Food ordering website JustEat.in was originally started in 2006 as Hungry Zone in Bangalore by Ritesh Dwivedy and in 2011, UK-based online takeway ordering service Justeat acquired 60% stake in Hungry Zone and the company was rebranded as JustEat India.
Currently, Justeat has a team of around 100 people with the main team (including support, tech and marketing) located in Bangalore and sales teams in Mumbai and Delhi, consisting of about 10 people each.
The company allows consumers book tables and order food, via their website, mobile site or phone and has partnerships with around 2500 restaurants in 3 cities – Delhi NCR, Mumbai, and Bangalore. It also has partnerships with chains like Pizza Corner and U.S Pizza among others due to which JustEat is also present in cities like Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad.
The company claims that it has processed about 12 lakh orders from 4 lakh unique customers till now, with highest number of home delivery orders coming from Bangalore. Going forward, it plans to open full scale operations in Chennai or Pune and launch iOS, Android and Symbian mobile apps, with feature phones apps coming later.
In the first part of our interaction with Ritesh Dwivedy, Hungry Zone Founder and the present CEO of Justeat India, he talks to us about home delivery and table reservation business, partnerships and technologies used in JustEat:
Home Delivery and Table Reservation Business
MediaNama: How many orders do you get in a day for home delivery?
JustEat: I will not be able to tell you exact figure on daily basis but the monthly figure is very close to being 6 digits now. The recent growth we have seen has been in the last four-five months.
In the past four to five months, we have been doubling our month on month orders because of our expansion to other new cities. Right now, we are in a position where we have a good number of partner restaurants and so we are also now beginning to scale up.
MediaNama: How is the delivery system staffed?
JustEat: We don’t do the deliveries. The restaurants do it. We act as an interface between the customers and the restaurants.
MediaNama: How many orders do you get in a day for reservations?
JustEat: Table reservation is a smaller part of our business. We believe that most of the growth in the restaurant business will be in home delivery segment for the next 2 years. Hence we don’t focus much on table reservations and mainly focus on home delivery.
MediaNama: How much commission do you get on each booking or order?
JustEat: It varies. The average commission on each booking or order would be around 12%.
MediaNama: What is the kind of deal that you have for table reservations since people don’t order food and there is no guarantee of business on table reservation?
JustEat: Generally, we charge based on the average meal cost per person. We are not focusing on table reservations to a great extent because you won’t know if the reservations materialize and if the restaurants are truthful. You have to just take what they say. Hence table reservations in restaurants is not a great business be in right now.
MediaNama: Why did you decide to go into table reservation when there are so many other players doing it today?
JustEat: We had table reservations from 2006. We were the first in India for home delivery and table reservations. Over time, we realized that table reservations are not happening as much. The rentals for restaurants are high and most of the restaurants have to make this money from home delivery. With International brands coming to India, they have created an ecosystem where home delivery is considered a normal phenomenon and people don’t want to travel to far off places to eat due to traffic. While the home delivery is growing at 20% per annum, the table reservations are falling. Operationally also, there is no proper way of reconciling if the table reservation were realized and you will have to depend on restaurants. They might not be entirely truthful resulting in business loss for you. We believe that India is not ready for that right now since people don’t make reservations, they just walk into a restaurant.
MediaNama: What is the kind of partnership that you share with restaurants?
JustEat: We have 2, 500 restaurant partners. We have an agreement with all of them which includes services, our charge, and tax etc, basically everything that covers home delivery. Since we are the interface with the customers, any problems with the food or service would be attributed to us. Hence, we give high preference to customer service. This becomes more important since many of them are mom & pop restaurants and since we are an aggregator, we try to ensure that there is some level of service standards that are maintained by all.
MediaNama: What are the challenges of getting a restaurant on board?
JustEat: Signing up a restaurant is quite easy right now because restaurants understand Internet and we have been around for 6 years now so it has become easier. Also, JustEat is present in other countries so restaurant owners believe us more.
MediaNama: Are restaurants still hesitant to join you? Why?
JustEat: In Bangalore alone there are around 2,000 or 3, 000 restaurants but we are selective about choosing our partners, keeping in mind certain standards. So sometimes, even we are hesitant to enter into partnerships with certain restaurants. With respect to larger brands, they find it easier to build an online system for themselves for orders than partner with us. So it is difficult to get them. But nevertheless, the position has drastically changed in the last 5-6 years since we started.
MediaNama: Do you intend only work alone in this space or also partner with players like Zomato to expand business?
JustEat: We are currently working with Burrp but we are open to partnership with anybody Interested.
Technologies used in JustEat
MediaNama: How have you integrated the restaurant orders into your system? What kind of technology has been used? How does it work?
JustEat: The restaurant menu is available on our site across different channels including computer and mobile. The menu is also available on the restaurant’s website. We are connected through a GPS system to the restaurants and we print the orders there. The restaurants have the right to reject any order that comes in. On acceptance, the message goes directly to the customers. In case of rejection, our customer service intervenes to give other restaurant options or options from the menu to customer. We also have a desktop based app on the restaurant’s computer which integrates with our system. This also doubles up as restaurant’s order system. So when an order comes in, they are again intimated. In case these two methods don’t work, then there is the manual approach of phone calls especially with small restaurants. In case of phone, we also verify the orders. Whenever the order is routed to the restaurant and confirmed, we send a message to the customer. More than 80% is automated without human intervention and less than 20% is with human intervention.
MediaNama: What are your plans for mobile?
JustEat: We are planning to launch a mobile app for iOS, android and symbion. The focus of the app is to make the ordering as easy and seamless as possible. If you are using it for the second time, the app will take less than a minute since your address and other information are already saved. It will also suggest restaurants closest to you. For instance, if you are in Koramangala in Bangalore, based on the distance, the app will suggest a restaurant to you. This is because whenever a person is placing an order for home delivery, the person is already hungry and the cosest restaurant will be able to delivery faster. Besides this, there will also be suggestions based on ratings and cuisines in the area. The results will be personalized to the user and will become more personalized with more usage. Later, we also plan to launch a mobile app for BlackBerry and Feature phones.