It all began in 2011 when Parthiv Patel together with Apurv Patel started Petpooja as a food delivery platform for corporates. With this business model, they achieved a respectable mark in two years: serving over 200 corporates by partnering with 300+ restaurants. But, in the process, they realized that because of the lack of appropriate technology, there were tremendous operational inefficiencies and the restaurant processes were not scalable. A close look at these restaurants’ daily struggles led them to innovate the brand into coherent Restaurant Management software.
From providing an operating system to restaurants that includes inventory management, customer relationship management (CRM), online ordering, payments, and analytics, Petpooja’s software provides service to over 25,000 restaurants across India, UAE, and Africa, with over 1.5 million daily orders logged on the platform recording an annualized gross merchandise value of $2.5 billion.
Building an omni-channel approach
Before starting a business and going into the deep there’s always a question in an entrepreneur’s mind on which channel should they build their brand on. In the last 2-3 years, we have seen businesses expand themselves in the online space to larger extent. Also, brands/players that were into an offline setup have entered into the online space. “Every channel is important to engage with customer but we have seen more and more hybrid approach is coming when opening a brand,” said Parthiv Patel Co-Founder, Petpooja by adding that a typical cloud-kitchen with only online presence has the highest failure rate as compared to a hybrid concept that has both online and offline presence. Also, if you look at examples and data, in the last 2-3 years we have seen major brand like Anjan Chatterjee’s Speciality Restaurants, Impresario Handmade Restaurants and Foodlink Restaurants enter into the delivery/cloud-kitchen segment.
Customer engagement is the key
First and more important thing for a brand is to connect with the right set of the customer. And as a brand you need to reach out to them through every possible channel- SMS, Social media, Whatsapp, email and so on. Also, when we look at large restaurant organizations; they are always keen on building customer relationships and are poised for marketing and experimenting with techniques and ideas. But for smaller brands where they do not want to focus on marketing and customer engagement; it is need of the hour. And, that’s where the loyalty apps, CRM, POS etc enter into the market to scale the business to connect to new set of customers so at the end of the day you can deliver a fantastic experience to the customer.
Content is the power
“Seamless integration is important. You have to literally build a gold content before posting it online. Many a time what we have seen is that brand has ignored the content creation forgetting that it is the base, it has to go with the brand,” added Patel who is also trying to solve that problem through one more product where restaurants can choose the content according to their need and post it on social platforms and across media to market them well.
Automation is need of the hour
Gone are the days when brands used to rely on humans. It’s the era of digitization, automation. From robots serving your favourite food at the restaurant to technologies managing operations and order management, the whole ecosystem of food business has changed. Also, many a times people think that automation means removing of humans but it is about working in tandem with the humans. Nobody ever think that what would be the cost per order at the scale and that’s where brands are struggling. For eg; IT managers at restaurants were always focusing on what they need in terms of what is the requirement at the restaurant but they never focused on what’s required. Hence, we can say that customization is easy to build, difficult to maintain. And, that’s where automation enters.
Though, the pandemic has been a watershed moment for the restaurant at foodservice sector at large, digital adoption is the need of the hour as consumers these days are looking for digital touch-points, contactless dining/ ordering and delivery as major innovation. Given the current industry outlook and the evolution, large scale technology adoption is imperative to increase the efficiency of operations, control pilferage, manage online channels and keep costs under control.