Startup Juice: Interview with Founder, HungryBangalore

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HungryBangalore is a food ordering site for Bangalore netizens and allows one to place orders online, make reservation online at participating restaurants for free.

Over a period of time, they have expanded to 150+ restaurants and have plans to expand to other cities.

Here is our interview with Priyanka, co-founder, HungryBangalore:
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What’s the vision behind HungryBangalore?
HungryBangalore is intended to be a convenient and an economical solution to an individual/ group because of the myriad problems faced due to logistics, selection, ordering and delivery of food items from reputed restaurants and food joints within the city.

Apart from being a one stop site which provides complete information about restaurant menus, feedbacks of the customers about the food, venues for organizing any party, various buffet options, offers and discounts provided by the various restaurants/food joints and promotional strategies of the restaurants/food joints, it also enables an individual/group to place online order to a restaurant of their choice.
Please share the entire process of enabling the menus online?
We follow the following process to get the menus online:

  • Contact restaurants over phone
  • Arrange one on one meeting with the restaurants owner(s)/manager(s).
  • Close the deal and collect the menus and other information.
  • The menu is converted to the required format and uploaded to the system.

Owners of a lot of upcoming restaurants are net savvy and they contact us themselves to get registered to hungrybangalore. The process of getting them online has been very easy and simple. Also, we offer the service free to restaurants for a month so that they can understand the service and advantages of being with hungrybangalore.

This minimizes effort from our side since restaurateurs can judge themselves before getting into a paid service.

Do you plan to scale this model to other cities [given that there is quite a bit amount of offline work involved]
We do plan to scale this model to other cities. In future we intend to automate the process of uploading and updating of the menus. Restaurateurs would be able to register their restaurants on the website and then upload the menu in the required format.

A client login would help them in updating the restaurants information, tracking the number of orders/bookings generated through hungrybangalore. However we would still need the offline process as the automated process might prove a hindrance for smaller restaurants and food joints from joining our online food ordering service. Moreover since this is a new concept, it will not be possible to enter into other cities without the offline process.

Please share some info about HB’s restaurant review feature – Isn’t this getting into the turf of MouthShut, Burrp! and other review services. What’s the strategy behind this?
We had the review feature since the beginning of hungrybangalore, so its not a new feature. The reason behind having this feature is a very strategic one. HungryBangalore is intended to be a one stop service for all food related needs.

A user should be able to make an informed decision before he orders his food from a restaurant, the restaurant review feature hence becomes necessary. This will not only help other users decide which restaurant they want to order their food from but would also help the restaurant in maintaining a good service.

We interact with the restaurants regularly so as soon as we get a review for a restaurant, the concerned person is informed of the same, which is not the case in any of the review services. Most of the restaurateurs are not net savvy people so they do not browse the net for reviews about their restaurants, to let them know what their customers think about their restaurant pushes them to improve their service even better.

Adding this feature also completes the cycle, by cycle I mean that once a user knows that a restaurant service is good he should be able to browse their menu and order from it. Almost all the review services currently operate in only a part of the cycle and miss out on the other important half of enabling users to place orders. However we would concentrate only on reviews for food joints and hence we are not directly competing with most of the review sites.

Do you guys plan to expand into other services, apart from ordering food?
Food ordering is our main focus however we do intend to get into a few value added services. We have a couple of very exciting features coming soon on the website. Like users would be able to upload and share recipes video, health videos etc, we would also have such videos from experts and chefs. Users would also be able to form communities, groups based on their food preferences and exchange messages, tips and other information.

So, we will be bringing in a bit of social networking without actually being a social networking site. Party planning is a feature which we currently have and is quite popular, so if a user wishes to through a party he just needs to give us his requirements, budget etc, we match the restaurants which fit their requirement and help in arranging a hassle free party, of course for free and at the best possible rates.

Please share HB’s mobile strategy.
With hungrybangalore one can place orders/bookings on the move. You can either send an SMS to our help line number (9945844442) for the same or use Zook ( Ziva Softwares) to search a restaurant and place a booking request or a call back request for taking the orders. We do see a large opportunity in this area, down the line we foresee a version of hungrybangalore for WAP enabled phones, however the biggest challenge would be to show the restaurant menu on a small screen. This is something which we would surely love to explore and implement.
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If you have any questions/comments for HB, please leave them in the comments section.

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