NCR, and Mumbai, are currently our biggest markets in India, and we are also marginally present in some Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. We now have close to 3k partner restaurants servicing 26 cities in India. We are testing the waters in other tier 2 and tier 3 cities, and based on the response we receive, we will plan our strategy to cover them as well.
What is your expectation from the new Government in the online food ordering industry?
For a business like ours to grow, we believe that Internet penetration should be greater so that we can reach out to more people. We are trying to change the way India orders food, so our mission can reach its zenith only when we can serve more people, reach out to people and smaller towns with basic internet connection.
We expect the BJP led government to have greater focus on India’s Internet growth, and not be hampered by rules that create additional challenges for telcos, internet and web-hosting service providers. We have around 200 million internet users in India, and are expected to have about 185 mobile internet users by June this year. However, actual broadband penetration is still abysmal, at less than 20 million. Secondly, rural and other underprivileged groups are yet to avail of the benefits of the net. As far as e-commerce is concerned, most companies are still struggling, and surviving thanks to massive cash infusions by venture capitalists. Even the recent TRAI policy that proposes a license fee of 8% on adjusted gross revenue (AGR) for internet service providers (ISPs) will only be a hindrance to affordable internet and broadband services in India. With the new government in place, we expect all these issues to be sorted, and the ecommerce industry will only truly boom if internet speeds were faster, reaches grass root levels, is more reliable and cheaper.
Another area we hope new government would pay attention is supporting the restaurant industry. Currently our tax structure is very complex with inclusion of service tax, service charges, VAT and others.
Since our business depends on how many restaurants open across India, we expect to have a simpler and rational tax structure to be in place, more lands for restaurant allocation, easy license rules and faster implementation of projects.
Also, not many restaurants in India have computers and internet compared to developing nations like Brazil, where majority of restaurants have computers/ internet connection in place. Food delivery in India is still at a nascent stage and we still face the challenge to make the whole experience- from ordering to deliver a smoother process. With the new party’s focus on the hospitality sector we can hope that the sector gets its due importance as it not only offers an avenue for employment, but also plays a key role in tax revenue, thereby leading to greater business growth.
Your message to the IT and Tech community…
This space is currently very exciting. Enabling the restaurant industry to adopt technology that is 70% unorganized sector even today is a huge challenge and task. So we are always on the lookout for the right talent; people whose hunger to grow and change the way India orders matches ours. If you’ve got the appetite to bring this change, then join us in this mission.