is a website where customers can order food from their favourite restaurants, in cities across Africa. We operate across the continent, in 6 countries already and many more to come. In Lagos, we have a huge variety of cuisines and styles, with over 100 restaurants signed up
, and the top 5 fast food chains all about to join. The site makes it incredibly easy for someone to choose and order food they love online. We believe ordering food should be fast, fuss-free and fun!
We bring all the best restaurants in the city to one place online, and make it incredibly easy for the customer to order. So they can choose the food they love, or be surprised by something new, and order in 1 minute without even having to pick up the phone!
Hellofood was launched in Nigeria in October 2012 is now live in Nigeria, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Kenya and Ghana. Joe Falter Hellofood CEO, oversees the business in Africa, however Hellofood has outstanding country managers that run local operations in each country.
Do you report directly to Rocket Internet or Hellofood is an independent firm?
What problem do you solve?
There are a lot of great restaurants across African cities, but they’re hard to find. At the same time, with bad phone lines, it’s often difficult to understand restaurants when trying to place an order, often resulting in mistakes. We bring all the best restaurants in each city to one place online, and make it incredibly easy for the customer to order. So they can choose the food they love, or be surprised by something new, and order in 1 minute without even having to pick up the phone!
Hellofood is all about giving customers choice, and making their lives incredibly simple. There are plenty of things that cause stress in Africa, but ordering food shouldn’t be one of them! We know from customer feedback so far that Hellofood significantly reduces the time it takes to order food, while at the same time exposing customers to loads of restaurants they never knew existed. We meet people who are at the office late and don’t know which restaurants can deliver to them at that time; or parents who want to order something tasty and healthy for their family; or expats who are new to their city and don’t even know where to start when looking for restaurants. All these people are already getting a lot of value from Hellofood, and restaurants are happily serving these new customers!
How does it work?
A customer opens up www.hellofood.com
, and is automatically redirected to the local page for their country. They enter their area in a drop down menu, or select it from a map of the city, and are immediately shown a list of all the restaurants that deliver to their area. Each restaurant has its own page, where our team display their menu in a user-friendly, elegant way. Customers look through the menu, click on the items they would like, add toppings or choose variations where applicable, and that’s it! They enter their delivery address or delivery instructions, and the food is on its way to them. They receive SMS confirmation of the estimated delivery time as soon as we have confirmed it with the restaurant.
Take us through your features
We accept orders for delivery, for customer pickup, and for pre-order (for example, catered events that need to be planned in advance).
Restaurant menus are painstakingly uploaded in great detail, with all topping options and order variations accepted. A shopping cart feature allows customers to view their order shaping up live, updated with each new item. A team of content experts pore over each menu to ensure they are well-presented and easy to navigate.
Customers can call our teams 7 days a week, whenever the site is open. They can check up on their order, or simply call to ask which restaurants are good in town – our customer service teams are very well placed to make recommendations about restaurants and food options. Alternatively, if customers want to chat live with our operatives, they can do so using our instant message function on the homepage.
We have a mobile site live in Nigeria (mobile.hellofood.com.ng
), and in the next month will have a dedicated mobile app, available for free on Apple and Android app stores.
We also send out a newsletter with exclusive deals and offers to our large customer base each week.
How any restaurants per country so far?
Nigeria has well over 120 signed restaurants, with the top 5 fast food chains all about to join.
Any competition in any of the countries you are in?
We have seen some sites pop up, offering a similar concept. We quite like to have other players around – it helps educate the market, especially in our markets where we are often doing something that consumers have not experienced before. But regarding competition – we are already number one in almost all of our markets, and I am very confident in each of our country teams’ ability to not just be number one in the market, but totally own it.
How unique are you from them?
There are differences in all areas, from pricing, to range of restaurant partners, to user experience. Hellofood always aspires to have the greatest range of restaurants, prices that are no more expensive than ordering from the restaurant, and a sophisticated, easy to use website. Our sites are distinctive and pretty comprehensive – but there’s always room to get better!
This is Africa, and it is not the easiest place to do business! We run into infrastructure issues on a regular basis. However, we’re an internet company and have technology in place to work around it. For every process at Hellofood, we have a backup in case of technical failure. We can process orders by phone, email, SMS or fax, and it’s incredibly unusual that all of those would not be working. We have not yet had any orders that have failed because of weather or internet/phone downtime, even though there have been plenty of storms, and infrastructure problems since we started here.
We also learn from our experience in other countries. We have successfully set up food delivery businesses in Asia, South America and Europe, and bring a huge amount of experience and insight to Hellofood from those businesses.
Hellofood.com seems to be eyeing the pan African market. Why Africa?
The pan African market is the most exciting emerging e-commerce market in the world, and the huge investment pouring in from sophisticated investors around the world is evidence of that. The gigantic number of Africans online are looking online for an increasing number of their purchases, and food is one of them. We know from the restaurants Hellofood works with that business owners recognise the need to be online – they want in on the action! People in all our markets are very fast adopters of new technology, for example mobile banking in Nigeria is more prevalent than it is in the UK. That means that new concepts like Hellofood are accepted and adopted quickly.
Any upcoming developments?
We have a new iPhone and Android app launching in the next month, which will tap into the huge number of Africans who access the internet from mobile devices.
We also have several new country launches in the pipeline – watch this space!