Tomaso Rodriguez, CEO, Talabat

Talabat CEO - Tomaso Rodriguez

Talabat App: The potentials around food order delivery.

The surge of COVID-19 has disrupted the global QSR, grocery shopping & fine dining landscapes in a matter of weeks. While ride sharing services have plummeted, the food & grocery delivery services have profited. Learn how Talabat is leveraging these opportunities to better cater to current needs.

About Talabat App

Talabat transformed the food ordering business in the Middle East when it launched in Kuwait in 2004. With a network of over 13,000 restaurants and vendors and 24,000 branches, Talabat has become the home of food in the Middle East. Today, Talabat lives to help people create and enjoy the moments that matter. With Talabat as their trusted sidekick, customers can spend less time preparing food, shopping for groceries, and doing other unimportant tasks and more time doing what matters to them.

Talabat is now part of Delivery Hero, the global leader in online food ordering and delivery.

The recent Pandemic has launched a race towards elevating the online ordering experience.

According to India Times, as of July 2020, “customers ordering food online are spending about 25-30% more per takeaway, even as overall volumes continue to recover, touching about half of pre-Covid-19 numbers, according to food delivery platforms, restaurants and analysts.” One can assume that reasons such as: professionals working from home, families staying home from school, people avoiding both traveling on holiday and/or dining out this summer are supporting delivery companies to earn high volume revenues at this time.

Further, many companies are expanding their current offerings to capitalize on grocery delivery due to the convenient, quick and versatile ways for customers to order and pay via Smartphone. CEO of Uber, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi notes in an interview with Diginomica in May 2020: “I do think there’s a question…This food delivery grocery category just got a lot bigger. There’s a ton of new customers coming to this category.”  

For a localized standpoint, hear from Tomaso Rodriguez, CEO of Dubai’s finest homegrown food delivery platform, Talabat below.

Photo by Norma Mortenson from Pexels

1.  Tell us about your experience so far being Talabat’s CEO.

It’s been invigorating, enlightening and fast-paced.

The MENA region is fascinating, and to be able to lead the region’s largest food and grocery delivery app came along with a unique set of challenges, which we then turned into key milestones and accomplishments.

Since joining Talabat – we’ve made some transformative improvements. It’s nearly been a year, and not only have we refreshed our look, our app has become a market leader in terms of functionality. To be able to say that – competing with apps designed in Silicon Valley and Europe – is not only an amazing achievement, but also a testimony to the talent that exists in the Middle East.

I’m really proud of our team’s agility in transforming the business adapting to new realities. 2020 is a great example, where we integrated Carriage’s operations, enriching the Talabat team with some of the region’s most amazing talent.  COVID-19 also brought challenges of its own, in that we pushed hard to ensure safety remained a priority for everyone involved in the delivery process, and even pushed harder than ever before to help those around us – our stakeholders – get through these difficult times.

We introduced precautionary measures such as contactless delivery, and temperature checking for all those involved in preparing/delivering meals.

From a commercial standpoint, we have proactively provided support where possible, too. We funded free delivery for customers ordering from nearby restaurants and rolled out strong promotions and marketing campaigns to push orders for our restaurant partners.

We also facilitated the donation and delivery of over 100.000 meals and over 25.000 medicines supporting local authorities caring for those who need it most in the GCC region and beyond.

2.  Who/which kind of customer is the app meant for and how does the app work exactly?

The Talabat app is for anyone who wants super fast delivery of food or groceries from the widest variety of restaurants and shops at the best price. We cater to all tastes and across all price-points, right from fast food to fine-dining and everything in between.

3.  What makes Talabat App unique from other similar service platforms?

Our 17 years of experience and our continuous investment in growth, has made us the leading delivery platform in the region. We take pride in this and deliver the best experience and value to our customers in terms of the variety of food offered through our platform, and our speed in delivering orders.

4.  Do you consider Talabat a customer-centric/customer-focused product? How so?

Without a doubt. We know that our customers care about speed, affordability, and variety. We continue to double down on this by continuously investing on all three points working with our internal teams, partners and customers – it is great to see a sharp increase in customer satisfaction as a result of these ongoing improvements.

Restaurant partners and riders are key stakeholders for talabat, too. We continue to invest in our services and technology to make their experiences a more rewarding one. We are currently zooming in on ensuring that restaurant partners get the best out of our platform and our services, especially during this difficult period, ensuring we tweak our offering to best serve them.

Talabat Application - Food Delivery
Talabat delivery driver (Arabian Business)

5.  Do you believe that the ‘customer is always right?’ How do you cater to users’ feedback and needs?

Our customers play an integral part in our success. Success means offering the best customer experience out there. As a technology company we use our data to constantly improve this experience. We also use data to analyse and anticipate changes in customer behaviour. For instance, the recent uncertain period had a lot of moving elements across the market. By using data and being agile, we continue to be able to best serve customer demands.

We also use this data to measure and track customer ideas, concerns, and suggestions. Without having a solid understanding of what customers need and want, there would be no innovation.

6.  What advice do you have for aspiring brands, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the region?

Now is the time to focus on being a valuable member of our community by solving meaningful problems. COVID-19 has disrupted the usual course of business across all industries, but in every crisis there’s an opportunity to improve and grow new ways to support our communities and businesses.

Throughout this process, continuously seek feedback internally and externally. Ensure you stay agile and deliver value to your audience in a continuously evolving market.

7.  What is in Talabat’s future?

We’re looking at new innovative products and ideas that drive growth for dine-in as well as food delivery. Our success is very much tied to the success of our restaurant partners, where we continue to look at introducing new products and tools to grow their business.

On the grocery side of our business, Daily by Talabat offers a much more convenient way of grocery shopping – without compromising on reliability, quality of choice or price. We are further expanding this hugely popular 30-minute delivery-only service – currently only available in Kuwait and Dubai – to other markets very soon.

"Our customers play an integral part in our success."

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