Rocket Internet’s Hellofood is a new online delivery service in Kenya, managed by a group of problem solvers, designers, thinkers and tinkers to provide a powerful online tool for food delivery. The portal had a soft launch around the 10th of January and began full operations January 21.
Founded by Rocket internet and known as Food Panda in Asia, the Hellofood brand has been launched in include: Nigeria, Morocco, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal.
TechMoran caught up with the Nairobi team and this is what they shared with us.
What problem do you solve?
We solve a problem for both the restaurants that we include on our site, and for the customer that orders from these various restaurants. The restaurants that we have on the Hellofood platform have access a whole new channel of customers that they might never have had access to reach through conventional means. It also solves the problem of congestion at their premise during on-peak hours, and by so doing, virtually increasing the size of the restaurant for more customers.
For the customers, we give them a choice of restaurants to choose from within their proximity. We’re giving customers another way to order their food, aside from doing it physically from the restaurant, or making a call. Our service that allows them to view the restaurant’s menu, and in a fun and convenient way, they can place an order for not only themselves, but for a group of people. They can do this at their own pace and at whatever time they please. So if you are in your office and can’t leave, or in your house ordering food for a gathering (Chama, family gathering etc) Hellofood.co.ke is there help.
How does it work?
- The service is built to be location centered. Meaning, before an order is made, the customer must outline/ select the area e.g. Ngong Road, Karen etc
- A list of restaurants within that area is generated and the customer then selects a menu.
- After the menu page loads, they make their order by adding items to their shopping cart. Their subtotal is clearly seen on the right end of the page so they can keep track of their order.
- Once they are done and would like to check out, they select ‘ORDER NOW’.
- If they are a returning customer, the system already has their details and they are not required to sign up again. However if they are first time customers, they will need to register an account outlining basic details as well as their location information.
- A verification process is conducted between the Hellofood servers and the customer’s phone.
- The order is automatically transmitted to the Hellofood customer experience team as well as the restaurant.
- The customer is called to confirm the order.
- Food is delivered.
Take us through your features.
Our main feature is the ordering function. Customers can view restaurant’s menus and order food to be delivered to them. However we also have another exciting feature which facilitates customer’s orders not only through delivery but also through a ‘pick-up’ option. Meaning if they don’t want to walk to the restaurant, wait in line, make an order, and go through more waiting. They can make an order on the Hellofood site, select ‘pick-up’ instead of delivery, and allocate a time they will pick the order up. The restaurant just ensures their meal is ready at that time.
Customers can filter through restaurants through an array of constraints including:
- With discounts
- By cuisine
- Minimum order value
Most importantly there are no extra costs for using our service, it is the same as if you were ordering from the restaurant directly. In fact this month we have an on-going promotion, granting a 25% discount on every customer’s first time order.
On the subject of promotions, the site has functionalities for restaurants to use in the case of their promotional activities. Which means if any of the restaurants have a special discount on one of their meals once a week, then this can be reflected on their online menu quite easily?
How many merchants/ restaurants using the site so far?
We have 40 active restaurants on the site so far. With many more being activated over the next few months. Our goal is to have all delivering restaurants in Nairobi on board by the end of the year.
What is your business model?
We are an online platform; our business model is to deliver convenience directly to the customer. Cutting out everyday inconveniences, and providing a seamless online experience.
Any competition in any of the countries you are in?
In Kenya yes we do have some competitors in Kenya, however Rocket Internet does not operate with competition in mind, they come into a market and attack it as if they are first comers.
How unique are you from them?
- We are unique in our marketing; Rocket Internet is the largest online marketing venture company outside of the US; the marketing possibilities are beyond measure. The restaurants on the platform receive the best marketing of their brands.
- The website is completely functional from meal selection to order placement;most of our competitors only have functionality for viewing of menus and provide a phone number to make the order. Hellofood has functionality for orders to be made without the customer making any calls.
- We have the most restaurants on the site. We cater to all, no matter your budget or preference, there is a restaurant for you. Other competitors have up to 15 or so vendors, we have over 40 and counting!
- We have a mobile site (mobile.hellofood.co.ke) and an android application available on the Playstore available for download as well. This further increases convenience for the customer to make their order.
- Our customer service team operates in real time and communicate with the customer/restaurant as fast as possible to sort out any issues.
- Restaurants have an option to push all their promotional activities through us, giving customers access to sweet deals.
Does Rocket Internet run the firm directly or you guys are independent?
We run independently under Rocket Internet.
Changing Kenyan’s mindset to trust e-commerce ventures and try out the service has been a challenge, there is a sense of skepticism, however we are seeing this reduce as more and more people try out the service.
Any upcoming developments, like this month, next month or in a few months?
Expect the mobile application on the Playstore as well as a major change to the www.hellofood.co.ke website to further optimize the flow of the ordering process.