It comes as no surprise why food deliveries have become more popular since early 2020. Of course, some businesses and startups had already jumped onto the wave way before COVID-19. As of now and moving forward food deliveries will continue to become mainstream. Food deliveries can and have actually kept many food-related businesses and startups afloat. Food deliveries in themselves can constitute a wide array of business prospects. In this article, I shall be discussing how you can explore food delivery as a business idea. By the end of the article, you will be in a position to best roll out your own food delivery business or startup.
There are broadly two approaches, possibly even three. You can yourself be running a food-related business or startup. It can be cooked food, processed food, or even basic groceries. It can also be farm produce – fresh or otherwise. You can start offering a delivery service where people place orders and you deliver to them. Then the other approach is you simply offering that service of making deliveries.
Thus you can be someone who is not into food-related business directly. You will just be offering businesses or startups the service that enables them to deliver to their clients. The third approach can be that you will offer both of the aforementioned services. Suffice to say you can outsource the service to or from other players. This means at the most elementary level you will just offer the service yourself.
We cannot talk of deliveries without transportation. This is probably the biggest investment in a food delivery business. Transportation options are several starting from on-foot runners, to small vehicles, bicycles, bikes, all the way up to even haulage trucks. That will depend on the nature and quantities (or sizes) of foodstuffs you will be delivering. The other key investment is at the very least an optimized communication and tracking system. Ideally, you have to receive orders, fulfil them, and be able to track them in real-time. The clients also should be able to track them in real-time. This calls for things like software, apps, a communication framework, and so on. Since deliveries entail being online you will need a good working website, have active social media accounts, and a reliable internet connection.
That will depend on your scale of operation but few people can suffice for starters. You will need an operations centre where orders are received. This means you will need someone or some people who round the clock monitor the reception of such orders and see to it they are being actioned. You probably will need things like live chat for real-time tracking and also handling of queries. Depending on the nature of foodstuffs involved you will need a team that sorts and packages the orders for dispatch. Then you will of course need the team that transports and delivers the packages. At the very least you can start with say, a team of 5.
You cannot run away from the fact that some substantial capital will be needed. You can ride solo on this one; from the onset, you will need some hands. Then there is also a need for various software and hardware components to have an optimized operating system or framework.
The market is vast and segmented such that you have plenty of choices. Possible client pools can be restaurants, supermarkets, farmers, and so on. Many business players and their clients appreciate the inevitability of food deliveries. Thus the market for food delivery services is ever-growing. The important thing will be for you to conduct thorough market research. You have to niche given the many options but the decision must be premised on empirical evidence.
You must ensure that you have a real-time multichannel approach. Clients should be able to reach you through various channels and in real-time. This will mainly be due to tracking orders and other queries. The success of your delivery business will rely heavily on how efficient this framework is.
Your transportation infrastructure and the system must also be well-polished. How accurately, reliably, and promptly you make deliveries will boost your reviews. Most players are still struggling with this part and that is why most Zimbabweans are still to trust deliveries. I have seen and heard many people complaining about wrong or late deliveries.
I once did an article where I highlighted that postal reliability in Zimbabwe is ranked at zero. This is hugely part of the reason why e-commerce has not taken off as it should. This clearly shows a gap that needs to be covered and there are invaluable business prospects in doing so. The food industry is definitely a strategic niche and one that I highly recommend you engage in.