Oie Dish8Door : Bhutan’s food-ordering mobile App doing well two years into operations

Part of a mushrooming industry of youths developing user friendly apps

Oie Dish8Door is the first food-ordering App in Bhutan. It was started on 13 April 2018. Anyone can place a food order from the popular restaurants registered with the App, without physically going to restaurants and placing the orders themselves, thereby saving time and energy.

The idea behind creating the food-ordering App came from 28-year-old Ngawang Tobgay. He also has a friend helping him to set up the App. He said the App idea was never influenced by trendy international food ordering Apps, like Swiggy or Zomato, but rather the main motive behind creating the food ordering App was solely because of his love for food, and the frustration of not finding a parking space or a table in the popular restaurants and waiting in queues.

He said, “It’s almost been two years now, and it is running well compared to the beginning six months where we had difficulties in making people understand how this App works.’’

Nevertheless, marketing the App remains as one of their biggest challenge, even though they pay to have sponsored ads on social media, like Facebook and Instagram, and promotional offers.

Apart from the marketing challenge, the other challenge is not being able to deliver food on the given time due to heavy traffic as well as the time taken by the restaurants to prepare the food order.  He said busy restaurants take delivery order only after serving their customers present at the restaurant.

The App provides features for the restaurants to register themselves online by uploading the pictures of their menu, restaurant and other relevant details, but when they are unable to do so, it’s done by the App developers. There are 38 restaurants in Thimphu registered with the App as of now. The delivery charge is based on the location. The minimum rate on which one can order the food for delivery is Nu 90. The delivery reaches to almost all places in and around Thimphu.

‘’I was not sure whether it would run successfully or not, but I took the risk and gave it a try, thinking that I will stop it after 3 months if it does not run well. But since there were positive outcomes, I continued with this business,” he said.

He further added,  “IT services are coming up and anyone can develop Apps, but since we are not technically advanced and have to depend on experts from India and abroad who charge us more, we cannot cope up. We need to focus on creating experts from our own country too.”

Most of the App users are middle-aged group of people located mainly in Changzamtog and Babesa.

“The App is user friendly, but we get feedback from the people saying that it is too simple. Although the fact is that we can surely make it fancy, but since some may find it complicated, we made it simple,’’ said Ngawang Tobgay.

The App is available both on Android and IOS.  There is no online payment feature as yet although they already have the approval from RMA. As online payment would mean commission cut per transaction to RMA and the bank, therefore, it is preferable to not use the online payment and opt for MBoB payment instead.

So far, the food-ordering App business employs four delivery boys and plans on employing a few more in the future. The food-tracking feature in the App is on hold as the tracking system deals with satellite and is bit difficult. A voice command feature is also in pipeline to make it easier to order food.

The profit of the business is dependent upon the number of orders placed.  Ngawang’s business mantra to the youth who are aspiring to become entrepreneurs is, “Do not stick only to the plan but rather implement it at the earliest. You will face challenges and even if you suffer from failure, never give up but learn through mistakes, and be committed to your work because hard-work is the main key.”

A lot of young entrepreneurs, like Ngawang Tobgay are coming up and developing user friendly mobile Apps providing services to the community and making it easier for the people to use.

He concluded by saying that there are a lot of opportunities out here for the youth to explore business ideas, but since most of the youth aim high and want to grow big within no time, which is impossible, they go abroad to work, but if they invest the amount of hard work here, which they put in working abroad, they will be able to earn the same amount that they earn outside, as long as they have the patience and commitment.

DrukFood is yet another food delivery app that will hit the market soon.

DrukRide has partnered with Meal Temple Private limited based in Sydney to offer online food delivery services under the name DrukFood in Bhutan. Meal Temple Private Limited is also operating in countries like Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia. The concept is different from other food delivery apps as they plan to involve local community in delivering food.

There are apps to get one’s garbage picked up apart from apps where one can book one’s vehicles like Bhutan’s very own Uber services.

About Karma Chuki Namgyel

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