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Food Tech Startups Leave Bad Taste in Restaurants’ Mouths


Food Tech Startups Leave Bad Taste in Restaurants’ Mouths

Restaurants say high commission not sustainable and quality of services being offered is poor
Richa.Maheshwarl @timesgroup.com

Bengaluru: Several restaurants are now backing out from food tech and hyperlocal delivery plat-forms such as Swiggy and Sha-dowfax due to high commissions and patchy delivery services.

While some restaurateurs said high commission fee of up to 25% on the price of an order charged by de-livery platforms has made it unsustai-nable, restaurants al-so blame delayed pickups, shabbily dressed delivery boys and deteriorating standards of food delivery for their exit.

“The basic problem with the industry is that they fa-il to deliver an experience similar to what we give our customers in the restaurant,” said Ashutosh Jha, associate vice-president for R&D at TGI Friday’s, which closed ties with food delivery players Shadowfax and FastOx.

“Many times we have waited for an hour or two for the delivery boy and had to instead recook the fgod and send our own staff to fulfill it,” he said.

The company, which has 13 res-taurants across India, is now working on selective menu for delivery, redesigning their packaging and plans to apply delivery charges on their orders.

Bengaluru-based restaurant Berry’d Alive has pulled out from Swiggy and Roadrunnr for certain stores and plans to retract completely soon.

“Their volumes are increasing at the cost of our walkin crowd. So their business is not adding to our topline,” said Aljeesh Sid-dique, managing partner at Caboodle, the company that mana-ges Berry’d Alive.

But Not Out According to a recent report by Morgan Stanley, food takeout had only a 3% share in India in 2014 as against 15-20% in China Online penetration within the takeout segment stood at 2% in India in 2014, compared with 20-30% in China This is Currently, online expected penetration is to rise to over 25% 30% in top in 2020 global markets Morgan Stanley estimates the online food aggregation business to grow at 134% CAGR to touch S4.4 billion in 2020, from almost nothing in 2014.

Swiggy and Shadowfax declined to comment.

According to a Morgan Stanley report, online food aggregation business in India can grow to $4.4 billion by 2020, implying a 134% annual growth till then.

As the food delivery market in India is picking up with foodies Estimated number of daily orders at major food takeout/delivery companies in India in 2015, a six-fold growth from the year before and restaurateurs getting used to it, the industry is headed for a new challenge – retaining clients. Azure Hospitality, which has restaurant chains Mamagoto, Speedychow, Rollmaal and Ma-mapaati under its portfolio, now does most of its deliveries itself. The company has stopped using Shadowfax and Roadrunnr.

Westlife Development that runs McDonalds in west and so-uth India, too, closed its ties with Roadrunnr.

After heavily subsidising res-taurants for the last two years to win their loyalty, the food delivery startups started raising their commissions from single-digits to a whopping 25%.

They are under pressure to turn profit, say experts, as the funds are drying up and investors are looking for a sustainable business model.

While Swiggy clocked in a million orders in a month, TinyOwl, its closest competitor, got acquired by Roadrunnr. Smaller player Spoonfed shut its operations in Bengaluru to launch their services in Dubai.

There is a debate globally as to whether the marketplaces should take control of logistics or not. The marketpla-ce business model, by its very nature, is high margin and scalable once market dominance is reached. Delivery adds to the cost of transportation and makes the model less flexible and difficult to expand, as it requires a large enough fleet during peak hours. But by offering delivery services, a company can expand its network to even those restaurants that don’t offer home delivery.

Another variant being applied by some companies is to have third-party delivery companies provide exclusive services to the marketplace, thereby benefiting from both variability of delivery cost and still maintai-ning control of the delivery ex-perience. As the food delivery market in India is picking up, the industry is headed for a new challenge: retaining clients.

Source :Economic Times

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