‘Plastic ban is affecting our business’
With several online food delivery companies and many more planning to grab a market share of online food delivery, Khushru Minocherhomji, the Founder of Suxes Hospitality Solutions Pvt Ltd which runs Dial-a-Meal, an online food delivery system in Pune, discusses with Sunil Pradhan, the challenges in the sector.
Dial-a-Meal is two decades old in the food delivery industry and is run by Suxes Hospitality Solutions Pvt Ltd for the past five years.
Q: Indian consumer market has always been price sensitive. So how do you manage to balance the price factor for customers?
Certainly, while the price has always been a matter of concern for Indian consumers, we should also understand that good food will always come with an added price. While there are several players in the market providing food delivery, people should understand the catch in the offers which these companies are providing. These offers are not realistic and are there only to attract consumers. For instance, the offer would sound like ‘40 per cent off’ but the limit of the off will just be Rs 50, which does not make much sense for the consumers’ benefit.
Q. While there are a number of competitors in the market and many new are planning to join in, what are your plans to keep sailing in the market?
Although, we are a small company we are growing by 10 per cent annually. Similarly, we provide 24/7 service across Pune which means if a customer from Balewadi wants food from a restaurant in Camp, we will deliver it to him. When it comes to discount offers, we provide genuine offers if the restaurants are providing it. For instance, if the restaurant is willing to provide buy 1 get 1 offer, then we are happy to serve the same to the customer. We are also focusing to tap the business to business market which also has a good scope for growth in the sector. We also provide a dedicated human call service to the consumer in which the customers can solve their food-related queries in case they are facing problems in menu selection. We are also planning to expand at different locations and increase our basket of services.
Q: What are the different challenges you are currently facing to run the show?
City traffic is one of the major challenges in the food delivery business as customers are cautious about delivery timings. We do get feedback from customers about delivery timings and all we can do is request the customer to give us another chance. Similarly, customers are also aware of this challenge and hence, are placing their order in advance. When it comes to food delivery timing, customers should also understand that during peak hours and holidays, the delivery time is expected to get impacted.
Q: How has government policies affected the business in the industry?
As far as demonetisation is concerned, it had impacted us for a week as customers did not stop eating and chose to pay through debit cards and other online modes. The GST did affect the industry as earlier, the restaurants had to pay 18 per cent tax. Our tax was increased from 15 per cent to 18 per cent which was not much but initially, our money was blocked for some time due to this tax method. Now, following the plastic ban, the restaurants are asking us to look for solutions. We are a food delivery business and the plastic ban does cause problems.