CHENNAI: From pizzas, biriyanis, soups, starters, curries, tea to jars of sweet delicacies, Chennaites have now been constantly ordering in through delivery apps like Zomato, Swiggy and the new entrant in town — UberEats. In fact, having every day meals for consumers has evolved to a point where food delivery has become a must-have feature for every restaurant, big or small.
“The delivery feature in restaurants improves customer satisfaction, increases reach, and also boosts profits for restaurant. Since we launched in Chennai, the number of restaurant partners on our platform has increased four-fold,” says Bhavik Rathod, head, Uber Eats India.
Deterred by urban challenges of long working hours, traffic and parking concerns, Chennaites, especially youngsters, are turning to delivery apps to enjoy a meal in the comforts of their homes and offices. “Chennai loves to order in. We have seen spikes in dinner orders on weekends but lunch orders are predominantly higher here. While lunch combos and mini meals are a hit during weekdays, biryani and varieties of dosas are a hit over the weekends,” he shares.
“In an already tough restaurant landscape, where new restaurants emerge and disappear every month, technology has a growing role to play, changing the way people eat,” shares the official spokesperson of Swiggy. Chennai is a key market for Swiggy. “We have consistently seen an increase in the number of daily orders, ever since we began operations in November 2015.”
Today, over 2,200 restaurants in the city are digitally accessible to customers through Swiggy, and Chennaites have been able to savour food from a host of restaurants, ranging from QSRs, to popular eateries to trendy new cafes in the city, including Pantry d’or, Double Roti, Ciclo Cafe, Amethyst and Chamiers Cafe.
Currently clocking three million orders a month across the country, Naren Devanathan, team lead, online ordering, Zomato, shares, “We get over 50,000 unique users in Chennai on the Zomato app every day. The average user orders around four times a month. We’ve seen some customers order upto 50 times a month.”
Another plus for these apps are customer-centric features like lightning fast delivery, no requirement on minimum order quantity, live order tracking (Swiggy), the optimisation to function in low connectivity, scheduling orders to be delivered at a particular time everyday (UberEats) and also delivering to external locations. “There’s a steady increase in new customers, and loyal customers order as often as 15-20 times a month,” says the official.
According to Swiggy’s order analysis for 2016, in addition to traditional dishes like idli, dosa and pongal, Chennaiites like chicken fried rice and paneer butter masala. “It also revealed Chennaiites love to snack on chaats, sandwiches, shawarmas, momos, rolls and coffee,” shares the spokesperson and highlights a recent report by Redseer, which showed that Chennai was the sixth city to cross the mark of 10,000 daily online food orders after Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune.
Even home baking is picking up across Chennai, with more than 50 bakers operating out of homes and/or placing orders through such platforms. “Theobroma, cupcakes, brownies and anything to do with red velvet and cream cheese are extremely popular,” shares Nithya, a popular blogger and adds about the ‘Vegan diet’. “Ever since the vegan diet started trending in the city you have restaurant startups delivering to that niche crowd as well! People even order in juices and smoothies that are dairy-free and are substituted with nuts and almond milk.”
Asmita Madhusudhanan, another city-based food blogger, suggests adding ‘card payment on delivery’ option. “This facility should be brought in,” she opines.