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Top Apps for Online Food Delivery in India: Get Your Grub Fast

Online Food Delivery in India

Consumer Goods and Retail | Jun, 2024

The journey of online food ordering in India began in the early 2000s with platforms like FoodWing and JustEat pioneering the way. However, the online food delivery industry truly took off in the late 2000s and early 2010s, marked by the launch of major players such as Zomato in 2008, Foodpanda in 2012, and Swiggy in 2014. These years saw a surge in growth driven by increasing smartphone penetration and the convenience of mobile apps. Significant milestones include Zomato's global expansion between 2015 and 2018, and the acquisitions of Swiggy and Foodpanda by Prosus and Ola, respectively, in 2018 and 2019. International entrants like Uber Eats also made their mark between 2017 and 2020, through their first effort in Mumbai.

According to TechSci research report “India Online Food Ordering and Delivery Market By Operation Type (Food Aggregators & Restaurant-based), By Platform (Mobile Applications and Websites), By Payment (Mobile Wallet, Card Payment, Cash on Delivery, and Net Banking), By Region, By Competition Forecast & Opportunities, 2019-2029F” India Online Food Ordering and Delivery Market has valued at USD 28.3 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to project robust growth in the forecast period with a CAGR of 26.89% through 2028. The India online food ordering and delivery market have witnessed a remarkable transformation in recent years, driven by changing consumer preferences, technological advancements, and a burgeoning middle-class population. This dynamic industry has become a key player in the country's food service sector, with several notable players vying for dominance.

This demand for online food delivery has been driven by the increasing preference for convenience, variety, and personalization among Indian consumers, which has been facilitated by the widespread availability of smartphones and internet access. Affordable smartphones are now within reach of a broader audience, allowing millions, including those in rural and semi-urban areas, to tap into online services like food delivery. The rollout of high-speed internet, especially with 4G and soon 5G, combined with budget-friendly data plans from companies like Jio, has made it incredibly easy for people across the country to hop on the online food ordering bandwagon. By capitalizing on busy lifestyles and sheer convenience of using smartphones, Apps like Swiggy and Zomato have created user-friendly platforms optimized for mobile use, complete with real-time order tracking, diverse payment options, and personalized recommendations that make the whole process seamless and enjoyable. While the convenience offered by these food delivery platforms is well known, what is best is that these platforms aggregate menus from multiple restaurants, providing users with a wide range of options to choose from, while also specializing in specific cuisines and services.

Market Dominant Players: Respective Unique Features

The online food delivery market in India has seen substantial growth, with several key players currently dominating the industry. Here are some of the top food delivery apps operational in India as of 2024:

Zomato

Zomato is an Indian multinational restaurant aggregator and food delivery company founded in 2008 by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah. It is a leading multinational food delivery company originating from India, which has solidified its position in the food-tech industry through a combination of diverse services and technological innovation.

In terms of “Restaurant Selection and Variety”, Zomato boasts a vast database of restaurants, ranging from local eateries to popular chains and fine dining establishments. With an expansive database of restaurants, from cozy local joints to renowned culinary hotspots, there's something to satisfy every craving. The platform has broad coverage areas, serving major cities and urban centers across multiple countries, proving its worthiness in “Delivery Speed and Coverage Area”. In addition, Zomato provides users with a range of convenient payment options, including credit/debit card payments, digital wallets, net banking, and UPI (Unified Payments Interface), along with Cash on Delivery (COD) payment option for people who prefer cash transactions, marking its flexibility in the available “Payment Options”. Also, Zomato offers a variety of special offerings to enhance “User Engagement and Loyalty”. One such offering is Zomato Gold, a subscription-based program that provides members with exclusive benefits such as complimentary dishes and drinks at partner restaurants.

Swiggy

Swiggy, a prominent player in India’s food delivery sector, has made significant strides in the industry. Operating on a hyperlocal delivery model, the app leverages advanced technology to ensure swift and efficient delivery of food from nearby restaurants to customers' doorsteps. This model allows Swiggy to offer faster delivery times compared to many of its competitors.

