Online ordering new trend in India's food business

Rebecca Bundhun

Booming online ordering and home delivery services are helping to drive the growth of India’s restaurant industry.

There are a growing number of websites and apps in the country that allow users to order from a wide range of restaurants, including Zomato, FoodPanda, and TinyOwl, while restaurant chains’ own online ordering facilities are generating more revenue.

“Digital ordering and delivery will be important factors driving sales in the future,” said Amit Kadoo, the vice president of financial advisory at Avendus Capital. “For example, for Domino’s [in India], the digital orders were 36 per cent of the overall sales in quarter ended December last year compared to 27 per cent for the December 2014 quarter.”

But there is rising competition as more and more online food services enter the market. Zomato, FoodPanda and TinyOwl between them laid off hundreds of employees towards the end of last year. Competitors including Dazo were forced out of business in the cut-throat marketplace, which requires huge levels of funding.

Swiggy is an online food ordering website in India that provides delivery services on behalf of restaurants so they do not have to invest their own delivery staff and bikes.

“Ordering food to your home and office desk has become a norm these days with the emergence of numerous food apps and delivery services,” said Anees Khan, a chef who returned to India to set up his Star Anise patisserie and catering company in Mumbai following years of working in top hotels in locations including Oman and Egypt.

Ganapathy Mallya, the executive chef at Novotel Goa Resort and Spa and Novotel Goa Shrem Hotel, said he expects this trend to continue.

“The food and beverage industry will focus on the usage of technology to drive revenue,” he said. “This will lead to a future with multiple dining options and curated delivery-only outlets. Food ordering and delivery of the goods will be more organised in the upcoming year.”

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