The Indian Hotel Restaurant Association (AHAR) recently announced the launch of Waayu, a new food delivery app aimed at helping restaurants and hotels in the country increase their online presence and expand their customer base.
The app was created in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely impacted the foodservice industry. With lockdowns and restrictions in place, many restaurants and hotels have struggled to stay afloat, particularly smaller businesses that may not have the resources or infrastructure to pivot to online sales.
According to a report by the National Restaurant Association of India, the Indian foodservice industry lost an estimated INR 1 lakh crore ($13.6 billion) in the first three months of the pandemic alone. While some restaurants have been able to adapt to the new normal by offering takeaway and delivery services, others have had to shut down permanently.
Waayu aims to bridge this gap by providing a platform for restaurants and hotels of all sizes to connect with customers online. The app allows businesses to create their own profiles and menus, with features like real-time tracking, ratings and reviews, and personalized promotions to help drive sales.
One of the key advantages of Waayu is that it is designed specifically for the Indian market. Unlike other food delivery apps that may not be optimized for local cuisines and preferences, Waayu offers a range of features that cater to Indian customers, such as the ability to filter by cuisine, dietary restrictions, and price range.
The app also offers a variety of payment options, including cash on delivery, digital wallets, and UPI, to accommodate customers who may not have access to credit or debit cards. This is particularly important in India, where cash transactions still account for a significant portion of overall commerce.
Waayu has already garnered support from a number of prominent industry players, including the FHRAI (Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India) and the NRAI (National Restaurant Association of India). The app is also backed by leading payment gateway provider Paytm, which has invested in the platform through its subsidiary, Paytm Money.
In addition to supporting local businesses, Waayu also aims to promote sustainable practices in the foodservice industry. The app encourages restaurants and hotels to use eco-friendly packaging and reduce food waste, and provides customers with information on the environmental impact of their orders.
Overall, Waayu represents a promising new development in India’s foodservice industry, offering a much-needed lifeline for struggling businesses and a convenient, user-friendly platform for customers. While the app is still in its early stages, it has the potential to become a major player in the online food delivery space, particularly as more consumers shift towards digital channels in the wake of the pandemic.
However, Waayu will also face significant challenges as it seeks to establish itself in a crowded and competitive market. It will need to invest heavily in marketing and advertising to build brand awareness and attract new users, and will need to continuously innovate and improve its features and offerings to stay ahead of the competition.
Additionally, the app will need to navigate a complex regulatory landscape, particularly with regards to issues such as food safety, data privacy, and labor laws. This is particularly important in light of recent controversies surrounding the treatment of gig workers in the food delivery industry, and the growing push for greater regulation and accountability in the sector.
Despite these challenges, Waayu represents a positive step forward for the Indian foodservice industry, and offers a glimpse of the potential for innovation and growth in this important sector. With its focus on sustainability, localization, and customer-centric features, the app has the potential to help transform the way Indians eat, and support the growth of local businesses in the process.