Backed by the biggies, DishCo enters market to compete with Zomato, Foodpanda

Backed by the biggies, DishCo enters market to compete with Zomato, Foodpanda

The food review and ordering industry in India has been flourishing significantly in the past few months due to the presence of aggregators who are making the most of the potential of a mobile first and home chef marketplaces.

The latest entrant to this booming industry is a mobile-only food marketplace called DishCo founded by Jimmy and Fida Shaw (in picture above) and backed by Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra, Punj Lloyd founder Uday Punj, founder Ashish Hemrajani, and New York-based Sanjeev Mehra, partner at Goldman, Sachs & Co, who have all turned angel investors for DishCo.

In a bid to stand out from the existing options in the market, DishCo primarily aims to be the one-stop solution app for one’s dining problems. Elaborating on the same, Jimmy Shaw, says, “DishCo will be offering all services that existing apps offer such as food reviews, table reservations, food delivery, coupons and wallet services, but, all under one app. So, a user won’t have to download a number of different apps for the same.” Thus, a user can rank and share his/her favourite dishes, thus personalizing their eating out experience.

DishCo is all about putting the fun back in dining, he claims. “The user interface goes far beyond asking the usual name, email ID and mobile number profile. The app instead maps user’s likes and requirements and then ensures that each user is dished out a unique offering and experience. DishCo allows a user to decide the offers he/she wants, chat with the outlets, answer queries and solve real problems that are sometimes encountered, give feedback directly to a restaurant to ensure that it is used by the outlet to improve upon future experiences.”


But, doesn’t reviewing a restaurant on Zomato serve the same purpose too? According to Shaw, many review restaurants on these sites or on social media without completely understanding the nuances of the hospitality industry. More often than not, it ends up hurting the restaurant’s reputation rather than providing constructive criticism.

“That’s where DishCo comes in by letting a customer connect directly with restaurant management,” says Shaw.

Through the app, consumers can interact with the restaurants directly using the simple Resto Chat feature and convey their grievances or feedback. Eventually, the ability of the restaurant to retain patrons and to attract repeat customers will be dependent on the quality of their service, food, overall experience of the guests.

“Our aim is to facilitate interaction between the consumer and the service provider and create a fruitful, result-oriented dialogue instead of a one-way feedback,” he says.
At the moment, close to 8500 restaurants across Mumbai, Pune and Goa have signed up on DishCo and the process of registering restaurants is still ongoing. The app plans to soon expand to Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.

“The objective is to ensure that high costs of marketing do not deter the smallest player from reaching out to the very same audience that the biggest player can otherwise easily grab. Thus, with DishCo, we are creating a fair marketplace with a level playing field for everyone,” he adds.

Shaw’s business model is also a bit different from others. Unlike most food startups that either charge restaurants a commission for orders sourced through them or have a fleet to deliver food to customers, DishCo offers listing and ranking service without any fee. However, DishCo has a fixed subscription fee for restaurants that opt for booking tables, offering coupons, and other value-added services.

Apart from this, another unique feature of this app is their ‘Pledge a meal’ campaign, which Shaw hopes proves to be a game-changer for them as well as a helping hand for the underprivileged section of the society.

“With Pledge a Meal, DishCo’s objective is to ensure that no child should go to bed hungry and thus, we expect every restaurant that registers on DishCo to sign up for a minimum pledge of 1 meal @ Rs. 25/- for one child per day which costs Rs. 750/- per month.”

The Pledge a meal button on the app also lets consumers to pledge 1, 5, 10, 100 or more meals using the white labeled DishCo wallet / Debit / Credit card / NEFT. These individual pledges show up against the donor’s name and shows their friends’ contributions as well to encourage a healthy pledging habit. Every time a user donates and pledges a meal, DishCo will send a coupon / offer for them to use and enjoy.

“Our aim is to eventually reach out to 50,000 restaurants and generate over 1.5 million meal pledges per month or 18 million a year. Pledge amounts including DishCo’s own contribution go to the Food Marshal Charitable Trust, which is a registered trust in Delhi,” states Shaw.

As Shaw reiterates, DishCo begins where all the other apps end. The need of the hour, he believes, is to bring about a course correction and shift the balance back in favor of the restaurants.

“Instead of a one-way public feedback where the restaurant owners have no opportunity to respond, defend, even when a complaint or a review may be motivated, DishCo will provide a platform to initiate a dialogue between the customer and restaurant that aims at resolution,” he explains.

That’s not all. Shaw also plans on launching DishCo outside India apart from covering 46 cities in the next 12 months, keeping both the interests of the user and service provider in mind.

Image credit: DishCo