My previous post confused some of the readers. Hence I am elaborating the various value propositions that any tech enabled online restaurant aggregator portal should address.
- Microsite & online presence: Most restaurants don’t have an online presence. Newspaper inserts and banners also are losing relevance making customer acquisition a problem. Linking with maps & online increases the reach & accessibility to new customers
- Delivery time: Most people order food when they are hungry. Hence making them wait makes them only restless & less appreciative of the food. Also small restaurants don’t have enough delivery staff and often tend to club 2-3 orders from the same locality before dispatch. Efficiencies, promptness and tracking are basic hygiene factors needed.
- Packaging & presentation: It is common to see food packed in newspaper. Hot cases are rarely used by delivery to ensure that food does not get cold & soggy in transit. Most small restaurant owners are not trained in latest culinary skills. Also they don’t understand that food is first enjoyed by the eye, then the nose and only then does the tongue/taste comes into picture.
- Payment: Credit card payments & printed bills are a luxury in India. So I am hoping you get the idea.
- Feedback & quality: The chef, owner, order taker and delivery person are different and often don’t interact much (even though they work in the same establishment)
- High operating costs: With high rentals, salaries, establishment/license cost, equipment, fitting etc. make restaurants a high risk venture due to the fixed costs. Any portal giving a minimum volume (100 plates per day) or buying during lean hours (say weekday lunch for a restaurant in a shopping complex or a weekend meal for one in business area) will be an immediate hit for the owners. If these volume discounts are passed on to the customers, then they will also be delighted.
- Real estate: Getting a prime real-estate is key to any successful restaurant, but its rental cripples most owners. Online delivery can enable reducing the prices by catering from kitchens set-up at homes or in not so expensive places.
- Phone numbers: Firstly it is impossible to ensure that all potential customers have your phone number handy. Secondly, in a land of 100 languages, communicating ordering, cooking instructions & delivery address is a challenge.
- Food Court: Typically when buddies gang up, they take poll to choose the cuisine and then select the restaurant. Net result specialty restaurants like Italian, Thai etc. often don’t get the required majority and multi-cuisine restaurants flourish. Can the online websites create a mini-food-court for me allowing me to order 1 italian dish, 1 thai, 1 biriyani & 1 tandoori Chicken without worrying about minimum order size from each of the 4 individual restaurants.
- Add-ons: Can we add Pan (beetle leaf), ice-creams, juices, chaats to the order. Things that we like to order when we eat out, but don’t constitute part of a typical home delivery.
- Loyalty programs & couponing: Most mom&pop stores don’t have a formal well defined mechanism for these.
- Segregation & variable pricing: Many restaurants charge a lower rate for students and higher for office delivery. However tech-portals have better online identity management system and should enable me to charge a lower rate to new-customers or people outside my immediate catchment area… without any threat of that price being revealed to my main customers.