5 reasons why Rads Poha shut temporarily
It hurt every time the phone rang this morning. Irrespective the caller, typical question on the other end would be ‘Where I can order Rads Poha from?’
For context, Rads Poha was a Poha On Demand service in Koramangala and around, Bangalore. Completely bootstrapped by a solo founder.
I don’t have all the answers right now. I know I love Poha and there’s no way I can let it down. But on-demand is definitely not working out into a sustainable business model. Here’s why I say so:
- Delivery Cost: Cannot stress enough on this one point. Deliveries were burning a hole in the pocket. It felt as if we were earning for our logistics partner and not for Rads Poha, across orders! Of course we knew deliveries would be expensive. But when you are a newcomer in the game and nobody entertains you, you gotta get hold of someone and start off. So we did! We tried doing Scheduled deliveries wherein a user would tell us at least 2 hours prior that they’d want to eat Poha! So we could pre-book a delivery and save some money there. But hey, did you ever think of planning what you are going to eat 2 hour later, now? Never — the answer in most cases.
- Delivery Time: We switched gears to on-demand and delivered only on Saturdays and Sundays. Weekends are when people can relish a breakfast that will come at its own pace — 60 minutes. Why? Because it takes time to generate a delivery request, then the person shows up after asking for directions at least once, he picks up the order and takes the One Time Password, then heads in your direction, navigates maps, finds a parking, signs in your society register and then reaches you! We did manage to do all this in 45 minutes too. But those were few.
- Delivery Availability: Getting delivery boys for a morning slot is hard. We did not have numbers to commit for a dedicated resource either. So I played a Chef-Customer Support-Marketing-Delivery — all in one on multiple occasions! I have been at the receiving end of ‘Oh I am so sorry you had to come yourself. Why don’t you tie up with xyz since they do deliveries too?’ We are newcomers and they wouldn’t take us on-board, I’d sheepishly say. And then run towards the parking to fetch the bicycle and pedal my way back.
- Delivery Distance: This overlaps with the first point of Delivery Cost. While we intended to serve in 7km radius of the cloud kitchen, it was practically impossible to do it! For deliveries up to 4.5 kms, the same rate was applicable. Beyond that, every km was billed extra. So we had repeat customers who ordered on Saturdays in their Koramangala office and requested for a Sunday delivery to their home which would be anywhere between 6–7km from the point of pick up. And we simply could not service them since that would have meant 75% of the order value going to deliveries. Unimaginable!
- Delivery Side Effects: While the product always received positive reviews, I felt guilty of shipping a Poha which was not as hot as it could be! Simply because I could not time it to the T. It had to be ready before the delivery boy showed up. How soon or how late — one could never say!
TLDR: Rads Poha will need offline presence to survive. We could then have takeaways and hire staff that could assist in deliveries when in crisis. Since that would be capital intensive, we are shutting down temporarily. Heartfelt thank you to all those who gave us a chance!