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INTERVIEW

“We expect sales of Rs 9 to 10 cr in first calendar year”
Monday, 22 February, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Foody’s is a B2B and B2C food delivery vertical at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad. The company delivers quality food from reputed and popular restaurants to air passengers at the distantly located international airport. The company is setting up similar operations in three other major cities. It has set up two physical stores, one at departures and one at arrivals at the Hyderabad airport.
In an email interaction, Naeem Khan, CEO, Foody’s, shared his insights about company’s funding, competitors, sales and more, with Vijetha Iyer. Excerpts:

Tell us about your funding and start-up ecosystem.
We have been funded by a group of High Net Worth Technocrats who see tremendous opportunity in our differentiated business model. We are happy to have their very deep understanding of technologies and businesses. Top restaurants, airport owners and travel apps form the crux of an ecosystem and we're proud of the support we get from them in our efforts to create and build this new exciting market.    
 
How did you come up with the idea of developing the venture?
Delivering quality food from reputed and popular restaurants to air passengers at the distantly located international airport at Hyderabad has been the basis of a new untapped market strategy for us. Most airports offer the regular fare of MNC quick-service restaurants to air travellers. But true local flavours are never found at any airport. A case in point - Hyderabad, known across the world for the many popular biryani restaurants that dot the landscape, not one of these brand are available at the airport. We have corrected this anomaly. Now, Shadab from the precincts of the old city of Hyderabad, a brand of biryani that over the last 40 years has consistently been rated the best is available to the air passenger. Bawarchi, another legendary biryani restaurant along with Rayalaseema Ruchulu for South Indian delicacies are also part of our airport offering. Ohri's, a leading chain for quality North Indian cuisine along with the Vegan Terrassen Café, complete the varied bouquet of flavours that it has on offer.

Be it the best Hyderabadi biryani, the best Andhra biryani, authentic butter chicken with rice or healthy vegan coleslaw sandwiches from Terrassen cafe, we have the best aggregated menu from the most reputed of restaurants under one roof at the Hyderabad airport. More significantly, newer restaurants and menus will be added on as per the likes and preferences of the air passenger. Constantly changing and specially crafted menus from these iconic restaurants will ensure a surprise to the air travellers every time they fly.

How is your company different from that of competitors?
In India, this concept is the first-of-its-kind. Ours is the first B2B2C (Business to Business to Consumer) food delivery vertical in this country. You will find no other brand collaborating with popular restaurants from the city to deliver the city's signature cuisines at the airport.

What are the challenges you faced while launching your brand?
Creating and establishing a new marketplace comes with its challenges. In our case, our challenges came mainly through selling the concept to the airport owners as this has not been done before and we are the first B2B2C food aggregation and delivery platform. Packaging is another area where we had to research and experiment before we could conclude on our final option, especially given health and hygiene concerns in this Covid period. We also had to develop our technology from scratch as our requirements are specific and plug-in POS software is not ideal for us.   

How are your sales post-Covid-19?
There has been a healthy growth in traffic over the last fortnight. While the pre-Covid traffic levels seem a little far away, we are getting a rousing welcome and traction from existing travellers. We expect to garner sales of approximately Rs 9 to 10 crore in our first calendar year of operations. With expansion through other airports and diverse new verticals we hope to grow bigger and faster.

How are you ensuring safety of food while working with flavour partners under the new normal?
We ensure 100 per cent safety and hygiene of the food we serve. This is done through a specialised tamper- and leakage-proof packaging solution that we have developed. Our promise is 'Restaurant kitchen to customer' without any touching, repackaging or any interference from our staff. Backed up by the fact that all our partner restaurants are fully FSSAI compliant, our food tastes as good as it is safe.

Do you have any offers for your regular customers?
I think more than the offers what essentially pulls in a customer to our kiosk/counter is the quality of food being offered. We are amazed by the overwhelming response to the concept. It clearly shows people's desire to taste authentic Hyderabadi cuisine during transit.

Do you deliver food only on Hyderabad airport or at different places as well?
Currently, we have two kiosks, one at arrival and another at departures in Hyderabad airport. We have 3 more verticals in the pipeline which will be announced at the appropriate time. We intend to first establish ourselves at airports.

Online food delivery platforms are said to expand at a CAGR of +33% over the forecast period 2020-2026. What is your view on the same?
Yes, absolutely. The ease, convenience, flexibility, variety of choices and lightning speed of delivery have been the key factors propelling consumer's interest towards online food delivery platforms. There is no doubt that this segment will see a steep growth in the next 6 - 10 years.

Tell us about your partnership with Makemytrip and Goibibo.
Our business model is a mix of online driven sales and brick and mortar. While presales are being driven primarily through our app, the real clincher is the tie-up that the company has entered into with India's largest air travel booking conglomerate, the MMT Group (MakeMyTrip).

Our menu is live on MakeMyTrip and Goibibo apps, thereby driving sales with all its customers who book air tickets. So one needs to book delicious local cuisine food order at the airport while booking tickets.

To ensure proper service and timely delivery, we have set up two physical stores, one at departures and one at arrivals at the Hyderabad airport. These stores serve as delivery points to all customers who book their food online either through the MMT Group, Goibibo or through our app. These stores also contribute substantially to sales by serving walk-in customers with their favourite food. Hence we have a healthy mix of digital and brick and mortar business models.
 
Do you have any physical stores in Hyderabad?
We cater to airport and bulk orders.
 
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