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Update: TinyOwl’s Dishes feature may be its ace against other food ordering apps

Update: TinyOwl CEO Harshvardhan Mandad told MediaNama that the Dishes feature currently has about 1, 000 restaurants across the country, with more joining. “The initial plan was to sign up with popular restaurants in the area, but we will tie-up with everyone for this. Right now this feature is free for restaurants but in the future we may change the business model,” Mandad said. He also added that TinyOwl is also developing its own in-app closed pre-paid wallet where customers could load money.

About payments, Mandad said that more than 60% of their orders coming are in through cards, wallets and netbanking. Cash-on-delivery accounts for about 40% of their orders.

Earlier: Online food ordering service TinyOwl quietly launched a new feature in the past few weeks called Dishes where users can order specific dishes or a meal which are preset from certain restaurants with a single tap.

So it could be a butter chicken and two naans, or a medium veggie pizza, or a plate of kababs. The idea is simple, order food in as few taps as possible.  I think I’ve ordered food and finished payment via the app within 5-6 taps. The new feature addresses a vital design problem with food ordering apps: people don’t know what to get and it is often tedious to go through menus. It simplifies ordering by reducing options which many a times are only confusing on the menu and repetitive.

Earlier this week restaurant directory service Zomato launched its food ordering app in Mumbai and Pune. While Zomato was a little late in rolling out the much-awaited application, the company’s CEO Deepinder Goyal took a pot shot at its competition in a Reddit Ask Me Anything and dismissed rival food ordering app TinyOwl as he “didn’t like the name”.

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But the discussion also pointed to a more interesting point on user experience where Goyal had stressed that design in an application is more important than the tech (an answer which got him a lot of downvotes).  But there is no arguing that Zomato’s applications are well designed and has a larger presence in Indian cities. But perhaps, TinyOwl just may have out-designed Zomato with the Dishes feature.Tinyowl2

We’ve reached out to TinyOwl on how many orders they are getting through the new feature and what their current customer acquisition costs are and we will update you on the same once we hear from them. Earlier in February, the company raised Rs 100 crore in series B funding round led by Sequoia Capital. At the time the company said that it is doing 3,000-5,000 orders per day and covers about 4,500 restaurants.

Paytm integration

TinyOwl has also been busy on the payments side and has integrated Paytm’s wallet into its application and both of them are running a number of promotions to capture more users. I’ve ordered food worth Rs 200 on the application and got a cashback of Rs 100 back because I paid through my Paytm wallet. Others on Twitter too seem to think TinyOwl’s Paytm integration works well, perhaps a bit too well:

Expansion plans

TinyOwl is now currently live in Pune, Mumbai , Bangalore, Hyderabad and Gurgaon. During their funding round in February, CEO Harshvardhan Mandad said that the company is looking to expand to 50 cities by the end of the year.

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*Update: An earlier version of the story had said that TinyOwl is looking to expand to Hyderabad, Bangalore and Gurgaon. TinyOwl reached out to us clarifying that they are live in the cities. The story has also been edited for grammar.

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