India’s food delivery business just got a tad spicier.
In a first-of-its-kind tie-up, UberEats, the ride-hailing company’s food delivery arm, has partnered with India’s largest coffee chain, Café Coffee Day (CCD), to open virtual kitchens at the latter’s existing restaurants, the two companies announced today (Oct. 26).
BSE-listed CCD has over 1,700 outlets in over 240 Indian cities. The chain will now use these to launch sub-brands purely hosted on the Uber Eats app.
The rollout, expected to begin in November, will be kick-started in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru. CCD is yet to announce the brand names under which it will launch this virtual, delivery-only business.
“A virtual brand is being created as we speak,” said Venu Madhavan, CEO of Café Coffee Day. With the tie-up, CCD, which has been selling coffee and snacks in India since the late 1990s, hopes to jump on to the latest food-delivery fad that has seen firms like Zomato and Swiggy raise billions of dollars in funding.
The cafe chain’s Uber Eats menu, however, will be different from its own.
The tie-up will see CCD launch multiple brands whose names haven’t been revealed yet. The first of these will be home-style cooked meals. Uber Eats, in turn, will help CCD with data, analytics, and insights to help identify food or cuisines that consumers crave the most. This will help the two tweak the menu according to evolving trends.
India’s online food-delivery market is pegged at $7 billion, with Zomato and Swiggy cornering large shares.
Lately, it has also attracted new deep-pocketed entrants. For instance, Google launched its restaurant-delivery and home-services platform, Areo, in India last April. Smaller players like Faasos and Freshmenu cook and deliver their own meals, too. One such startup, Holachef, was recently acquired by Foodpanda, which is owned by Uber’s rival Ola.
With the Uber Eats tie-up, CCD will now host the largest virtual restaurant chain.
“We do have cloud kitchens and tie-ups with delivery-only restaurants, but there is nothing at this scale being done anywhere else in the world,” said Jason Droege, vice-president of UberEverything at Uber Technologies.
To be sure, Uber Eats runs its delivery business in 350 cities in 35 countries the world over. In India, it was started in May 2017 and currently operates in 37 cities here.