This month I decided to grab a Zoom coffee with Taker. Its founder Abdullah Alsaadi spoke to me about how they’re re-empowering restaurants and why Taker is keen on collaborating with its competitors. More below.
We’re still not yet over the fact that Swvl is the region’s first $1.5B+ tech startup to go public on Nasdaq… and I believe we will certainly see more similar SPAC listings in the future. So, who’s next? Share with me your tips and let’s bet!
Taker is taking it to the next level through its open platform
Hasan: Taker is an online ordering system for restaurants – and much more. Can you tell us what Taker brings into the market?
Abdullah: Taker’s product offering can be split into 3 components: It has the ordering component, which includes website, application, social media channels, etc. The second component is growth – strategy, marketing tools, etc. The third component is logistics and it can be broken into 3 different models: outsourced, in-house and hybrid logistics.
At Taker, we say that we don’t just give you technology; we don’t just give you an application―we do give you that of course, but we also become your growth partner and provide you with support services. Why? Because we want to avoid a situation when you go online and unfortunately fail.
Hasan: How was the past year and a half for Taker? Did it surprise you? Did you take advantage of it?
Abdullah: We had anticipated the move towards having control back in the hands of the restaurants. The restaurants lost this control years ago in the favor of food aggregators. When we launched Taker, we knew there would come a point when restaurants would begin planning to retain that control again. Our initial anticipation of this move had been for 2022-3, but covid has speeded up that process, which ended up being in our favor. It basically saved us 1-2 years. So, today, restaurants are much more aware of the importance of being dependent on themselves and having their own digital channels.
Hasan: How are you getting ready for whatever comes next?
Abdullah: We love competition. We want competition. We believe we cannot solve the problem by ourselves―no one can―because the problem is much bigger than we think. It comes down to education, operations, logistics… Also, we would really like to collaborate with our competitors, because Taker is present in a new market category and we want to make this category bigger.
Also, most of our competitors (we don’t have many) think that in order to solve the problem you only need to provide a website and application, but this doesn’t work. You must have more to offer in your package. What is the biggest problem we’re trying to solve today? It’s not an application or website; it’s logistics. If we can solve the logistics issues perfectly, then the problem will be solved. That’s why we have TakerGo, which is our logistics arm.
Restaurants using Taker are spared of many headaches and burdens; they no longer need to go and negotiate with every single logistics company; we got that covered in our agreement.
One of our early goals was that we wanted restaurants to enable delivery with zero CapEx. Second, the solution had to be scalable and, third, it had to have a high success rate.
In order to solve the driver availability problem, we looked at the aggregators and their success rate. We found out everyone has a failure rate (which is normal). However, the aggregators’ failure rate was about 15% (i.e.,15% of all orders failed to be delivered), sometimes it went up to 60% (on Eid holidays, etc.). So, we built the product in a way that made all the companies work as one pool of drivers, which has helped us to increase the delivery success rate up to 97-98%. In fact, some of our clients have a success rate of 99.5%. And we keep working on further improving the delivery service. We didn’t only solve the problem faced by restaurants; we also solved the problem faced by delivery companies. That’s TakerGo.
Hasan: Since you mentioned the success rate, what is your personal secret to success? What’s your philosophy?
Abdullah: Our vision is to create a balance point in the market. I always tell my team: “We are not in the business of selling apps; we are disrupting the market and we have to give the control back to the hands of restaurants.” We don’t believe that aggregators will vanish; they’re here to stay. We are realistic in our planning, we have always managed the expectations of our clients and we got a great team.
There’s one thing I would like to stress again: we really believe in collaboration with other players in the market, and that’s why we’ve decided to have Taker as an open platform and to give access to 3rd parties’ innovations. We welcome anyone to build on top of our platform or simply integrate (i.e., delivery company/service integrates with TakerGo). Being an open platform is very important in achieving our main goal of creating a balance within the food delivery market. And, obviously, we cannot do everything by ourselves. It doesn’t matter how strong we as Taker are; the problem is much bigger and we can’t do it alone.
Hasan: We’re excited to be part of your journey!
TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)
Taker is not only an online ordering system for restaurants; its product offering is made of 3 components: ordering, growth and logistics (TakerGo). Its aim is to create a balance point in the market and give the control back to the hands of restaurants. Also, Taker wants to collaborate with its competitors because they can’t create that market balance by themselves.
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So, who’s gonna be the next Swvl of the region? 😉