By HUSNIYE GUNGOR
Online food delivery platform Fuudy wants to develop new products and services demanded by its customers who want the very best when it comes to good food. Therefore, the latest investment it received from Vakko, Turkey’s first luxury fashion brand, will go towards gaining knowledge in customer experience, deepening services, and creating operational synergy, according to Fuudy Co-Founder and CEO Ilker Baydar. “The investment will be a catalyst for the products and services we will be able to develop for our customers that demand high-end food,” he said.
Baydar avoids using the term “luxury food delivery” for Fuudy, an app his team developed in order to bring the classic food delivery service concept to the next level in a digitalizing world. Baydar says he hopes that the experience makes people feel special, adding that Fuudy’s services are far beyond “ordering luxury food.” “We offer a flawless experience in the comfort of the customer’s home as if they are in a restaurant. We help the customer to find the best of what they want to eat in a city,” he added.
The USD 3m capital invested by Vakko Holding, made in January, will primarily accelerate technology and product development, acceleration of talent acquisition, and growth processes. To Baydar, growth means the expansion of Fuudy’s services, geographical growth, increase in member businesses, the opening of ghost kitchens, expanded catering services, and new digital solutions, such as loyalty programs, payment systems, and reservations.
Fuudy was established as an online food delivery platform in May 2020 and launched with 14 member businesses, all fine-dining restaurants in Istanbul. The first milestone was their market penetration strategy, Baydar said. Brands like Papermoon, Sunset, Mangerie, Zuma, Lucca and Morini introduced delivery services for the first time. Delivering the best venue and cuisine mix beyond the average service officers is what sets the company apart, according to Baydar.
With the full lockdown in 2020, the number of member businesses exceeded 800 and consumer demand expanded to the Asian side in Istanbul and to the beach towns of Bodrum and Mavisehir, in Izmir, in the summer months. With this expansion, the company was able to offer a wider selection.
A shared vision with Vakko
The startup was funded by its two founding partners (Cem Mirap and Ilker Baydar) until August 2021, when angel investors increased the capital by USD 1.1m with a USD 7.1m valuation. The company’s automobile and motorcycle courier network was expanded and the sale of intercity gourmet products began, in addition to hot meals. The second investment tour for Fuudy was completed with Vakko in January of this year. As part of its growth strategies and new investments, Vakko Holding invested USD 3m over a total valuation of USD 10.1m in Fuudy. “Vakko aims to further expand the services provided by the digital platform Fuudy and the concept of luxury in the food and beverage industry,” the company had said in a press release on the investment.
Fuudy CEO Ilker Baydar said that Vakko shared their vision, which is to change the classical understanding of package delivery service and to lead the digitalization process in the food and beverage sector. This matches very well with their vision that know-how is more important than capital in an investment, he added. “We believe that their fount of knowledge will add value during the development process that will meet customer experience and end-to-end demands,” he noted.
Nearly 150 businesses get orders on the Fuudy platform and are selected in line with the company’s venue and cuisine standards. As the availability of these restaurants is geographically limited compared to fast-food brands, Fuudy’s delivery radius is two to three times longer than other food deliverers. Deliveries are made by trained motorcycle couriers in special carrier boxes. Future-dated orders are also available for special occasions like Valentine’s Day, holidays, or New Year’s Eve. The reason Fuudy carries only half of the sector’s average delivery volume is that they see qualified delivery experience as more important than delivery volume.
Fuudy also sells gourmet products from its Fuudy store in Levent, where they gathered popular brands together in one place. The market delivery service sources from selected market chains like Macrocenter, Fresk, and Gourmet Garage. The average order value is more than TRY 220, compared to TRY 55-75 on average in standard markets. Fuudy has gained a precious consumer group with its ability to deliver higher-value products to a wider radius, according to Fuudy CEO.
First ghost kitchens to open this summer
Fuudy wants to be the leading brand in the digitalized ecosystem of the food and beverage industry, and they hope to do so by producing end-to-end solutions. Baydar defines its five-to-10-year plan as a “super-app” approach. Fuudy hopes to become 100 times larger and more valuable and expand nationally. It also hopes to test its services in global markets – online food, ghost kitchens, catering, chef at home, onsite payment, reservation, market delivery, and more could all be successful around the world, according to Baydar.
“We will take the food order far beyond something that relieves hunger and introduce the concept of the gourmet experience to the whole of Turkey. The perception that you have to go to a restaurant to eat special food made by the best chefs will change, especially with our Ghost Kitchen project,” he said. The first (online only) ghost kitchen by Fuudy will be opened on the Asian side of Istanbul this summer and will include menus from popular restaurants on the European side.
Ghost kitchens will be among the things that support the growth of Fuudy, along with geographical expansion, an increased number of customers in existing and new geographies, new member businesses, and market delivery. For 2022, the company is targeting a 350,000 customer base, 2,000 member businesses, and TRY 150m in turnover in Izmir, Ankara, Bodrum, and Istanbul.
Good food at a fair price
Baydar said that the current inflationist environment and the rise in the minimum wage increased delivery costs in the industry by more than 50%. Member businesses have also increased the price of their menus by 40-50% as of December, he added. “We are trying to understand needs by expanding geographically and in terms of our cuisines. We are trying to control our delivery costs with optimization,” he noted.
Since Fuudy does not see itself as “luxury” or “expensive,” they are affected by the same conditions as all businesses in Turkey. “Good food does not refer to expensive food for us,” Baydar said, “We offer options that appeal to all budgets but are the best in their field.”
Baydar also believes that the country will get out of its troublesome economic situation as soon as possible. “Production, exports, production of value-added technology, and investment will come back,” he said, adding that this will positively impact future plans for all businesses.
Demand for better of everything will increase
There are mega-trends that determine the future food and beverage sector, according to Fuudy Co-Founder and CEO Ilker Baydar. “Hygiene and quality alone are not enough for today’s consumer. Healthy living, personalized nutrition info, and special needs, such as no-or-low sugar or high-protein meals, are becoming more and more important. Cooking at home, getting your meal cooked at home by a chef, heat and eat, and gathering at home for dinner parties are the new trends,” he said. As the form of socialization has changed, there will be similar experiments on the alcohol side as well, he added. “The definition of luxury is also changing. Sustainable brands that care about the climate and water will become more prominent than brands selling a purse made of the skin of extinct animals. Everyone wants and deserves better, and this demand will continue to increase.”
Asian food captures the lion share of orders
10% – Asian food (Sushi, noodles, ramen)
8% – Pizza
7% – Salads
7% – Dessert
7% – Vegan
6% – Burgers
6% – Grilled meat
6% – Health bowls
5% – Kebab
5% – Starters
5% – Soup
4% – Sourdough bread
4% – Breakfast
3% – Coffee