E-commerce Uganda: How hellofood.ug is braving the Ugandan E-commerce terrain

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A few weeks ago we wrote about hellofood the global online food delivery marketplace that conveniently delivers food from your favorite restaurant to your home or office.  hellofood launched their services in Uganda in January 2014. We caught up with Francis Voet the managing director hellofood Uganda for a one on one interview about  their current experience and plans for Uganda. Below is an insightful Q&A

QN: Tell us a Little about hellofood. Who are they and what do they do?

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hellofood.ug is an online and mobile platform where people can order food online from currently over 40 restaurants in Kampala and get it delivered to their doorstep. hellofood Uganda works with all the most popular restaurants in Kampala with a goal to introduce our hellofoodies to an incredible choice of restaurants available in Kampala while also making it incredibly fast and easy to place an order. A few examples of our best restaurants are: Prunes, the Bistro, Tamarai, Yujo, Olives Pizzeria, Khana Khazana, Endiro Coffee, Asian Fusion restaurant, Biryani House, the Lawns, Amagara Bistro and Mr. Tasty Fried Chicken.

QN: What need are you solving?

At hellofood, we believe ordering food online should be fuss-free, fast and definitely fun, so we are looking to banish the pain of cooking and cleaning up.  With just a few clicks you can order from a wide variety of delicious cuisines online and steaming hot food is conveniently delivered fresh to your home or office. We also enable  restaurants to become visible in the online and mobile world and provides them tap the benefits of constantly evolving online technology.

QN: What’s hellofood’s Business Model and How do you make Money?

Restaurants can sign up and we work on a commission basis, paying a percentage on each meal that is ordered through hellofood. We offer the restaurant more exposure and visibility in the local market widening their customer base, whilst also taking care of order management. We also offer catering services for corporate events.

QN: How does hellofood work? How Can I order Food Online?

Using hellofood is easy. It makes food delivery so simple – you can get your food delivered to your doorstep within 60 minutes. All you have to do is create an account on hellofood.ug. and then follow a few simple steps to get your delivery.

  • Tell us your location: select your city & area
  • Choose a restaurant and your favorite dish
  • Place the order: hellofood sends out an SMS to confirm the order
  • The restaurant delivers to your doorstep within 60 minutes
  • Pay your order on delivery

You can also download the app from the iOS App Store or from the Android Playstore for free.

QN: E-Commerce is developing sector in Uganda what are some of the challenges you are facing and how are you overcoming them?

Every country is different and has its own dynamics. The biggest challenge in Uganda has been to find the location of our customers because there is no clear address and location system in Uganda. We approached this pragmatically when we partnered with Tugende to power our delivery fleet that has  extensive knowledge of the local area to ensure a fuss-free system that aims to provide the best possible customer experience and get food delivered fast.

 foodpanda was launched in March 2012 in Singapore and expanded into 16 countries by the end of the year. This was followed by an expansion into seven more countries, to make a total of 23, by February 2013. The company stated that it aimed to move into 40 nations in Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa by the end of Q1 2014 and did achieve this.

We started in Nigeria one and a half years ago.  we came to Uganda in January 2013 and have enjoyed a great reception from both users and restaurant owners in Uganda, which I think demonstrates that the region is more than ready to embrace e-commerce and hellofood. We have signed up 40 restaurants so far and are constantly adding new restaurants to our platform to offer customers even more choice, so we hope that Ugandan customers will continue to enjoy hellofood and its services.

We do have competition but hellofood is the global online food delivery marketplace and fastest growing Rocket Internet venture in terms of country expansion. Our experience operating in 40 plus countries gives us an advantage over our competition.

QN: What’s the relationship between hellofood and Rocket Internet Group

Hellofood is founded by Africa Internet Holding (AIH) which has also founded 8 other successful ventures in Africa: JUMIA, Kaymu, Easy Taxi, Jovago, Lamudi, Carmudi, Lendico and Zando. AIH is jointly supported by Rocket Internet, MTN and Millicom in order to initiate and accelerate the online shift in Africa.