Online food-delivery platforms are swiftly expanding choice and convenience nowadays, allowing customers to order from a wide array of restaurants with a single tap of their mobile phone.
Recently, Facebook has reportedly worked on rolling out an option to order food straight from its app, without the need of having to open up a separate restaurant page or switch to a different app. According to reports, the Order Food option appears right on the app or web menu and gives you a direct shortcut to placing an order. As of now it is only being tested with a select number of users in the US for the time being. According to Tech Crunch, “there's no fixed timescale for it to roll out to everyone.”
In Lebanon, online delivery platforms have dug their heels into the Lebanese market since 2008, and they’ve been changing the restaurant business and our eating habits massively. While Facebook hasn’t been to hand to people in Lebanon, Zomato, Onlivery, Tablet online and Toters are considered the unbeaten apps through which people order their meals in the mid of their hustle and bustle not having to go into any human interaction.
Now, the controversy is what would be the case when Facebook Delivery app gets to one’s fingertips? And in particular, how does this trend hold fast to market’s needs?
BIM POS discusses this matter with Zomato and Onlivery Lebanon in attempt to understanding how both platforms work indispensably, and to somewhat draw some insights on the future of food delivery apps.
Here’s what Zomato’s regional general manger Bechara Haddad, and marketing manager Mira Noueihed have to tell us;
A Closer Look at Zomato – A Surpassing App
Zomato is a global app developed in 2008 that facilitates searching and discovering restaurants, providing in-depth information for over 1.4 million restaurants across 22 countries. Zomato is able to provide detailed information for over 5,000 restaurants in Lebanon.
Zomato success goes back to:
The menu updating feature of Zomato allows you to make changes in the app real time. This means that whenever a change is made through the Zomato back-end app, the same is instantly reflected in the app menu. This ensures no mix-ups in the order and provides a quick and smooth ordering experience for the customers.
The user-friendly User Interface (UI) of Zomato Ordering App provides an easy access for users. Customers can select their preferred order type; if it’s a takeaway or a delivery order. Interestingly, customers can save and manage multiple addresses, history orders, and favorite orders.
POS progress plan at Zomato is being studied to ensure that all orders received from the mobile ordering app get directly pushed to the POS terminal of the selected outlet. This plan is in a straight line linked to solve the biggest challenge restaurants have been dealing with, that is re-punching each and every order detail after they are being received through the app.
BIM POS firmly believes that POS integration is a big concern Bechara. Yet, don’t you see it very challenging to build a POS software on your own whereas big players in the field have developed thousands of features that took them very long time that you can easily integrate instead?
If there’s anything we love here at Zomato, it’s a good challenge! We are constantly revamping our platform to fit the industry’s changes and needs.
Now, if we want to relate to Facebook; users can find the new option “Order Food” in the Explore menu, where you can then browse area restaurants and click “Start Order” when you know what you want; how does Zomato app work?
Users can find what they’re looking for in different ways on Zomato. If they’re deciding on what their next meal is, there’s a big “Order Food Online” button on the home page of both application and website. They are then redirected to a list of all restaurants delivering to their area.
Facebook has been developing a deeper relationship with food ordering businesses for some time. Do you see any partnership potential with Facebook?
Nothing has been mentioned – No. Well, depends on Facebook insights for this app and what opportunities this feature might bring as it is partnering with several industry players on this effort, including EatStreet, Delivery.com. I believe they are aware extra partnerships will be needed before this arrives outside the US.
Give us one basic similarity and one difference between Facebook app and Zomato?
The main similarity is something all applications have in common: a platform for users to explore, interact and share opinions and views.The main difference is that Zomato is an application only dedicated to the F&B industry.
That being said; my question is do you see Facebook Food Delivery app as competing with Zomato?
I basically do not see Facebook food delivery app as competing with Zomato. I believe, locally, restaurant owners in Lebanon seem to be delighted with Zomato.
“Zomato is also embracing the social aspect of food, where every week the team organizes foodie meetups so they connect their most active users over a meal during which they discover a new restaurant, which Facebook app cannot offer; this and other features discussed earlier make the Zomato experience different,” Bechara adds.
Onlivery: Challenges and Local Competition
Onlivery is another leading online food deliver platform with more than 600 restaurants connecting hungry diners all across the nation. Adhering to international standards in food delivery, Onlivery is the only company that has an app with delivery workforce. So in case a restaurant does not avail in delivery drivers, Onlivery offers order pickup and delivery direct to the customer. Onlivery founder Daniel Kofdrali has a say on some major challenges in the online food app business.
Seeing this trend going viral, lately personalized by Facebook; where is this trend going? Do you see people refraining from dining out?
People dining out will remain a psychological need – one needs to change eating habits and space; but delivery is definitely on the increase as people leisure time is on a decrease and our lives have got much more complicated.
How would you compete with Zomato when they develop their POS software?
To start with, we really do not see Zomato as competitors. We are all accomplices in changing user’s habit from traditional phone to online. On the POS front, any restaurant that accepts exclusivity is literally killing any potential for growth; by growth here I mean new and dormant users.
Are you going to build your own POS software?
We are not in the space, and we do not intend to venture into a specialty that we have no expertise in yet. However, we are very open for common collaborations and synergies.
Why don't you collaborate with POS software companies? Is it an option?
It is a necessity and should be coming soon.
With an increasingly fast-paced lifestyle and reliance on digital technology, we're seeing greater demand for simple and easy services that can provide consumers with what they need in an instant. In the US, empirical data suggests that 70% of all food delivery or takeout orders are placed via mobiles as mobile phones are the most preferred medium of internet browsing.
Since the new feature Facebook Delivery app is currently in testing phase, and just in US for now, it will be a while before we see it come to the Middle East. However, once it does, will you switch over from other apps? And what else do we expect out of the online delivery apps?
Chances are big as great minds in the field are always geared up to surprise us.