Exclusive Conversation: Ritesh Dwivedy, Founder & CEO,JUSTEAT
Ritesh Dwivedy, an IIT-Kharagpur alumnus is the Founder and CEO of JUSTEAT India.He is the visionary who built a business around online food ordering when it was still unheard of in India. Back in 2005, late one evening in the office of Ketera Technologies in Bangalore, Ritesh suddenly felt hungry. He strolled down to the office cafeteria which to his dismay was closed. His search for places to eat on the internet too did not yield any successful results; thus, paving the way for JUST EAT India. It began with HungryBangalore in 2006 with a mere 15 restaurants on board, followed by the bigger and more widespread HungryZone in 2008 and ultimately in 2011, it was JUST EAT India with 2500 restaurants and counting. And the rest, as they say, is history. Here is an excerpt from the conversation:
1. What is the concept behind JUSTEAT?
We are an aggregator of restaurants that offer home delivery services. By and large any restaurant in India today, gets users from two sources, that is, walk-ins and by phone. We introduced the third source – Online medium, to help them reach out to hungry-surfers, (i.e., anyone who is hungry and has access to internet). We offer these users a single platform on web or mobile to discover restaurants in their locality, read reviews about them, scan through the menu, and then go ahead and place orders. They can either pay for it online or on delivery. Features like the option to save multiple delivery addresses, and to order on the go with our mobile apps makes it a must have app for any foodie. What’s more, our service is completely free for users.
2.How do manage to partner with the restaurants and further manage the whole chain from placing order till getting it delivered?
We have a sales team in all the cities that we are operational in. They work on reaching out to new restaurants to educate them on benefits of signing up with us. They also go to great lengths to explain the value of being present online, that too on India’s first and largest online food ordering portal.
Any customer can place an order through JUSTEAT, either on the website or on our app. These orders are received on our internally developed order management system. We have the right technology in place to relay these orders instantly to the restaurant in an automated way. The restaurants receive details like food items and customer details, and then take care of deliveries. We, on the other hand have an efficient customer support team that takes complete responsibility of all issues related to customer service.
3. What are your major customer acquisition strategies?
We use online and offline media to acquire customers. We work on PPC, SEO, social media, affiliate partners, restaurant branding, corporate park branding, and co-marketing strategies. .
4.What are the major challenges that you are facing?
The first and foremost challenge in this segment is – educating restaurants on why they should have an online channel partner. One needs to get the right restaurants on board, constantly engage with customers, and stay on top of the game by staying up to date on the technology to be used.
Secondly, the need to build products and processes that would work for an industry that is 95% unorganized even today, and with low literacy levels of people working in it, is a constant challenge.
Thirdly, making the customer believe that their food will arrive just in time to satisfy their hunger pangs, even if they order online, are some of the biggest challenges.
5. Overall what is the turnover per month for the business? Which cities are the major contributors towards the traffic?
Turnover figures are confidential. Bangalore and NCR are the major contributors.
6. In India even till today internet penetration is very less, so in such a case how do plan to manage your business?
We see this as an opportunity. We have registered an order growth of about 150% last year. We see a lot of headroom for organic growth.
7. How competitive is the market in which you are operating and how do you plan to prepare yourself for the same?
India’s e-commerce market is growing at the rate of 30% year-on-year, and with a boom in online retail trends, it has only paved the way for more and more players to enter this space.
So though there are a number of players in this market today, what gives us an edge over competitors is our experience of having processed the maximum number of online orders than anyone else in India. This has helped us make better products and processes for both our users and partner restaurants. Although we are a part of the Justeat group, we have developed everything from scratch to cater to the Indian market, and not done a mere copy paste job. Also, the key differentiating factor for us has been the technology that is being put to use to scale the business to new heights.
8. What are your future plans?
Our main focus areas in 2014 are to firstly- become a Mobile first company, and secondly- expand geographically. We are also continuously updating our website, and you will see a lot more updates on it in 2014.
Ritesh deserves full credit for revolutionising the way people order food today through JustEat.in – India’s largest online food ordering and table reservation portal.
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