Stepan Aslanyan: Menu.ge has many projects to involve regional restaurants and increase number of orders 4 June 2018

It is the fourth year that Menu.ge – the first Menu Group project outside Armenia – is operating on the Georgian market. During four years Menu.ge became the leader in terms of food delivery in Georgia – a market with serious competitors. Armenian News NEWS.am talked to Menu.ge director Stepan Aslanyan to find out how the company managed to become a leader as well as to disclose peculiarities of the Georgian market.

Menu.ge was launched in Georgia in October 2014. What was the initial goal of the project? What were the terms for reaching the outlined positions?

We follow the international market of delivery very attentively, especially the trends in the neighboring countries. The delivery culture of the country wasn’t developed, when we first entered the Georgian market, even though one of the biggest international delivery services operated here at the time. The restaurants did provide delivery services, but at a very high price. Our entry to the Georgian market, has finally made the prices of delivery service competitive. We were confident that there is a huge potential here. We needed to foster the culture of delivery for both our customers and for the restaurants. Our Armenian service did not have that problem because the delivery in the homeland was relatively widespread when we introduced menu.am service to the Armenian consumers.

Your main opponent left Georgian market during these years. “Victory” is a positive element for business, but it brings serious challenges, as this leads to a vacuum in the market.

The presence of healthy competition is the best guarantee of a boost for a developing business. However, our competitors failed to overcome the challenge of our experience and professionalism accumulated in the Georgian market. So, Menu Group purchased “Foodpanda Georgia” in 2017, August 1. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a market vacuum for a client oriented business, because our “competitors” become our customers. The responsibility of a leader is to serve customers who have made us the leader of the market.

How many orders does menu.ge get daily? What is the difference between the orders through a call center and online?

More than 5,000 meals are delivered daily. About 90% of the orders are made online – equally through the application and through the website. The rest of the orders are placed through the call center. Actually, our experience shows that the Call Center is a great tool for customer service, and the online system makes our work much faster and more efficient. Especially after we have launched the site’s geolocation feature, we are sure that the number of online users will increase.

Georgia hosted around 8 million tourists last year. Menu.am, for instance, has many orders from tourists. What about Georgia? Are there many orders from foreigners?

Yes there are many foreign users of our service. For example, recently, during the May holidays, our system showed a sharp increase in foreign customers. This shows that the fact that we enjoy the trust of the locals which in their turn make the image of our service even more accessible and dependable to foreigners.

Number one order in Armenia is barbeque, kebab or shaurma. What do they usually order in Georgia?

Khinkali, Shaurma and of course Fast Food. These are the quickest and most affordable dishes, hence, the demand is high too. There is also relatively a bigger demand for Thai, Indian and Persian cuisines.

What projects do you have to develop business in Georgia’s regions?

Menu.ge operates in 7 different cities of Georgia. At present, the number of restaurants that cooperate with us is over 350 in Georgia, most of them in the capital. In the nearest future, we have many projects to involve regional restaurants and increase the number of orders.

You were working as a manager for quite a big company in Armenia, but in a while you were appointed a director of a project that seems to be a difficult job. A foreign country, different mentality, and you have to manage them. How did you overcome these changes?

The Georgian customs, for us Armenians, are not so foreign. On the contrary, Georgia, as a consumer market, is very similar to Armenia, with some distinctive variants of course. And even the most sophisticated project comes to life easily with a professional and a motivated team.