Its not new for us to hear the state of food delivery startups in India — either shutting down or incurring huge losses, or simply not functioning anymore. These are perhaps the most common three states you can attribute to almost every food delivery company out here.
And while Foodpanda’s India division may be no exception to it, the rest of the group company though, is performing exceedingly well. Company CEO Ralf Wenzel, in a brief chat with Reuters on the publication’s outlook report, confirmed that the company is indeed profitable.
We are profitable in two of our three broad regions,
said Ralf Wenzel, co-founder and chief executive of four-year-old Foodpanda group.
In Asia, we are focused on improving market share, he adds
As for some numbers, company-wide, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation, including stock-based compensation, improved to a loss of 13.0 million euros ($14.40 million) from a loss of 18.7 million euros a year earlier, Rocket reported in late May. The company is claiming to be a market leader in 23 of the 24 markets it operates in.
Over the next couple of months we will turn break-even and then profitable in the first Southeast Asian countries.
For us, it has become just a matter of scale as we have positive gross margins in all of our countries and positive unit economics. It only becomes a question of the number of orders before we become profitable.
The Asian conundrum
Its been a mixed past 12 months for Foodpanda India — the primary arm of Wenzel’s company’s Asia operations. We have had reports of all sorts — company laying-off a massive percentage of its workforce, removal of close to 500 restaurants a month to stabilise operations. There have been good ones too, like the $100 Million it raised close to an year back, automation of a large part of its work-flow, and better grip on its existing market share within the country.
South-East Asia on the other hand, has been a better road to walk on. The company commands a sizeable market share in that region, and is eyeing profitability very soon.
The competition here in India though, is much tougher as compared to other Asian markets Foodpanda operates in. Zomato is perhaps the biggest of them all, with numerous smaller startups, with a decent grip on their regional markets coming up. Investors too, are continuing to invest — though at a snail’s pace when compared with last year — in food delivery startups.
And while competition is just one part of the headache, Foodpanda’s services itself haven’t been the most decorated ones. Zomato has gained rapidly, largely because of its already loyal fanbase of reviewers, restaurant searchers and a massive database of eating joints pan India. Foodpanda on the other hand, has received flak, on numerous occasions, for the kind of services it has been providing.
Still, despite initial hiccups in India, Foodpanda is continuing to better its overall performance. It recently achieved a complete workflow automation, thus enabling the company to think of profitability in the next three years. The Rocket-Internet backed company says that it is imperative to improve system response internally, because they still have to figure out several external challenges. The company now has over 2,000 employees and is working to optimize its resources to better sales in India.
Foodpanda has currently partnered with over 12,000 restaurants in 200 cities across India. It has no plans to expand to more locations but will work on improving its existing offerings. The company currently processes over 40% orders through internal fleet, while the rest is taken care by the partner restaurants.
Profitability in two of three broad regions ? Great ! But the third region — Asia — needs a hell lot of a work from the company’s end, if it want to join those profitable regions list. It ain’t happening anytime soon though.