In recent weeks, a variety of opinion pieces have popped up on the interwebs, each claiming that the economics of on-demand food are toast! However, our own experience in the online food space gives us great conviction that super-normal economics are achievable if the model is crafted right.
Here are the ingredients of the theory being floated by the doomsayers of online food:
Therefore, the pundits say that aggregator margins barely pay for the cost of delivery and as a result, the unit economics don’t work. What the pundits miss, however, is that restaurant aggregation is not the only way to scale on-demand food, and there is another approach that works.
The secret ingredient
The secret ingredient that dramatically changes the economics of the space is the ‘full-stack’ approach to on-demand food. Full-stack food players operate a tightly controlled supply chain, managing everything from cloud kitchens right up to the last-mile delivery to the customer. By doing so, we at Eatfresh are able to control and guarantee every aspect of the customer food experience, from ingredients, hygiene, packaging to delivery times.
Full-stack players offer great advantages to the on-demand ecosystem at large:
Proof of scalability in the full-stack space already exists – Jubilant Foodworks (Domino’s Pizza India) became a unicorn long before the word was in vogue, and similar opportunities abound in virtually every food vertical in India.
Our own experience in the space has established that the full-stack approach to on-demand food is a recipe for success – but how you cook it still matters!
Rajiv Subramanian is the founder of food-tech startup Eatfresh.com.
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