Aggressive hiring, marketing and loyalty programmes in making: How is Ola resurrecting foodpanda

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After e-commerce and payments, food delivery segment has been experiencing a lot of action. Since the beginning of this year, Swiggy and Zomato have collectively raised over $500 million in risk capital. With over 16 million orders, Swiggy is leading the space while Zomato has been approaching the scale of Meituan-backed company swiftly. It claims to have about 13 million monthly order run rate.

The distant third player UberEats does about 2 million order a month followed by Ola-owned foodpanda. Currently, it delivers about 1.8 million orders on a monthly basis. Interestingly, ever since its acquisition, foodpanda has silently been ramping up its bet in food delivery segment.

Soon after acquiring foodpanda, Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder, and CEO of Ola, had deputed his longtime lieutenant Pranay Jivrajka to steer food delivery business. Besides Jivrajka, Ola had moved at least half a dozen team members including Nitin Gupta to foodpanda. Gupta heads technology function for foodpanda.

After placing a strong leadership team, foodpanda is now getting aggressive in key cities such as Bengaluru, Delhi (NCR) and Mumbai. “Two manpower suppliers including InnoSource in Bengaluru got a mandate to hire over 3,500 delivery boys in Bengaluru while multiple vendors were asked to hire the similar number of field staffs in Delhi (NCR),” reveal two sources aware of the hiring plan.

Sources requested anonymity as they aren’t authorized to speak to media.

“This is just the beginning. Foodpanda has evolved an aggressive growth plan for the next six months. By the end of this calendar year, it wants to dethrone UberEats from the third place,” point out the sources.

According to internal plan, foodpanda has set a target to achieve 5 million monthly order run rate by December this year. Besides, strengthening position in metros, foodpanda is eyeing strong foothold in tier II cities. “Online food ordering in cities such as Jaipur and Bhopal are in the nascent stage. Foodpanda has identified at least four cities including aforementioned two for this fiscal,” add sources.

Importantly, Aggarwal himself has been monitoring growth plans for foodpanda. “Bhavish sees a  huge potential in food delivery business. He works very closely with foodpanda leadership team,” says one of the sources.

Recently, foodpanda has begun an aggressive marketing campaign in Bengaluru. Two weeks ago, it started offering up to 70 per cent discount across many restaurants. For an instance, two weeks ago milkshakes by a popular brand Keventers had been sold on foodpanda for mere Re 1 in Bengaluru.

“Similar sort of consumer acquisition strategy is underway for other cities including Delhi,” say sources.

Apart from luring customers, foodpanda is also accelerating engagement with restaurant partners. On the lines of Zomato, it plans to introduce a minimal commission fee for restaurants. Since diners and online ordering consumers have been showing decent appetite towards subscription, foodpanda is also devising strategies for it.

“An internal team of about 20 people have been set up to explore various aspect of subscription and loyalty programmes. Foodpanda would start testing such programmes either by Diwali or by the year end,”  said the sources.

While battle for food delivery market is being lately fought between Swiggy and Zomato, foodpanda has turned aggressive under the leadership of Jivrajka and Aggarwal. Since Ola is one of the handful companies that have been outperforming and maintaining its lead over mighty rival (Uber), it would be exciting to watch how it resurrects foodpanda.

*Entrackr has tried speaking to Ola/foodpanda spokesperson on all above aspects, however, the company has declined to comment on anything about foodpanda.

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