By Handan Sema Ceylan
COVID-19 has triggered technological development and digitalization in Turkey, as well as the rest of the world. People of all ages have been forced to use online platforms in order to meet their basic needs such as education, nutrition or clothing, which has paved the way for home delivery and online shopping applications to rapidly increase during the pandemic. Businesses adopting the technology and digital transformation have naturally had more luck surviving the pandemic lockdowns.
Among them, the online food delivery company Yemeksepeti (literally, ‘food basket’) has become one of those, which has helped many businesses make it through the pandemic. The company previously TRY 1m support for food sector employees through the Turkish Restaurateurs and Bakers Federation. It has also launched a TRY 20m aid package recently for single branch restaurants, which experienced difficulties during the pandemic.
Turkey’s first online food order and delivery company, Yemeksepeti currently operates in 407 districts of 81 cities in Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) with 20,000,000 users and over 50,000 member restaurants. “However, our goal is not to say that we serve in each city with a single restaurant in provinces, but also to prove this by showing ourselves in every neighbourhood of cities in order to access as many restaurants and users as possible,” says Sertac Sener, Chief Sales Officer (CSO) of Yemeksepeti.
Generally, restaurants should allocate budget and time separately for technical infrastructure for digitalization, but, Yemeksepeti has provided them an opportunity to start their online order services in a short span of time during the pandemic. Thus, the company has also contributed to the local economy. “We provided 32,437 new restaurants with online ordering capabilities by digitalizing in 2020, 82% of which were of individual restaurants, i.e., neighbourhood restaurants,” says Sener.
On the fiscal side, Yemeksepeti has also raised its turnover per restaurant by 26% in this period, compared to the previous year. Moreover, the growth outlook isn’t just based on restaurants, according to Sener. “We are a big family consisting of 8,000 people, 5,000 of which joined us in the last 12 months,” says the CSO. The company aims to reach 12,000 to 13,000 employees after including 4,000-5,000 jobs this year.
BANABI SKIPS WALKING, STARTS RUNNING
Yemeksepeti’s online shopping service Banabi was transformed into a service that is able to deliver over 4,000 products or services quickly to over 2,000,000 people from point A to point B. The cash on delivery system (COD) was put into use in Banabi while none of its competitors had COD. Moreover, the system has been brought to perfection by artificial intelligence as much as possible. “We’ve taught Banabi to run after skipping walking with our innovations and with the impact of the spike in demand in e-commerce as a result of the pandemic,” says Sener.
Furthermore, Banabi has seriously grown in big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, while it has also grown rapidly in Anatolia. Within this frame, the number of restaurants in Anatolia grew by 43% in 2020, compared to the previous year, while this growth exceeded 100% in Van, Tokat, Mardin, Malatya, Manisa, Erzincan and Erzurum.