Ambareen Reza from Food Panda shared its recipe for success
By Mehrin Mubdi Chowdhury
How do you manage your time since you are actively involved with both Rocket Internet and food panda?
Rocket internet is a global startup incubator. I brought the company to Bangladesh in 2009. Since then, Rocket Internet Bangladesh has had many ventures like Carmudi, Lamudi, food panda, Kaymu, Daraz, Everjobs and more ventures are coming up. Each venture is headed by a dynamic and a competent team in Bangladesh and thus I do not have to look into their business tactics. Whenever there is a new opportunity or venture by Rocket Internet, I get actively involved dealing with strategic collaborations and related discussions. Other than these times I can solely concentrate on food panda.
Who do you see as your target audience for food panda and how are you reaching them?
Our main customers are students and people from the middle to upper middle income groups who spend most of their time at work. These people may not have the time to prepare food after long hours at the office/college/ university. So the most convenient option is to order online and easily get warm food within half an hour. The most advantageous part for food panda is that the clientele are young and tech savvy and thus reaching them has been quite easy with the customer friendly mobile apps of the company.
What was the most difficult part of establishing food panda in Bangladesh?
Definitely logistics was the main issue at the beginning. Our clientele are very smart and food panda was received extremely well by them and as such, the orders came in large amounts. We had a hard time at the beginning to meet all the demands. Back then, food panda had a logistics partner but today in order to improve clientele reach, we have taken over the logistics company and have more than 150 riders to perfectly meet our current client demands.
The second hassle that we faced was educating our business partners, the restaurant owners. When we entered the market, the concept was fairly new plus small restaurants in old town that have been doing traditional business — selling directly to clients for years, naturally, had a hard time understanding what we do. They thought we are a delivery company! But we got over those days, after seeing what we did and how we did it, they finally understood.
What advantage does food panda have over its competitors?
We have many advantages few of the prominent ones would be:
• As a venture, food panda is a global product with a localised team. So our products are of a global standard but our local team knows exactly how to meet the needs of our clientele.
• Our technical functionality is much updated. We have set GPRS printers in our enlisted restaurants. As soon as our call center gets an order, the address is printed out by the GPRS printer with details of the order so that no mistakes are made at any end
• We have the maximum number of restaurants enlisted with our brand – food panda, over six hundred and fifty.
• We have introduced an online payment system via IOS app, which is currently all the rage in the online food market.
• We are very much customer oriented and we take pride in our dealings where we prioritise them the most. Our customer complaints are resolved within 24 hours and we have a 75% success rate, which is quite high considering we are a startup.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
It has already been one and a half years since the initiation. We are now ready to take the company from being a startup to an established company by going public at some point. I am super excited with the prospect.
What do you look for when you offer jobs at food panda?
We are always taking in new people for our business growth. Our current team consists of smart, friendly young and ambitious individuals.
At food panda, our motto is to serve customers and look after them and so when we recruit new employees we search for people who are friendly and willing to find solutions swiftly to any problem, in order to keep customers happy.
Ambareen Reza’s advice for E-commerce startups
Know what your product is
Have a plan and keep on improvising till its perfect
Know your target audience well and think of creative ways to address them
Prioritize your customers in every way so that they are made to feel special