According to RedSeer, the Indian online food industry grew at 150% in 2016 with an estimated gross merchandise volume of USD 300m, despite low investor sentiment. Homegrown online food restaurant FreshMenu recently ventured into content marketing with food magazine launch.
The Drum spoke with Rashmi Daga, CEO and founder, FreshMenu to find about the company's marketing strategy and why collaborations are so important to them.
What is your marketing strategy in India?
We have a three-pronged approach to marketing – a big focus area is to build and maintain a high-level of awareness about the brand and gain new customers by highlighting our key USPs – we provide an array of international cuisines that are freshly prepared by expert chefs at a kitchen near you, and also the fact that we have a menu that changes every single day.
A large chunk of our orders come from our existing customer base, hence, our marketing efforts are also equally focused on strengthening and building on our relationship with them.
Collaboration is also an important aspect of our marketing philosophy. We also aim to work extensively with key food influencers and bloggers to tap into their expertise and network. We launched our ‘Influencer Relationship Program’ called ‘Incredibles’ which will help us reach out to top food influencers and creatively engage with them. To sum it up, our marketing efforts are focused at creating larger brand visibility, engaging with our existing customers and working closely with experts and influencers in the areas through creative and exciting campaigns.
How does FreshMenu differentiate itself from competitors such as Zomato, Swiggy and Food Panda?
Zomato, Swiggy and Food Panda are aggregators in the food tech industry whereas FreshMenu is an online restaurant. We have our own kitchens, a team of expert chefs and a fleet of delivery boys. Right from the procurement of ingredients, cooking to delivering food, we control the entire process. While we are listed on Zomato, Swiggy and other platforms we are not aggregators. Most of sales are driven from our own app and website. Any plans of expanding FreshMenu further? We have received tremendous response in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and are currently focused on increasing our footprint in these cities.
Are you concerned about other competitors such as Uber Eats?
Not really. Uber Eats functions on a completely different business model. In fact, we are available on Uber Eats in the markets where they are present.
How do you perceive the trend for on-demand services and how that's developing in India? What is driving it and how much more growth will we see?
The way our lifestyles have evolved today has left us all time starved, and anything that provides convenience will only grow in demand. The young affluent consumers today are juggling several things and hence convenience is of great utility. FreshMenu ticks two boxes for this audience – it provides them with exciting new international cuisines that they can try out and it brings this to their doorstep!
Why is Fresh Menu venturing into content marketing?
We don’t believe that traditional marketing models will be adequate for our brand since most of them focus mainly on acquiring new customers. We have built a very strong loyal base since our inception and a large part of our marketing efforts are channeled towards retaining them.
How do we engage them in more meaningful conversations around our offering? From this perspective, content becomes the hero in our plan. And when the category is as exciting as International cuisine, we have the ability to create very stimulating and diverse content that will hopefully resonate with our customers as well. ‘Food For Thought’ is our first step towards achieving that.
The Drum earlier wrote about how Influencers are becoming the new ecommerce salespeople for savvy brands in India and how their reach clearly seems to have moved beyond ecommerce.