In this interview with ET Now, Rishi Khiani, MD of Scootsy talks about the rise in food options and the affect it has on delivery business. Edited excerpts:
Food tech startups seem to be the toast of the town. There are a variety of options which have opened up. How has this changed the food dynamics? Have you seen a massive shift in consumer preferences when it comes to choices in foods that consumers are ordering?
Definitely, Indians by nature have the most diverse and versatile pallet. If you go back a few years our options were either ordering a Dominos pizza or probably from the neighbourhood Udupi restaurant. With the advent of shows like Master Chef, we have become far more adventurous in the kind of foods that we want to order. There are a lot of new fine dining restaurants opening up having delivery as a viable option and offering this food to their consumer. Today the customer is spoilt for choice. If for the same price I am going to get food from my favourite restaurant, I would rather order it home.
Also, with the various taxes on dining out and with the cost of alcohol, a lot more people are opting to have a few friends over and ordering food. People still dine out when they need to celebrate some sort of an occasion, but more and more of our customers are ordering in and we are seeing the frequency of ordering going up tremendously. So a customer might go out once in a couple of weeks but orders five or six times in a week. This trend is something we are noticing across the board.
What could be the size of delivery industry in India? As of now there are only three or four large apps but do you think this space will grow and competition will also grow?
Yes, absolutely. In any industry which is at a nascent stage, you are going to see growth. You have a lot of apps that have come out. Each of these apps has its own unique kind of offering. We have chosen to play in a slightly more niche space. Our offering tends to be slightly on the higher end and more of the premium restaurants, but you do have players across the board and the food space is expanding. We are seeing far more experimentation in food and Indian food and fusion of Indian food has gained popularity. You are seeing a lot of new restaurants that are looking at international food trends – whether it is the Ethiopian or the Peruvian food. We love diversity and are probably at a sunrise stage of this industry. We are doing about 3000-4000 orders in a single day and this is primarily for high end food coming in from city’s best restaurants.
Do you think delivery business is more of an urban phenomenon because there are options available and it is difficult to travel. So this business may do well in metros and mini-metros, but when it comes to an all India presence the delivery business may not pick up because the options are limited and it is easy to commute?
We have opted to be a metro only delivery platform for all the reasons that you have just mentioned. Commute has become a challenge, traffic is a huge problem. Getting to your favourite restaurant has become more torturous than it is for someone to pick up the food and get it to you. But I do feel that there is an increase in dine out options in some of the smaller cities and that will probably lead to far more options and as soon as that market matures, you will see delivery as a good viable option.
A lot of the early movers like Food Panda and some of the others took a very multi-city approach where they said we will do the metros, we will do the smaller towns and then scaled back realising that they were probably a bit too early to the party. Brands like ours that are focusing on the metro and urban customer are seeing that we are targeting the right market and right audience and there is phenomenal growth happening here.
Source: The Economic Times