We all need to eat. In addition to this, the food needs to be nutritious, healthy and delicious. And don’t forget affordable. For breakfast and dinner, this can be arranged in the comfort of one’s home, but for lunch it may become a bit trickier. Especially if you need to spend time running around looking for a restaurant and read through an overwhelming menu. GoPlated has solved all of the above- plus give you a new menu. Every day.
In conversation with the co-founder, Oscar Bedoya Mey, we found out how the idea to GoPlated was born, received insights into their unique business model and how they serve excellent lunches, On-demand.
Q1) Tell us something about GoPlated and your personal motivation for starting this service?
Julia Samodurova (co-founder) and myself are working individuals, and like others, constantly faced the predicament of having to choose what to eat for lunch. For dinners and off-days, people could just cook or go out to eat. However, this is not always possible during a workday. People are often just engrossed in their work and deadlines, they don’t have the luxury to pick a place to order from, or go out and eat lunch. In addition, people want something delicious and healthy, and most importantly competitively priced. And that’s when Julia and I realized that we could serve and cater to all the individuals. That is how GoPlated came into existence.
GoPlated is essentially an online restaurant, catering to the demand for excellent and reasonably priced lunches. Our menu is rotational – you will see different items being served each day, so there is no chance your meals will repeat on consecutive days.
Q2) What is the value proposition that you offer?
As explained above, we are an online restaurant. If you were to go onto one of the vendors’ site, they will have numerous choices, which can be overwhelming. But unlike them, we offer a rather limited number of offerings. The reasoning is simple – we want people to waste less time in deciding what they want to eat.
Most of the other vendors may offer delicious food, but may not be nutritious. Even if the food is tasty and healthy, the prices will be exorbitant. If the price is economical, the food itself may not be tasty, or even healthy. This is where GoPlated is different – our customers get a highly competitive ‘offering’ – excellent (delicious and nutritious) food, economical prices, prompt delivery and excellent customer service.
You go onto our site, see the offerings for the day, pick your choice and done. The entire process takes less than 2 minutes (even maggi takes longer to prepare!). We take away the ‘burden’ of getting lunch. Customer experience is paramount, whether it is through the product or our service.
All this is not empty talk. Don’t believe us. No Problem. Don’t take our word for it – try it. There will be no looking back. Lunches will be a whole different experience once GoPlated has served you.
Q3) Could you shed some light on GoPlated Business Model?
Our backend operations are simple – we manage the entire supply chain on our own. None of it is managed by a third-party. We have our own dedicated kitchen, which sources its own ingredients and prepares the meals for our customers. Even our customer care representatives are in-house, so they are well aware of everything going on in the company and are able to better respond to our customers’ concerns.
This gives us greater control over the entire operation, whether it is preparing the meals or engaging with our customers. We believe that personally engaging with the customers, at all stages of the ordering-to-delivery process, is the best way for us to forge a mutually beneficial relation – for them, to get excellent food and service; for us, to grow as a business. This is our mission.
Additional benefits of managing the entire operation on our own allows us to reduce cost, and better see issues the business is facing, in order to resolve them soon.
Q4) How is GoPlated different from other food home delivery servicing platforms?
As mentioned in previous questions, we are different in primarily 2 ways. Firstly, we prepare the dishes ourselves which recipes are thought just to be delivered, not like most of the competitors out there which aggregate all traditional restaurants/eateries in one platform. Secondly, our menu offering is different because we only prepare certain dishes on specific days and hence the choices are not too many. In addition, the menu changes every day, so you will be seeing different items daily.
Q5) How has the experience with Juggernaut been?
Nowadays, almost all e-commerce that delivery any kind of good to the customer door step, is moving to on-demand, customers doesn’t accept more than 24h waiting anymore. Said that, most of the platform turn up having quite similar backbone, so relying on a supplier that can provide you that backbone to speed up the process, it’s a must in an environment where every day matters.
Q6) Are you satisfied with your technology platform as it exists today?
Well, it is far from ideal, but we are satisfied with what we have seen so far. But this is common for any company trying to set up an online business. You could have a particular idea of how things should be, but the limitations of programming may not allow you to do so. Then you look for the most feasible solution to be able to achieve what you want. We have been liaising with the developers’ team and are constantly working to improve our platform and resolve any issues arising. We need our platform to be working optimally as it is an essential part of the customer experience.
Q7) What is one particular marketing tool or process which you swear by, that has helped you gain more users on the platform?
GoPlated and all its members believe in a hands-on approach. We are constantly engaging with our customers to gauge their response to our products. Whether it is a customer getting in touch with our customer service agent, or us following up with them after a few orders have been placed, we are aware of the customers’ demands. Placing the customers’ demands and pain points at the forefront of our goals allows us to better fulfill GoPlated’s mission.
Q8) What is the hardest thing that you had to overcome during your journey of getting GoPlated to where it is now?
GoPlated is still in its infancy, so it hasn’t been long enough to call it a journey. Nonetheless, we do face certain issues in the Marketing and Operational side of our business often. I would say that the hardest so far has being developing a process to make sure kitchens start cooking any incoming order just in time, so customer gets his food ready by the time expected. Looks quite trivial, but there’re many factors that need to be consider, taking them into consideration, and leverage in a technical team to automatize all that process has been the key.
Q9) GoPlated is currently present in Dubai. Are you planning to expand to more geographical locations? If yes, what would be your strategy?
Currently we’re finalizing what we called, learning stage, when we just covered a small area of Dubai. We are planning to expand our presence to other locations; as for strategy, we won’t really change our approach. We will apply the same practices and principles in other locations, while also avoiding certain ‘approaches’, which have not produced optimal results.
Q10) What do you feel is the future of the On-Demand economy and how can it help people and businesses alike?
It is the future of the retail industry. Customers want things instantaneously, and if one vendor cannot provide it, customers will move onto the next who can do so. Eventually, all vendors will be implementing the same model and On-Demand service will become more common in the market. For customers, the fact that they can purchase things online and receive them instantaneously means that they get greater accessibility and convenience – they don’t need to physically visit the stores to making the purchase. For Businesses, it reduces cost – lesser need to maintain the brick-and-mortar stores – to sell to the customers.
Q11) How do you see GoPlated evolving in coming years?
As any business, we intend to capture greater market share and hopefully be the dominant ‘player’, in the office lunch space. But we’ll be always hearing our customers, to see if we need to pivot somehow, so we can keep the growth.
Covering other cities in UAE, and eventually other major cities in the Gulf region, it’s in the road map.
Q12) Any advice for startups trying to make it big in the On-Demand space?
Taking one step at a time is important. You may have a few ideas and want all of them to be implemented. It’d rather prefer to have higher success rate focus on just one, that lower one losing the focus.
Evaluate your resources and most importantly your priorities – which idea is more important and should be implemented first. Solve the first issue, don’t look for the perfect one though, just one that solves it with the minimum time and resources, and then go for the next one, always considering your priorities.
Test, test, and test, don’t take things for granted till it’s proven. Don’t invest one dollar developing anything it’s not proven somehow with an MVP.
Check out the menu and learn more about GoPlated on their website!
GoPlated partnered with Juggernaut for this on-demand food delivery service. If you are looking for a technology partner for your venture, get in touch with us today!