DIAF: Please tell us what foodonclick.com is all about.
Gokhan Akan: Foodonclick.com is UAE’s leading online food delivery platform and aims to make consumers’ lives easier by offering them the widest range of choice and convenience in food delivery. Foodonclick.com allows consumers to search for the best food delivery options in their neighborhoods by location, cuisine and special offers. There are over 750 restaurants and cafes listed on our website delivering to several different regions across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, and offering a multitude of options to hungry consumers.
Consumers no longer need to wait before getting through on busy phone lines or battle with confusing accents or get frustrated receiving wrong orders. They can search through several menus on our website and make an order within seconds and in a few clicks. Orders are submitted to the restaurant within 6-7 seconds of receiving it in a clear, written format, reducing any possibilities of errors. Orders can be customised just like people do when they are offline – no tomatoes, no garlic etc. And the customer pays nothing for this hassle-free service. When consumers order via our site, they pay the same amount for their food as they would have done offline. What is even better is that no transactions are made online so we do not store any credit card information – customers pay cash on delivery just as they do with traditional phone ordering.
DIAF: How did this concept come about?
Gokhan Akan: I founded foodonclick.com with two friends, Nevzat Aydın and Melih Ödemiş, having successfully established Yemeksepeti, a similar business in Turkey, 12 years ago. The first of its kind then, Yemeksepeti has grown to become Turkey’s leading online food delivery service, delivering over 60,000 orders per day.
The GCC and especially the UAE has a strong food delivery culture in addition to a high internet penetration rate. These two factors present a real market potential for a business like ours. We set up foodonclick.com in the UAE in June 2010 and are seeing a phenomenal shift from telephone ordering as people discover the benefits of ordering online.
DIAF: Who is your direct competition in the UAE?
Gokhan Akan: Foodonclick.com is already the largest online food delivery portal in the UAE, although there are a few other – companies now offering similar services in the UAE. What’s interesting here is the conversion from telephone ordering to online ordering, so we are all really competing with the telephone.
DIAF: Is foodonclick.com for the UAE only?
Gokhan Akan:Our GCC operations are headquartered in the UAE but we have plans to be in every Gulf country within the next two years. We launched in Oman in January 2013, with 50 restaurant partners in Muscat and recently also started operations in Doha, Qatar. Currently, we are working on growing our restaurant network, launching in new cities and increasing our user base.
DIAF: Who is your target audience?
Gokhan Akan: Hungry residents who have access to the Internet!
DIAF:How is foodonclick.com different from other similar websites in the UAE?
Gokhan Akan: Foodonclick.com is a one-stop-shop for hungry residents in the UAE – there is everything from up-to-date menus to restaurant prices to special deals unique to Foodonclick users. Users can rate their restaurants on the basis of service, quality and price and can also write reviews on our blog. Foodonclick.com offers the widest range of cuisines and special promotions tailored for our users.
DIAF: What do you plan to achieve with foodonclick.com?
Gokhan Akan: We want to be the first choice for hungry residents in the GCC and also the preferred partner-of-choice for restaurants that want to grow their business. We foresee people in the UAE completely moving from phone ordering to online ordering by 2015 and we want to lead this change.
DIAF: E-commerce in Dubai is…please tell us your thoughts.
Gokhan Akan: E-commerce in Dubai is growing at a phenomenal rate and much like the rest of the world, is only going to continue to develop. From finding daily deals to flash sales to designer shopping and holiday packages, consumers are quickly transitioning from traditional shopping to online buying. The UAE has a predominantly young population leading a fast-paced lifestyle that is always looking for ways to make products and services more accessible, convenient and hassle-free. In 2012 alone, foodonclick.com processed over 147,000 orders in the UAE, a 300% increase from 2011.
The UAE also has a high smart phone penetration rate which extends the e-commerce landscape as more people can shop or order when they on the move. We launched an iPhone application for foodonclick.com in September 2011 and now receive approximately 13% of our daily orders through this app. People order food when they are stuck in traffic, in lectures at university, or during a long meeting in order to save time. A growing acceptance of this model, both online and through mobile, indicates the potential that exists for e-commerce in the UAE and the wider GCC. We are now also developing apps for Windows and Android phones.