Nestlé India Executive Board accepting the CRII Most Trusted Brand recognition

At a special session, the Executive Board at Nestlé India Ltd, led by CMD Suresh Narayanan (centre), received the CRII Most Trusted Brand Award from CRII Guild Members, including Abhilash Misra (Director, India and South Asia Outreach, Chicago Booth) and Anupam Kaul (Head, Institute of Quality, Confederation of Indian Industries); Nestlé India India was assessed as being amongst the top-three most-trusted consumer brands on quality in the FMCG industry in the CRII Annual National Consumer Survey; during the ceremony, Nestlé India was also inducted into the esteemed CRII Guild

Dabur India Ltd accepting the CRII Most Trusted Brand recognition

Sunil Duggal, Dabur CEO (second from right) and Byas Anand, Head Communications, Dabur India, accepting the CRII Most Trusted Brand Award, after Dabur India was assessed as being amongst the top-three most-trusted consumer brands on quality in the FMCG industry in the CRII Annual National Consumer Survey; during the ceremony, Dabur India was also inducted into the esteemed CRII Guild

Hindustan Unilever Ltd awarded and inducted into the CRII Guild

After the incorporation of HUL into the CRII Guild, Rajeev Batra, Group Head, Corporate Affairs, HUL, addressing the CRII board on behalf of HUL Chairman and Managing Director, Sanjiv Mehta, while accepting the CRII Most Trusted Brand Award; HUL was assessed as being amongst the top-three most-trusted consumer brands on quality in the FMCG industry in the CRII Annual National Consumer Survey

CRII and University of Chicago Booth School of Business sign a wide ranging MoU

After the momentous signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between CRII and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, William Kooser (Associate Dean, University of Chicago Booth School of Business) accepts the Confederation Guild testimonial on behalf of Chicago Booth

Union Ministry of MSME, Government of India, being inducted into the Confederation Guild

Honourable Union MSME Minister Sh. Kalraj Mishra (second from right) accepting the CRII Guild testimonial in the presence of (extreme right) Bharath Visweswariah, Executive Director, UChicago Center, New Delhi, India, (extreme left) Kartik Narayan, Executive Director, CRII, and Param Khanna, Executive Director, CRII

Union Ministry of HRD, Government of India, being inducted into the Confederation Guild

(Centre to right) Honourable Union HRD Minister Dr. Ram Shankar Katheria, William Kooser (Associate Dean, University of Chicago Booth School of Business) and Abhilash Misra (Director, India & South Asia Outreach, University of Chicago Booth School of Business)

Foodpanda being inducted into the Confederation Guild

Foodpanda, represented by the Foodpanda India CEO Saurabh Kochhar (center), accepting the CRII Guild testimonial, in the presence of Kartik Narayan (left), Executive Director, Confederation of Retail Industries of India

PolicyBazaar being inducted into the Confederation Guild

PolicyBazaar.com, represented by co-Founder, CFO & COO Alok Bansal (right), accepting the CRII Guild testimonial, in the presence of Rushil Khanna, Executive Director, Confederation of Retail Industries of India

FabFurnish being inducted into the Confederation Guild

Ashish Garg, co-Founder FabFurnish.com, accepting the Confederation Guild testimonial on behalf of FabFurnish.com, in the presence of Param Khanna (left), Executive Director, Confederation of Retail Industries of India

 

R&B Exclusive (CRII E-Talk Series): “Regulation Is Not Something We Should Be Worried About!” Saurabh Kochhar, CEO, Foodpanda (India)

Foodpanda India CEO
Saurabh Kochhar
Foodpanda India CEO

Foodpanda has been one of the leading, innovative disruptors in the global online food delivery value chain. Their differentiators have included not only their unique positioning, but also the speed with which they have replicated their business model across the globe.

The Germany-based Foodpanda first launched operations in Singapore in early 2012 and had already opened its operations in India by the end of that year. It has right now expanded to over 40 countries, with India being perchance the most important online marketplace for the Rocket Internet backed firm.

Kartik Narayan and Rushil Khanna from CRII’s Retail & Business met up with Saurabh Kochhar, CEO, Foodpanda India as a part of the CRII E-Talk Series.

RETAIL & BUSINESS (R&B): Let’s start with your life and how your experience has been with Printvenue and Foodpanda?

SAURABH KOCHHAR (SK): Well, life began a lot earlier. But yes, Printvenue was about three years ago. I was in McKinsey at that time and I also had some more background around print and retail execution. So that’s what prompted me to think that it’s a good opportunity to start something in the print domain. I got in touch with Hemant who was the MD of Rocket Internet at that point. He seemed to like the idea, and then he said, “Fair enough, why not do it together!” So this initial entrepreneurial hiccup was kind of started that way, and yes, I took the plunge! I think about two and a half years is what it took to skill Printvenue up. We took it to about four countries, and then we moved to Foodpanda.

R&B: Foodpanda.com and Foodpanda.in; we’d like to know the connect between these two entities?

SK: They’re the same!Saurabh Kochhar

R&B: Is it the policy of Foodpanda to give ownership to people in various nations and various regions? Is that why we have various founders of Foodpanda across various nations?

SK: Absolutely true; [at the same time] we are one company.

