A decade ago, food delivery was limited to calling the restaurant of your choice, usually fast food, on the phone and spending a good five minutes repeating your address to the phone operator on the other end. Times have changed since then as the food delivery system has transitioned to the mobile platform, providing even more convenience to customers.
Carving a place for itself in the food and beverage industry, food delivery raked in $91.4 billion in global revenue in 2018 and is expected to increase to $156.8 billion by 2023. Many restaurants, primarily fast food joints, have set up their own food delivery apps, but it is third party apps like Foodpanda that dominate the scene.
Launched in 2012, Foodpanda expanded into the Philippines in 2014 and currently has over 5,000 partner restaurants nationwide. Throughout its five years of local operations, the service has enough experience under its belt to share a few lessons it has learned on sustaining a food delivery service:
1. Hyperfocus on quality
Increasing the number of services you provide is both an opportunity and a risk—you can potentially increase your revenue, but it may come at the cost of the quality of other services if not done well. To avoid this, focus on quality of food and service.
2. Keep the price competitive
“When we first started, the outlook was that it was quite premium,” says Foodpanda marketing head Cheena Abellon. “But as the landscape becomes more competitive, people are now more aware of the accessibility of this technology service.” According to Abellon, their customer profile is spread out through various demographics (“not just for yuppies”), and this is largely due to the app’s affordability, which has the cheapest delivery fee in Manila.
3. Give customers more options
Food delivery is no longer limited to fast food. According to Abellon, fast food makes up only 20 percent of their restaurant roster. The other food options range from casual dining establishments to high-ticket restaurants. Vietnamese cuisine is seeing growth on the app, but healthy food, like salads and juices, is a notable favorite among customers. “Everything starts as a trend then later on it becomes habitual,” explains Abellon.
4. Provide opportunities for partner restaurants
An industry thrives with the right balance of competition and cooperation. Foodpanda contributes to the latter through its partnerships with restaurants to “enable them to scale their business without looking into the operational cost of setting up their own delivery [system and] the marketing cost of actually pushing that message out.”
5. Go sustainable
Sustainability is no longer a trend. It’s a necessity that every brand should adopt in order to contribute to the industry’s overarching efforts toward sustainable practices. But big change starts with small actions such as Foodpanda’s feature that allows customers to opt out of cutlery, which was launched in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund. Restaurants can now see the numbers of how much they can save by not giving out cutlery, thus educating food establishments on the benefits of sustainable practices.
6. Up the level of convenience
Food delivery is rooted in convenience. It removes the hassle of the transportation gap from restaurant to house or office, not to mention the queues. Innovations like the pick-up feature can only expand and improve services. Designed for people on the go who want to skip long lines but can’t wait for food to be delivered, this feature lets customers head to a restaurant to pick up their readymade meal.
In this fast-paced era, convenience is the new currency. “It’s all about optimizing towards a full customer experience,” says Abellon.