Pouya Mohammadi of FoodApp tells us about the world-class online ordering platform.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Pouya Mohammadi: We all are safe, and I have to admit we tried everything to avoid being affected. Unlike other businesses, Covid has had a good impact on our business, and I can say our working hours have doubled since covid-19 has started.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded FoodApp.
Pouya Mohammadi: I started 2 years ago with a teammate working on our previous food delivery startups in two different locations. When I met Payam and Peyman GhaderKourehpaz (Twin brothers) on LinkedIn in 2018, I had just exited my previous food delivery startup, which I had founded in 2012 and exited in 2017. With that background, I was thinking about another alternative solution for restaurants in Finland which could be better as all in one solution. By that time, Payam and Peyman were working on their Persian startup named HallowSoft, which was offering online ordering services to Iranian Restaurants. After a few brainstorming and meetings with exchanging ideas, we decided to combine our thoughts and make a new startup called FoodApp to launch in Finland. So we decided to target the Finnish restaurants first and then European restaurants.
Foodapp is a bootstrap startup, and right now, we are growing very fast in Finland and also integrating with third parties in the market, and of course, the pandemic has helped us to grow much faster.
How does FoodApp innovate?
Pouya Mohammadi: Innovation comes from our team’s background. We have experiences in Fintech, e-commerce, marketing, and food delivery. So all we do at FoodApp is because of innovation. Our internal slogan is “if you want to stay in the market, you have to be innovative”.
FoodApp allows customers to place orders directly from the restaurant’s own branded website and iPhone + Android applications without paying commission to third-party platforms. It allows individual restaurants and restaurant chains to compete with larger food delivery platforms in the market by accepting online orders directly from their customers with lower costs and higher control over the customer experience.
Over the last 10 years, there has been a dramatic shift in the importance of technology in this industry. It has become imperative for restaurants and takeaways to receive orders online, and while the largest food chains have the resources to build software to handle this, it is prohibitively expensive for small and medium-sized businesses. We give businesses of all sizes access to a world-class online ordering platform, ensuring that they can compete with marketplaces. By making the technology available at an affordable price, owner-operated takeaways everywhere can not only keep their doors open but thrive. FoodApp is now democratizing technology for these players.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Pouya Mohammadi: Unlike many other businesses, Foodapp had 700% growth during a pandemic. Many restaurants started their own home delivery in Finland, and it was one of the best times to grow for our business. We generated over 1.8 million euro turnover for our customers.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Pouya Mohammadi: Of course, like every crisis, we had to make our choices to improve our services or take steps carefully. But we made our choice and provided our services to restaurants for half a price to help them get customers and survive in this pandemic. We got a lot of positive feedback from our customers.
The success of FoodApp, unlike other competitors in the market, is that it has been developed by us from scratch considering the restaurant’s needs. It means that restaurant owners have all the tools to manage and handle their restaurant orders on the internet. And I can say we can offer our solution to other markets in other countries because it has been developed for every size of the restaurant and satisfy all of their needs. Actually, 70% of our focus is on our consumers who are ordering food. We try to make it as easy as possible. A few clicks and done! So by using our service, both restaurant owners and their customers can benefit from our service.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Pouya Mohammadi: We have increased our customer support to 16 hours and provided it in channels like direct calls, WhatsApp, email and ticket system. For us, the only important thing is that our customers get help without waiting for our response hours. We also helped restaurants in marketing and digital marketing for free. It means that we are not only providing a platform; we also provide the consulting services to get much better results and survive during covid-19.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Pouya Mohammadi: We have 11 years of experience in online food delivery, and we know almost 90% of small restaurant owners in Finland. Of course, there are some competitors in the market, like in every country. But it doesn’t make a difference for us, because we are only focusing on our product to improve it and provide the best solution and we think we have done it successfully. It is not our slogan; it is our customer’s feedback that we get daily.
Your final thoughts?
Pouya Mohammadi: The best way to stay safe in a crisis for startups is to know your market and customer’s needs, and of course, your reaction to it. We are all the time learning and improving our product that can be used by every restaurant, either small or big. For the last update, what can make our customers happy is starting our home delivery services at a very competitive price. This will be available first in Helsinki, Espoo, and Vantaa, and within a few weeks, we pilot it in Tampere and Turku.
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