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Mohit Gupta | July 31, 2019 | 3 min read
Now serving in 500 cities in 🇮🇳

At the beginning of June this year, users in over 300 cities in India could order food through Zomato. Back then, we were under the assumption that we’ll reach the 500 milestone by the end of August, if not September. Turns out our food delivery services are growing faster than ever before. And we are already in 500 cities . 

As revealed earlier on this blog, we are aggressively launching across  Tier III and Tier IV cities for wider reach and scale. In the last month, we’ve launched our ordering businesses in 120 cities. We are able to maintain this momentum thanks to our data-driven strategy of reaching out to places that show potential and come true on our set criteria. 

Some of our latest additions are in geographies such as, Alappuzha and Malappuram (Kerala), Pushkar (Rajasthan), Ankleshwar and Mehsana (Gujarat), Kanyakumari, Kodaikanal and Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu), Itarsi and Ashoknagar (Madhya Pradesh), Fazilka and Nawanshahr (Punjab), Vrindavan and Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh), Silvassa (Daman), Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh), Daltonganj (Jharkhand), Pataudi (Haryana), Osmanabad and Sawantwadi (Maharashtra) and Shillong (Meghalaya) – amongst others on the map.

We are glad to note that our food delivery services are now available in three north-eastern states. 

The enthusiasm from the restaurant industry and users from the lesser-known cities have been nothing less than an enormous boost to our strategy of reaching out with our vision of ‘better food for more people’. For instance, Giridih in Jharkhand, with a population of 144,000 clocked over 1000 orders on the very first day of its launch and has continued the rhythm since. In Fazilka (Punjab), with a population of 76,492, each restaurant onboard is averaging 40 orders a day. Such trends have been insightful as well as encouraging. A user in Nagaur (Rajasthan), with a population of 1.3 lakh, ordered food worth ₹6995 – registering the highest order value from a Tier IV city. Chicken Biryani has been the most ordered non-veg item in the Tier III-IV cities while Masala Dosa took the pole position in the veg category. 

This has been an exhilarating ride and we are grateful to all the elements at play.

Here are our 4 key learnings so far: 

Far and wide is possible: Every city in India, big or small, thanks to the advent of mobile penetration, is an opportunity worth exploring. We are yet to go wrong on any geographic conjecture of launch. We relish the rush of being super-quick operationally but are also humbled by our collective efforts of making things happen in the not-so-inhabited regions. All our metrics (orders per thousand, value per order) have proven the commonly held belief that India’s economy is driven by Tier 1 and II cities only, wrong. The top 15 cities contributed 100% of our Delivery business 12 months ago. While the growth in those cities has tripled in the last 12 months, other cities now contribute 40 per cent of our business.

Two wheels, one ecosystem: Staying true to the belief system behind our Delivery Universe, we are mobilizing people towards better employment. With every single launch, we are observing a spike in the number of delivery partners who are willing to work with us – not just those who own motorcycles but also those with bicycles at their disposal.

The beauty of brand recall: One of the most interesting and repetitive events has been the way people (both users and restaurants partners) have shown a desire to have our food delivery services made available in their respective cities and towns. We didn’t have to sell our brand hard  as people are already aware of how synonymous we are with food. 

Challenges don’t last long: With a dedicated team and a singular focus, we have set out realistic goals across varied geographies. It goes without saying that we’ve faced operational challenges — for instance, despite their overwhelming drive to join us, we had to educate some of our restaurant partners about our concerns for food safety — but none of them has made us regret our initial call to go ahead. And we firmly believe that this won’t change in our next milestone either

We hope to keep going until there are no new places left to explore.

Lastly, our ongoing journey has made us acutely aware of the India’s rich diversity and I am particularly proud of my team for making it possible to bridge the gap between our users and their favourite food items.

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