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How to Break the Clutter and Create a Niche as a Food Delivery Start-up Understanding every individual's taste and keeping them happy is what would lead to providing an exceptional service

By Srikanth Balakumar

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This is a space that is getting infinitely cluttered by the day. So it is important to ensure that companies who are entering the food-delivery start-up space have a USP and work towards highlighting that in order to break away from the herd.

Start by setting up a marketplace to capitalize on a segment that you feel is being underserved. Identify the customers that you're going to cater to and why they would be looking for a service like yours in the first place.

With technology being the key to the business, look for zero dependencies on 3rd parties, as much as possible, development should be in-house and your MVP should be a tweak of an open source tool, and not be based on a comparison of features from an existing website or app. Stick to features that help provide your primary service. A pinch of this and a dash of that will create confusion and not much else.

Identifying a niche is really important. Being able to sustain a quality service without any compromise or shortcuts, even after competing with big players and their offers is a small achievement on its own. It's a tough battle and can be an immense learning curve. One such segment in the food delivery space is home-cooked food. Food from homes across a city is a great way to get good food out in the marketplace without comparatively heavy overheads.

A food delivery start-up would interact with 3 sets of people on a daily basis; they come with high expectations and keep a close watch on costs.

Delivery partners are now used to steady incomes, good incentives and frown on any unique delivery optimization idea like order batching.

Chefs or vendors in the marketplace would be mostly homemakers with a passion to cook, but not with much marketing zeal. When given a chance to showcase their talent, the end result would a bunch of happy customers.

Customers specifically looking for home-cooked food are not easy to acquire. Each customer looking for this kind of food has a personal taste and preference. At an average, you would find that a household with 2, can have 3 completely different sets of taste and preferences.

Understanding each set and keeping them happy is what would lead to providing an exceptional service.

Use a multi-channel approach

Be present on all possible channels, both online and offline, focus on marketing via mobile devices, text messaging, social media, search engine optimization, standees at locations with a high footfall and flyers. Each campaign should have a clear goal, reporting mechanism and not a spray and pray method.

Explore content marketing, let it lead the way

With a majority of people looking for a service on Google, it's really important being on the first page of the results. Having a well-optimized website with well-researched content and user reviews will get you to a high ranking position. Following a content calendar at least for the upcoming month for your blog and across all relevant social networks is a must.

Extend the best support to all

Top notch support should not be limited only to your customers; delivery partners and chefs should have their own lines of support and knowledge base. It's good to have a multi-lingual website/app and support. Constant feedback has to be captured at different stages of the process and improvised.

A lot has changed in the food delivery space and the above approaches help to build better relations between the business, working partners and the customers. A simple plan and perfect execution would lead to a better brand image and help the startup stand out in the market.

Srikanth Balakumar

Co-Founder - Oota Box

Srikanth Balakumar is the co- founder of OotaBox Service LLP. He completed his Bachelor’s in Computer Application from Bangalore University in 2009. A self-taught entrepreneur Srikanth understands what it takes to run a business and the need to maintain a healthy balance between client and team management.

Apart from Oota Box, Srikanth is also co-founder at Gymer and Idea Labz. Skilled at team management, Srikanth also possesses a nuanced understanding of market strategies. Ideating and self-motivation are two of his biggest strengths, while travelling and bikes are two of his greatest passions.

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