On-demand food delivery is no longer a nascent domain. With dozens of startups including more than a few unicorns vying for market space, it is currently one of the most hotly contested markets. And that’s exactly what makes it really interesting. As challenging as it is at the moment, the rewards for victory is equally large. If you are an entrepreneur looking to make your footprint in food delivery, here is your detailed roadmap:
The aggregation model
Most of the earlier startups were born out as restaurant aggregators where they merely acted as a discovery platform for users to browse restaurants and order food while the cooking and logistics were handled by third parties. This model has one major benefit but also a glaring problem. On the plus side, its fairly easy to get started and expand- all you need is to build a restaurant finder app with little capital and leg work involved. On the downside, they have virtually no operational control and thus detached from the customer experience.
On-demand delivery model
Most of the food delivery businesses now operate on this model where not only they control the platform but also the logistics and to some extent even restaurants- often dubbed as “cloud kitchens”. While this model offers absolute operational control, it also demands enormous capital requirements and is tough to expand.
Ultimately it boils down to how deep pockets you have. Given food tech has been a major recipient of venture capital in recent years, finding funds with a strong business plan shouldn’t be a problem. Once you figure out the model, it’s time to zero-in the market and audience you wish to target.
Market & Audience
Once you figure out the model, it’s time to zero-in the market and audience you wish to target and this can’t possibly be overemphasized as the single most important factor that determines the success or failure of any venture. The general wisdom states that you should always find and capture an underserved market before you expand to tackle the competition. Given the proliferation of food delivery app, it might tough to find a nascent market but more on this later.
Along with the market, you must also have a particular domain of audience that you wish to target. It can be professional office goers, college students, health-conscious people, or any
demographic for that matter. Closing in on a particular audience would help you curate your offerings build a brand. Yes, you can always choose to expand your market and audience but this initial focus would offer you an invaluable firm footing.
On a side note, if you struggle to find a nascent market marketing wisdom would suggest you join the most competitive space. While this may sound counterintuitive, but if you manage to sustain your business for a few years even with minor losses, you would have considerable bargaining position when the consolation wave comes.
After you have decided your operational model, market, and audience, it’s time to build your app. Irrespective of your operational model, you must build the best restaurant finder app for that would be your primary interface with customers. You can even bisect this process in two parts:
Features and Interface
With dozens of food delivery apps on the market, there is now little scope for innovation so what you must focus on is the refinement. Building apps like GrubHub would incorporate all the features you might need while working on the improved interface and user experience is where your edge would come from.
Building an app like UberEATS or GrubHub is no small feat and requires ample technical expertise and resources. While you can assemble a team to build your app in-house, a more prudent approach would be hire expert development agencies and outsource all the technical tasks- to help you focus on core business areas like marketing and strategies.