Bringing the beauty of offline experiences online: A Faasos take

Jaideep CEO

Although many of our customers across India who are using Faasos as an answer to #AajKhaneMeinKyaHai, might think we are primarily a mobile app, I must say a few old world / brick-and-mortar type of stuff runs very strongly in our veins – may be a bit too strongly, given our roots. That includes managing a network of kitchens across the country, supply chain, inventory management, new product development ( not the app, but actual food ) etc. But, the thing that defines our offline root most strongly, is how our customer experience vision is formed and is being executed upon. Over time we have tried to either keep the beautiful aspects of an offline experience or improved upon them using the power of technology. Of course, some of these worked and others did not, but that’s life. Here is a synopsis of what we have done so far. The list is no way comprehensive and will remain work in progress for ever, as there is really no end to improving customer experience:

The Best Bits of Offline How we are trying to keep it and make it better
Offline is very personal. A waiter or an order taker on the phone recognizes you if you are a regular customer. Gives you a nod. The chef says hello while passing by. And yes, if you are not carrying cash would pass on a bit of credit every now and then. Our Elite program is an endeavour to bring back the charm of old world loyalty. If you are regular enough to be an Elite customer, the app recognizes you, gives you a surprise dish on the house once in a while, always asks you if you would like to pay later, sends you the new dishes that are about to come up for tasting. These are a few of the ever expanding benefits given to the Elite.
How many times you went to a restaurant and asked for recommended dishes. Well, I do it 100% of the time. And the results are usually pleasant Our Faasos Finest range is a step towards that. We have put together a collection of dishes, that are best rated and most loved by our customers – not by our chef, nor by our marketing team, but by our customers. That’s where I feel we upped it one level from offline, where it is usually a gut feeling. In our case, this is data driven and automatically pulled up basis ratings and order volume. We are now taking it to the next level, where our recommendations will be personalized, based on what you like, what you ordered and how you rated what you ordered, whether you are missing out on something that everyone else loved so on and so forth. Think of Netflix of Food reco.
Offline gives you pleasant surprises. At the end of the dinner, how many times have you been overwhelmed by the little gesture of the restaurant to give you a complimentary dessert? Has not happened with me many times unfortunately, but I do remember a few occasions. And I have never forgotten those restaurants Every now and then, and for every new customer of ours, we add a complimentary “welcome kit” – consisting of a dessert and a few other tit-bits. We absolutely love the smile our delivery boys get from a pleasantly surprised customer. I can tell you, there is no bigger motivation in business than when your customer smiles at you. Our boys love it ( may be even more than the customers :))
The trouble with offline How we are trying to make it less troublesome
Waiting for your food order is probably the most harrowing experiences mankind goes through ( with the exception of speaking in public probably ). It is usually filled with several phone calls asking how far, how much more time etc., super fast escalation of hunger and as a result anger, getting all sorts of cliches back from the person on the phone including “ ladka nikal gaya hai (the delivery boy on its way)”, “kab place kiya order ( when did you place the order?)”, “do minute me call karta hun (will call you back in two minutes)”, so on and so forth. You get the gist. All of us suffered irrevocably waiting for our food from the local restaurant. To counter this, we built, probably an industry first, “Estimated Time of Delivery”.

  1. When you order on Faasos, at the end of the order, the app estimates the delivery time based on the distance between you and the kitchen, traffic situation, current load at the kitchen and prep time of your order.
  1. Before you press your final “place order” button, you will actually see this “estimated time” and can decide whether you want to proceed with the order or not.
  1. If you decide to go ahead and order, an order tracking appears on your screen and you can see a clock ticking away towards your estimated time. Which means, even if you are not watching the time, intermittently you can check the tracker and see how much time is left before the “Estimated Time” for delivery is lapsed.
  1. Right at the stroke of the “Estimated Time”, you get a message asking “ Have you got your order?” 97% of the cases today, we get an affirmative answer, which means for about 3% of the cases we were wrong about the Estimated Time, or something catastrophic may have happened and we got late. If the customer says “no” in answer to that question, a notification immediately goes to our Customer Service Center, who gets on the job of finding out what happened to the order.

If you are not already bored, do check out my post on “Estimated Delivery Time”

Customizing your order over the phone is always a game of chinese whisper. You ask for extra cheese and the order comes with lots of onions and no cheese. It has happened with every one of us. We built in customizations with all our Meals, Rice and Wraps. On our app, you can always change the base of your wrap to whole wheat, chose your carb in your meals ( rice, roti or both), add extra toppings or that dash of cheese. It all gets added to your order and shows up on the kitchen screen, so there is no chinese whisper or missing extras because someone did not listen to your properly

As I said before, this is just the start of the journey for us, and we are excited to keep introducing great offline experiences or improve upon them on our app. We are working on several features from splitting bills among your friends to one click device to order your food by pressing a button. Would love to hear from you if you have any ideas around how experiences could be beautiful when someone is ordering online.

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