Gokhan Akan, co-founder if Foodonclick.com, talks about why he wants to replicate his Turkish business model of online food ordering, in Dubai.
Foodonclick.com builds an appetite for meals on wheels
Gokhan Akan is a co-founder of Foodonclick.com, an online food delivery system. The 38-year-old, based in Istanbul, also cofounded the Turkish online food delivery website Yemeksepeti.com. Here he talks about why he chose Dubai for a similar venture.
q Why launch a model similar to Yemeksepeti.com in the UAE?
a Like Turkey, the UAE has a strong delivery culture. Plus, the smartphone penetration is one of the highest here in the world. In 2000, we noticed the internet taking over and launched Yemeksepeti.com in 2001. It is now in 44 cities in Turkey and has 61,000 orders in a day. On average it is 22 (Dh44) to 25 Turkish liras per order. The beta version of Foodonclick.com was launched in June 2010. In the UAE, we generate 1,000 meals a day worth an average of Dh70 to Dh80. It now has 35,000 users and growing.
What was the idea behind Foodonclick. com?
The restaurants are busy cooking. Customers can send them the order in a clear format. In a command box, they can specify their requirements. When users sign up as members for free, they give their details such as phone number only once. We send them directly to the restaurants.
How would you like to customise the service for the UAE?
Here it is very warm in summer, and people are more likely to order food than winter and they are more likely to eat lighter food. So we need to offer a lot of variety.
Why would people order through Foodonclick.com rather than picking up the phone to the restaurant?
Because they can order within a minute, and also for the variety. If I am ordering from one particular restaurant, I can try many other interesting ones. For businesses, we give a wider audience for restaurants, and they can change from phone ordering to internet ordering.
How many restaurants does Foodonclick.com list in the UAE?
We have 650 active restaurants--small and big ones - at all times. Every restaurant decides when they want to deliver. We do not charge the users, but charge a commission to the restaurants. The commission depends on how much turnover it brings to Foodonclick.com.
How big is your team here?
We have 10 people here, which includes a menu team who collect the menus from the restaurants. And we have 250 in Istanbul. There is a big backup coming from Istanbul in IT and call centre services.
Are you looking for external funding?
We partnered with private equity company General Atlantic last year for Yemeksepeti.com With the money we would like to grow in Turkey and the Middle East and North Africa region, including for Foodonclick.com. It launched in Oman in January, and has 1,500 registered users in Muscat and 50 restaurants.
What are targets for this year?
We expect Dh20 million to Dh25m in terms of sales volume.