Online food delivery has been a tasty curry for VCs and consumers alike. While VCs have been busy investing in food delivery startups popping up in various parts of the country, the consumer has been savouring the taste of discounts. The likes of TinyOwl and Swiggy have gathered huge rounds of funding and we’re also starting to see a bit of a course correction now. Zomato, one of the most successful consumer startup stories (which now also has a strong B2B angle), entered the food delivery space late but its massive user base gives it a big advantage.Unbundling Zomato Order app for food delivery, the app is currently live in 14 cities with big expansion plans. When it comes to food delivery and the online-offline bridge, large QSRs are a big part of the puzzle. Just imagine Domino’s extending its delivery to other restaurants. Keep the hypothesis aside; Wendy’s, the third largest burger chain in the world, entered India earlier in April 2015. It intends to open 40-50 outlets in the next 4 years (source). As soon as Zomato came to know of the plans, it got Wendy’s on board.
“Once we'd learnt that Wendy's was launching in India we reached out to Sierra Nevada Restaurants Pvt Ltd and formed a mutual partnership with them,” says Tanmay Saksena, Global Business Head, Online Ordering, Zomato. He adds, “Wendy's is one of the largest hamburger chains in the world. We are excited to be their online partners as they venture into the Indian market. So far the response has been incredible and we're extremely happy to partner with them.”
Bigger than Wendy’s, Domino’s and Burger King still have their own delivery systems. But Zomato has already successfully piloted the online ordering feature with Domino's in select locations. “We are also in talks with other leading QSR players in India and consumers will soon be able to order online through Zomato for a larger variety of QSRs,” says Tanmay.
Partnerships with large international chains provide a strong distribution mechanism for them and from the user standpoint, there is no delivery. But from the point of view of a platform like Zomato’s, there is a slight difference. “For larger chains, we look at the technology integration differently. In most cases, we integrate them directly with our back end to handle higher order volumes on account of larger outlets,” says Tanmay. For Zomato, the most important thing is to provide users a comprehensive offering and access to and choice of ordering in from dining establishments, be it standalones or QSR chains.
Another piece of the puzzle is when internet-first restaurants like Faaso’s scale and look at a more holistic model. After setting up its own chain of outlets, Faaso’s is now tying up with local vendors in different areas to offer more meal options to its users. And massive QSR chains like Domino’s already have their logistics setup strong. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how the entire space develops and where various models will overlap.