Food is an item that connects and unites people across the world. With people in all regions of the globe eager to get their hands on good food and delicacies and to try out a wide range of cuisines, the accessibility of food items becomes a crucial factor. As technology advances, this factor has become easier to achieve. Being able to conveniently access our favorite food items has become a piece of cake with all the online food delivery applications, paving their way into our daily lives.
Don’t feel like leaving your house to grab some food today? That’s no longer an issue. Not when a few clicks allow food delivery apps to deliver you your meals directly on your doorsteps. One such food delivery app is Zomato.
"At Zomato what sets us apart is that we are a one-stop for everything - discovering places, looking up restaurant information, ordering food, booking tables - with more coming up" - Deepinder Goyal, the CEO of Zomato
Founded in the year of 2008, Zomato is a prominent platform for searching and discovering restaurants, placing food orders online as well as for making reservations in restaurants. The platform was founded by IIT graduates, Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah who had initially worked for New Delhi’s Bain & Co before they got together to start Zomato with its headquarters in Gurgaon (Gurugram). Zomato has established itself as a leader in discovering restaurants and placing orders in India, offering an advantage for both restaurants and customers.
Equipped with a tough review system, Zomato enables food lovers to discover the best meals and restaurants near their location. As per Zomato’s H1 FY2020 report, The number of restaurant listings globally on Zomato has escalated from 1.2m in Sep 2018 to 1.5m in Sep 2019.
Hyperpure Initiative - In order to focus on the food quality delivered to its users, the company launched the Hyperpure initiative. This initiative offers a bridge for responsible local farmers to associate with responsible restaurateurs, eliminating the customary middlemen for ensuring that the served food ingredients are free from contamination.
Zomato Pro Initiative - Zomato had recently launched its Zomato Gold initiative, which following 1st August 2020 has been christened to Zomato Pro. It is a paid service that allows customers with this pro membership, access to perks like complimentary food and drinks while placing orders with partner restaurants and bars as well as the perk of priority delivery on Zomato and a variety of other advanced offers.
Cloud Kitchen Initiative - In alliance with Loyal Hospitality, in this initiative the operators arrange, bundle, and deliver food without facilitating any dine-in service to end-users.
Zomaland- Zomaland is a carnival that features the top chefs and restaurants from across the Indian nation, accompanied by fun rides, and performances from renowned musicians. The platform also claims that the festival will be featuring games, photo booths, street performances, as well as an area for kids to enjoy and have fun.
Feeding India Initiative - In July of 2019, Zomato acquired Feeding India, an NGO with the aim of serving at least 100 million underprivileged people each month, in the future years.
Amidst the COVID19 crisis, the organization has been attempting to keep people satiated, in particular the population of migrant and daily wage workers. This led to the birth of the “Feed the Daily Wagers" initiative in late March of 2020. In this initiative, the users can donate money (Rs 500) for one family, Rs. 1500 (for 3 families) and Rs. 2500 (for 5 families). This raised funding from the public aims to aid the organization in administering ration kits and supporting the community.
The Business Model of Zomato
Initially, Zomato’s main source of revenue had been the featured advertisements on its portal as well as the commissions it charged to the restaurants. The platform operates on a commission business model.
In its FY19 financial report, Zomato mentioned that it no longer considers advertising as its sole source of revenue. Presently, the food delivery platforms perceive its business as a blend of three fundamental pillars namely, Delivery, Dining Out, and Sustainability.
It all began when Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah who were residing in their office in New Delhi, encountered various people who had been made to wait for a prolonged period of time just for the purpose of acquiring a glimpse of the menu card. Observing this, the idea of developing a solution occurred to the minds of the two, which led to the birth of ‘Foodiebay’.
Initially starting out in Delhi they uploaded the soft copies of menu cards on their website, leading to all office members adopting this, which helped the users save a great deal of time. This also helped enhance their website’s traffic which led to it expanding and becoming accessible to everyone in the city. Their service was also expanded to cities like Mumbai and Kolkata.
As the user base and growth rate of Foodiebay expanded exponentially, the founders made the decision of revamping it and making it international, which is what led to the birth of Zomato, as we know it today. In the year of 2010, Foodiebay was officially rechristened to Zomato.
Recently, one policy introduced by the Zomato platform has created an uproar among the public. This is the platform’s “period leave” policy. This policy which is generally uncommon among large global organizations allows up to 10 days of period leave in a year and also applies to transgender employees.
This policy has been considered to be a pretty bold move in addressing the legendary taboo in the Indian nation where the topic of periods continues to be addressed with a great degree of caution.
“There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave. You should feel free to tell people on internal groups, or emails that you are on your period leave for the day.” - Zomato’s founder and chief executive officer Deepinder Goyal
The company clarified that its employees can appeal for period leave through an HR portal. In case of any employees encountering harassment for availing this leave, a sexual harassment team will be established in place.
Having started in 2010, by 2011 Zomato had managed to expand itself exponentially by establishing a monopoly in Delhi NCR and extending across other Indian cities which include Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, as well as Ahmedabad.
Zomato’s launch of its mobile application has also been a massive factor in the platform’s growth.
By the year 2012, Zomato fully started its overseas operations, in countries like UAE, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, Philippines, as well as Qatar.
In 2013, Turkey, Brazil, and New Zealand were also added to the platform’s long record of expansion.
In the year 2017, the platform stated that it was running profitably in all 24 countries and it had introduced a zero-commission model. The company claimed that its revenue grew by 81% in this particular year.
In early 2020, Zomato acquired the Indian operations of Uber Eats, the food delivery operations led by Uber, for an amount of around $350 million (Rs 2,485 crore), as reported by the Economic Times.
Zomato’s revenue for the financial year ended March 31, 2020, more than doubled to $394 million, as reported by the Economic Times.
The funding history of Zomato began when Sanjeev Bikhchandani of Naukri.com invested around US$ 1 million into the platform through Info Edge (India).
In 2011, Zomato raised US$ 3.5 million through the same investors as well as US$ 10 million in the year of 2012. The platform’s other investors include Sequoia Capital, Vy Capital, and Temasek. Info Edge (India) continues to hold a majority of shares of Zomato.
Zomato’s most recent funding was close to $5 million (Rs 38.20 crore) which it raised from Pacific Horizon Investment Trust, a fund managed by British investment manager Baillie Gifford.
From a restaurant search and discovery website to a famous and renowned online food delivery platform, Zomato’s traveled a long way. Through its successful and interesting initiatives and policies, it will be interesting to observe how the company further expands and boosts its operations.
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