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The article revolves around the influx of food delivery applications that are in the quest of displacing traditional food delivery services in India. According to the article, food was initially delivered by delivery men who used bicycles, push carts or trains. They were famously knows as dabbawalas. Investors found a market niche and opted to instigate contemporary applications that would replace the duties and functions of the delivery men. However, the investors through their start-ups did not stand the test of time as they were compelled to significantly cut down their operations or close down. According to the authors, the start-up survivors are Tiny Owl and Foodpanda and they have significantly reduced their scale of operation. The article has attributed the start-ups’ failure to quick expansion which paved way for quasi-crisis. Moreover, the start-ups initially gave huge incentives and orders dried up when the incentives reduced. According to the article, the authors assert that the efforts of start-ups to replace the traditional food delivery services were futile. In fact, they point out that the dabbawalas appear to be busier than ever.
The authors wrote the article with an ulterior objective of shedding light on marketing dynamics pertinent to the emerging food app start-ups. The article applies to business because a business is expected to keep up with changing customer’s needs and expectations. Moreover, the start-ups fail to acknowledge that their business would thrive if they were good at merchant sales and handled service and payment operations with little margin of error. Therefore, the business has high execution challenges whereas the aggregator models will always struggle to make enough money. The start-ups also fail to realize that huge discounts can only lure customers once because the food industry cannot embrace similar strategies unlike other businesses. In fact, it is difficult to beat the dabbawalas because they incur fewer costs to deliver food to their customers. However, the start-ups are capital intensive and they can only turn profitable when they increase the price of food served. This will have a ripple effect of shifting the demand back to dabbawalas as the basic rules of demand and supply will prevail. In addition, start-ups can have a hectic time building their brand because they lack the prerogative of controlling the quality of food or quickening the delivery pace. In fact, this can be the selling point for the vast majority of start-ups. However, the start-ups can survive the test of time if they embrace creative marketing efforts as well as innovative marketing. They should also have a viable business model that understands all areas of the value chain.
The article has given a succinct explanation of why the emerging food delivery applications failed to beat the ancient dabbawalas. The article has been comprehensive as it touches on some of the start-ups such as TinyOwn and Foodpanda and explained how they scaled their operations. The information has been useful as it enlightens the reader on the nature of the food industry in India. The information is useful as one understands that innovation does not necessarily need high investments but brilliant ideas, team work and mutual trust. Therefore, while operating a business, one should lay emphasis on team work and empowerment as well as working in line with customer’s obligations. After all, the dabbawalas have been successful through team work as they do not require a huge investment yet they are doing better than the capital-intensive start-ups. In addition, a business should always focus on fulfilling a certain market niche. For instance, the dabbawalas were fulfilling a market niche by sparing their customers the hassle of fixing lunch in the wee hours and squeezing it in the crowded trains as they head to work.