Food delivery is very synonymous to pizza home delivery. It goes back to as long as late 19th century when the first pizza was delivered in Italy. The evolution of food delivery has slowly and steadily moved up notches. In 2001 Pizza hut even managed to send a pizza to the space.
The next big bang moment which happened for the food / restaurant industry is the online ordering service. It was in 1995, the first online order service was started (in USA) : world wide waiter, now known as waiter.com. At that time they used to deliver food from approx 60 restaurants in Silicon Valley.
Fast forward to 2018 : Currently there are many options available to order online food : restaurant mobile apps, food delivery apps, webpages, etc.
While globally many brands are competing with each other in garnering their market share, in India the spike in this sector has taken place in last 3-4 years. One among Zomato, Foodpanda, Swiggy have occupied their space in almost all Indian smartphones.
But there are few local city based food delivery Apps which have propped up in the last 8-10 months. One such food delivery App which has started in the capital city of Kerala is Rabbito.
The story behind the need of starting Rabbito is similar to many of the startups. One of the founder had to order food online for his mother from a far off restaurant. The restaurant was charging an exorbitant charge for delivering the food. This made him sense the opportunity of starting a food delivery App which will help people to order from far off restaurants within Trivandrum for a small delivery charge. The CEO of Rabbito, Anto Joseph along with his 3 friends did a market research for 8 months to understand the need and requirement of their potential users. They identified Kazhakootam , which is the location of Technopark Trivandrum, as their first location. This location was selected looking at the target group who had a need to order food online as well as were ready to explore new Apps.
Rabbito was launched on the 10th of March 2018 with approx 25 restaurants registered with them. In just 5 months almost 100+ restaurants have registered and they are now covering the entire Trivandrum city. The App download count currently stands at 5000+. It has been a slow and steady growth for the Rabbito team. Their team also has expanded from 5 to 30. Rabbito , as the name suggests, is looking to swiftly make its presence felt in the online food delivery business.
As per the founders the challenge is in regard with scaling it up at a quick pace and getting more customers. But they know the fact that it is not going to be an easy journey. They are improving the features of the App, expanding their team, etc. to enhance the growth.
Rabbito’s main focus is to give their customers a good experience. Customer centric delivery boys who are trained to be courteous are making sure that this part of the journey is trouble free.
NB restaurant which specialises in local delicacies is very happy to have partnered with Rabbito. Anil, the owner of NB restaurant says that “it was not financially practical for me to deliver just one packet of food to a distant customer , but now with Rabbito I don’t have to worry”
Jijo, who owns Chaakara restaurant, has also got similar thoughts : “I am getting lot of calls from new customers and Apps like Rabbito is helping us increase our reach”.
Rabbito is planning to start a toll free number for their customers to place their orders. This is especially to help people who are averse to technology, smartphone, etc.
Rabbito’s next move is to expand their reach to the neighbouring district Kollam. In addition to this they are focusing on increasing their restaurant tie ups in Thiruvananthapuram.
The challenge for Rabbito is going to hit them from two sides. One is from the major players like Zomato / Swiggy and second is from other local city based online food delivery Apps like Swapp, Pinstove etc. UberEats also have started their operations here.
Another challenge which is common for all the Apps and e-commerce platforms is that Indians use these platforms mainly to get discounts. Convenience is considered as the secondary advantage. So any App provider need to keep this in mind while opening their operations in India.
Rabbito is confident that their reach / coverage of city as well the strict delivery timelines will help them stand out from other Apps. As per Rabbito team, customer can order from any part of the city and food will be delivered to them within 45 minimum for just a nominal delivery charge. So a person sitting at Technopark can order food from his favourite restaurant which may be 12-13 kms away as well. Rabbito is trying to break the distance barrier by providing service across the city.
For a start-up to survive and grow : they need to quickly adapt and implement changes as per the requirement of customers. It will be great to see if small local technology based companies can create their own niche and provide an awesome service to the customers. If the customer is happy then he will definitely recommend / use the App again, so Customer experience is going to be very critical for any startup or rather any business to survive.
As the saying goes : ” When the going gets tough, the tough gets going” ; the startups which are ready to face the challenges and improve will be able to survive in this domain where such ideas are getting replicated by many new players.