Considering “Restaurant Selection and Variety”, similar to Zomato, Swiggy too boasts an extensive selection of restaurants, ranging from local eateries to well-known chains and fine dining establishments. The platform offers a diverse range of cuisines to cater to various tastes and preferences. Moving forward on “Payment Options”, the app offers multiple payment options to accommodate the diverse preferences of its customers. These include credit/debit card payments, digital wallets, net banking, and UPI. Additionally, Swiggy also supports cash on delivery (COD), providing flexibility for customers who prefer to pay in cash. Taking in account the “Delivery Speed and Coverage” factor, though it is slightly less than Zomato (750+ cities), Swiggy is just behind the wheel with 580+ cities. Swiggy is known for its swift delivery services, thanks to its efficient logistics network and hyperlocal delivery model. The platform covers a wide range of urban and suburban areas, ensuring that customers in both metropolitan cities and smaller towns can access its services. Swiggy also offers a subscription-based loyalty program called Swiggy Super under its “Subscriptions and Loyalty Programs”, providing users with benefits such as free delivery, exclusive discounts, and priority customer support for a nominal monthly fee. This program has been well-received by customers, enhancing their loyalty to the platform.

Domino’s

Founded in 1960, Domino’s has established itself as a global leader in the pizza delivery industry. With thousands of locations worldwide, Domino's has become synonymous with delicious, freshly made pizzas delivered straight to customers' doorsteps. One distinguishing aspect of the company lies in delivering consistent quality across its menu items. Whether you order from a store in Bengaluru or Delhi, you can expect the same delicious taste and high standards in every pizza.

While Domino’s primarily focuses on Pizza, it offers other varieties and items including pasta, chicken wings, sandwiches, and desserts, making customers enjoy a full fledged meal, further complementing the “Restaurant Selection and Variety” factor. Domino’s also runs a popular “Loyalty Program” called Domino's Piece of the Pie Rewards. Customers earn points for every order they place, which can be redeemed for free pizzas and other rewards. In the matters of delivery speed and payment options, the platform is similar to Zomato and Swiggy, being the latter ones to offer Domino’s Pizzas on their own platforms as well.

Revenue Model Of These Apps: EXPLAINED

  • The revenue model of these apps, especially Zomato and Swiggy, tend to rely heavily on commissions from restaurant partners and delivery charges paid by customers.
  • Their subscription services namely Zomato Gold/Pro and Swiggy Super tend to provide a steady stream of recurring revenue.
  • Advertising and promotional services offered to restaurants are significant revenue drivers for both companies.
  • Swiggy's additional services like Swiggy Access and Swiggy Genie diversify its income model further, tapping into the growing demand for hyperlocal delivery solutions.
  • Zomato's event ticketing and merchandise sales provide supplementary revenue streams, although these are smaller compared to its core business operations.

Individual Unique Points Of These Apps Posed As Features

  • Swiggy’s Lazypay allows users to pay later for their meals, providing flexibility in payment options.
  • Swiggy POP feature focuses on single-serve meals, catering to time pressed professionals and those seeking quick and convenient meals.
  • Newly launched Zomato’s events section allows users to discover and book tickets for various events happening in their city, facilitating easy planning.
  • Zomato’s Intercity Legends service allows users to order food from other cities, with food being delivered via flights and reaching user’s doorstep within 24 hours.
  • Domino's has introduced various new menu items over the years, such as the American Classic Cheeseburger Pizza, Brownie Squares, and OREO Dessert Pizza.

Common Operational Tasks: Which One Tackles Better, CURRENTLY

Delivery Fees and Minimum Order Amount:

Recently, Zomato has started to charge a flat delivery fee of Rs 5 per order, applicable to all users, including those with Zomato Gold membership. Zomato had last increased its platform fee for users on January 1 to Rs 4 from Rs 3. Zomato’s main rival “Swiggy” charges a platform fees of Rs 5, with some users also reporting it around Rs 10. For Minimum Order Amount, Swiggy does not have a minimum order amount for delivery, but users may need to meet a minimum order value to qualify for free delivery. On the contrary, Zomato has a minimum order amount of Rs 149 for free delivery, which is lower than the previous minimum order amount of Rs 199. Domino’s delivery fee policy is not explicitly stated, but they often run promotions such as 2 regular pizzas at ₹99 each, which may include delivery. The exact minimum order amount for free delivery varies by store location.

