Just click ‘eat’

Apr 20 2014, 03:05 IST
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SummarySocial media is turning ‘social business’, as the Indian food service industry logs on to connect with consumers over their shared passion

Three young friends are lazing around in a posh living room, visibly bored. One of them decides to order a pizza online, the second one prompts him on what to order, while the third dozes on a sofa. Within a matter of a few clicks, an order is placed, so fast that their fourth friend, whose card was used to make the payment, did not have enough time to return from the washroom and stop the process.

This is one of the several commercials for Domino’s Pizza’s online ordering service, a popular commercial on air today. And, as the commercial shows, availing of online food services has become just that easy.

A 2013 report by the National Restaurant Association of India pegged the Indian food service industry at $48 billion and expected it to double in size by 2020. Some of the key growth drivers and emerging trends, said the report, were a rising number of tech-savvy consumers, increasing importance of online/social media, food websites and mobile applications and an increasing share of delivery and takeaway formats.

In fact, thanks to growth in computer literacy and access to smartphones and the Internet, the food delivery business in India is all set to grow, says a 2014 report by management consulting firm Technopak. And leading this change from the front is Domino’s Pizza.

As per the report, titled ‘India Food Services Trends’, of Domino’s total reported revenue of around R385 crore in the third quarter of 2013, about 50% came from the delivery business. Of this, about 14% of the total delivery sales were made through online channels—mobile apps and online ordering. “Although their mobile app business, which started in 2012, only contributes about 10% of the online business (which started in 2011), Domino’s Pizza expects this to double within a year,” the report says.

While Domino’s Pizza has gone ahead with its own website and app, other operators are also tapping into the market. Many have joined hands with specialised delivery portals like FoodPanda, TastyKhana, JustEat, among others. These portals work on a commission-based model and help the consumer access multiple restaurants through a single website/mobile number.

Zomato, a restaurant-rating website, has also rolled out a new version of its Web and mobile product, adding a new, social layer to restaurant discovery and personalised recommendations from people. “Even before the advent of the Internet, people relied on social opinions for restaurant discovery. In our endless

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