Ahmad AD, is the co-founder and CEO of HungryNaki, the country’s first and leading online food ordering and delivery company. In an interview with Future Startup. Mr. Ahmed explained the journey of HungryNaki and how HungryNaki was founded back in 2013.
The beginning of HungryNaki
We started Hungrynaki in 2013. I met Tausif through a mutual friend, Shourav Islam, CEO of UNIFOX Digital. Sajid, one of my friends, and I were planning on starting something at that time. We had been thinking about retail and fashion.
Tausif had worked in e-commerce for quite a while and he knew the business. And I have been a technologically inclined person since my childhood. I was also into these tiny businesses, selling small things here and there since my school days.
So the business bug was always there in me. I was working at a textile company as a full-time business head. Though the position was not of a CEO, I was a director there, but my responsibilities were that of a CEO. Major technological changes were happening at that time even in the garment sector. I saw that there is good potential for technology and related business.
In textiles, I noticed that a tough time was coming for Bangladesh. The world is moving towards automation. If our local companies don’t embrace automation or improve their excellence to an extent where they could not be replaced, even survival would be a challenging affair.
In my textile company, I pushed for the adaptation of technology as fast as possible. Make your people more efficient so they can beat machines. If they can’t beat machines, make sure that machines cannot beat their excellence.
Long story short, before Hungrynaki, we used to have these common discussions in the evening after office about starting a business. We were exploring different opportunities. We had to eat at that time. We would send our drivers to fetch food and so on. That’s when the idea came that there are many people who also need this service.
At that time, the way this problem was solved around the world was creating a platform for restaurants and connecting restaurants and customers. Restaurants would do the delivery. Tech companies were merely providing the platform.
But it occurred to us that in Bangladesh it would not be possible to do so because most of the restaurants in Dhaka don’t have their logistics. So we would need to have our own logistics.
We made the decision in June and started the company in July. Tausif joined here after we started. Then we recruited two business developers and three web developers. You know the rest of the story!
An overview of HungryNaki
The business is growing every month around 7 to 10%. We are a bootstrapping company. Naturally, we could not invest heavily in growth for the sake of growth. Instead of pouring money into mere advertising and marketing, we have been focusing on service quality and giving our customers a better experience.
For instance, we take complaints from customers very seriously. We listen to our customers carefully and immediately resolve the problems. This has been a priority area for us. Consequently, our overall number of complaints has gone down and continues to decrease every day.
We are a team of 50 people in the core team. We have a team of 180 delivery people working full time with us and some 30/40 part-timers who join us when there is a need.
The other area that we pay a lot of attention to is ensuring a good working environment for our delivery people. Delivery is a strenuous job. If you take traffic and other conditions in Dhaka into consideration, it is a very difficult job.
When people are working on the road, you need to give them a proper resting area so that they can take a break. We have made such arrangements. This ensures that they can work properly.
We usually get asked why we’re not adopting the freelance model for delivery. It is a safe-model I admit, but we believe that it’s important for us to work closely with our delivery people because they play an important role in ensuring our customer experience. Due to this, our turn out rate of delivery men is less than 5%. Even some of our earlier delivery men are still with us. The upside for us is that it allows us to offer better service to our customers. Ou delivery people work harder and take ownership when they do so.
We have around 8 hubs in Dhaka. We have gradually increased this number from 4 to 8 since 2017. We have offices in Chittagong, Sylhet, and Narayangonj.
We expanded to Narayanganj not long ago. The response has been tremendous. The people are very receptive and tech-savvy.
The number of restaurants on our platform has gone up as well. From 750 restaurants, we now have close to 1000 restaurants. One can dramatically increase the number of restaurants but then and again, there are many factors that you have to keep in mind while doing so, such as whether all the restaurants are active and serving.
This is an excerpt from our interview HungryNaki CEO Ahmad Ad published early this year. You may read our coverage of HungryNaki here.