R&B: It’s a very innovative kind of model…

SK: It’s a very different model and one that seems to work.

R&B: You started in India in 2012 with around 200 restaurants. That was not large, but decent! From then till now, where have you reached? What has been your restaurant acquisition strategy?

SK: I think it’s been a very amazing journey. We started with 200 restaurants. When we had these 200 restaurants, we had to literally request them. You know, emotionally blackmail them into getting on-board with us because they wouldn’t understand the Internet. They wouldn’t understand anything of what we were saying. It was literally as if one was educating them while developing the market. The e-commerce boom and the m-commerce boom that we see today did not exist three years ago; thus, even the knowledge of these was very limited. Today, there is so much exposure for the brand, for the category, that it is obviously a lot easier. While it has been a very, very tedious journey, lately it has been a lot easier to get more people on-board. Right now, we have about 12000 restaurants on our platform.

R&B: So what is the acquisition strategy for these restaurants? What do you offer to them that makes them say yes?

SK: Business! I think the biggest differentiator here can be getting them business. There was actually a time that people didn’t realize that this, as a medium, can be a customer-acquisition medium for the restaurants as well. What we used to always get as feedback was that “you will only give me the customers we already have.” I think what we have comprehensively proven over the last three years is that we have been able to add value to all our partners and that’s why they want to step forward now. They want to partner with us hand-in-hand and devise common strategies. A lot of these partners have now come back to us and have said, “Hey listen! We can further improve our business together by doing x, y and z.”

R&B: So, is there a partnership in sales also? Is that how you earn?

SK: Yes. Absolutely yes! That’s our revenue model. So, we partner with the restaurants and we share the revenues.

R&B: What’s the target for the future? How many restaurants? You have taken over Justeat; you’ve also taken over Tastykhana. While Tastykhana has been merged with Foodpanda, you have still kept Justeat as a separate entity…

SK: Yes. I think we’ve done this for multiple reasons. Let me talk first about why the acquisitions. I think both these organisations were mature and far more than us, because they had been in the business for five to six years more than we had been. So obviously, their experience with the team, talent, processes, product was what I would say made them much more mature than where we were. And thereby, acquiring both of them made a lot of sense and added a lot of value beyond just saying, “Hey listen! This is another set of customers and another set of restaurants.” That was the motive and thinking behind going ahead with those acquisitions. And yes, I think we, together as three organisations, are today much better poised to rule within the space.

R&B: Operationally, have you merged them?

SK: Yes! We have integrated operationally and everything is running.

R&B: Will you kill the Justeat brand as you go ahead?

SK: Well, ‘kill the brand’ is really not the terminology. But yes, with time to come, definitely yes!

R&B: How do you use big data? What are the tools that you are using to take advantage of this?Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 12.46.34 PM

SK: For any e-commerce player, I would say that the biggest tool is data itself and just understanding what the customer wants. For us, every single decision that we take is based on handsome data; and luckily, we have enough history, right? With Foodpanda as a brand, we have about three years of history. And with Justeat and Tastykhana, we have got over nine years of history. You know exactly how that works. The experimentation, thereby, is far more focused and I would also say effective.

R&B: Are you using some standard analytical tools or have you developed some special tools?

SK: We develop all in-house tools. We have a huge business intelligence and analytics team, which we utilise.

R&B: The modern e-commerce company is ensuring that the final consumer interacts with the supplier. Snapdeal has Shopper, Flipkart has Ping – forums where the final consumer can directly communicate with the seller on a real-time basis. Foodpanda doesn’t have such an interactive platform. Are you going to do something like that?

SK: The way we do business today is more through having an active dialogue on both the sides and we mediating and ensuring that filtering happens and the right messages are pulled up. Otherwise, what happens is that if you give the entire volumes to the guy who is busy running the restaurant day-in and day-out, you are not going to get him to make sense of it. So what we do is, for every order, for every interaction, we receive feedback for the restaurant, for us, for the service, for the delivery… It’s a comprehensive feedback that we take for every order and then we pull it up and make sense of what is happening. For example, somebody would like a little more salt in the food. But you need to cull out the noises. And we need to really see if there is an opportunity. Again, using big data and analytics, one can figure out whether there is a bigger theme that we need to pass on to the restaurant so that we can help him improve. Because this guy in all probability is not going to pull out the 1000-2000 reviews that he would have got this month and think what to do with it!

R&B: How’s your delivery service coming out to be?

SK: Pretty well.

R&B: Are you thinking of expanding it?

SK: Well, we have currently expanded it to 9 cities.

R&B: With 800 odd employees all across.

SK: Yes.

R&B: The government has given out comments mentioning that they’re planning out various laws to regulate the e-commerce industry. What suggestions would you recommend to the government?

SK: One, I think regulation is needed more than anything else; and it’s not a point where we should be worried. That’s what I got the tone from the question as. I think regulation is necessary because there is so much of a cloud right now around this entire industry that straightforward norms will only have [a positive effect]. And yes, there is a lot to be done and there is a lot being done already around regulatory procedures and processes. I think if the rules at the base are also clarified in black and white, that would only help us.

(Copyright, President and Fellows of Confederation of Retail Industries of India; Retail & Business is India’s leading retail industry publication)

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