User Reviews and Ratings for Restaurants and Delivery Services:

User reviews and ratings prove to be a substantial aspect for the reputation and service quality of online food delivery apps. For instance, for food delivery app named Zomato, users have expressed mixed feelings, with some appreciating the service while others faced issues with delivery and customer support. For Swiggy, latest ratings suggest that customers are generally dissatisfied, particularly with customer service. However, there are mentions of timely food and grocery delivery. Domino’s has also received a range of feedback, with a significant number of negative reviews concerning product and service quality. When ordering food online, restaurant ratings play a crucial role in helping users make informed choices about where to order from. Both Zomato and Swiggy have made it incredibly easy to access these ratings, providing a valuable snapshot of what you can expect in terms of food quality, ingredient freshness, packaging standards, and safety measures.

Quality of Availability of Customer Support:

Restaurant ratings play a pivotal role in assessing the quality of services provided by leading online food delivery apps like Zomato, Swiggy, and Domino's. These ratings serve as a critical hallmark of the overall customer experience, offering valuable insights into aspects such as food quality, ingredient freshness, packaging standards, and adherence to safety protocols. Over the years, established apps like Domino's, Zomato, and Swiggy have fine-tuned their operations and adapted to the various challenges and irregularities that arise when catering to a diverse and regionally varied customer base. Their extensive experience in the industry has equipped them with the knowledge and resilience needed to navigate the complexities of the food delivery landscape. Domino's, with its long-standing presence and commitment to speedy delivery, has consistently met customer expectations by maintaining high standards of service and product quality. Zomato and Swiggy, despite being relatively newer players, have quickly become household names by leveraging technology, customer feedback, and innovative solutions to enhance their services.

According to TechSci research report “Food Tech Market– Global Industry Size, Share, Trends, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2018-2028F,Segmented By Technology Type (Mobile App, Website), By Service Type (Online Food Aggregators, Online Grocery Delivery, OTT & Convenience Services), By Region”, the global food tech market is anticipated to register an impressive CAGR during the forecast period. Food technology or online delivery platforms, as well as internet kitchens, are seeing prospects for expansion as a result of how local restaurant food is sourced and disseminated. Due to this development in food technology or online delivery platforms, there are several prospects for restaurants in the online meal ordering sector.

Summing Up

The journey of online food ordering in India has seen a remarkable transformation since its early beginnings in the 2000s with pioneers like FoodWing and JustEat. The industry truly began to flourish in the late 2000s and early 2010s, with major players such as Zomato (launched in 2008), Foodpanda (2012), and Swiggy (2014) entering the scene. This period marked a significant surge in growth, driven by the increasing penetration of smartphones and the convenience of mobile apps. Milestones such as Zomato's global expansion from 2015 to 2018, and the acquisitions of Swiggy by Prosus and Foodpanda by Ola in 2018 and 2019 respectively, further fueled this growth. International entrants like Uber Eats also made their mark, particularly between 2017 and 2020, beginning with their first foray in Mumbai.

Affordable smartphones have become accessible to a broader audience, including those in rural and semi-urban areas, enabling millions to access online food delivery services. The rollout of high-speed internet, especially with 4G and the impending 5G, combined with budget-friendly data plans from companies like Jio, has made it incredibly easy for people across the country to engage in online food ordering. By capitalizing on busy urban lifestyles and the sheer convenience of using smartphones, apps like Swiggy and Zomato have developed user-friendly platforms optimized for mobile use, featuring real-time order tracking, diverse payment options, and personalized recommendations that make the entire process seamless and enjoyable.

Over the years, apps like Zomato, Swiggy, and Domino's have fine-tuned their operations to adapt to regional variations and customer expectations, ensuring a consistent and satisfying user experience. These ratings help customers make informed decisions, enhancing the overall reliability and reputation of the services provided.  Therefore, as these platforms continue to evolve and expand, they remain committed to providing exceptional service and quality, ensuring that every meal ordered meets the highest standards of customer satisfaction.

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