What is a strong e-commerce business model: Yemek Sepeti (Turkey) as a leading example

Nick De MeyConsumer goods

As new Turkish Ambassador of Board of Innovation, Erhan Sanbay will be writing about some high-achievers of Turkish digital business in his upcoming initial articles. In this first article, he’s outlining the widespread success of Yemek Sepeti from 2000 to 2011.

Yemeksepeti.com was founded in Istanbul in the beginning of the new millennium as Turkey’s first online food ordering website. Apart from the websites such as the ones of Papa John’s, Domino’s etc. and the websites of other smaller restaurants, as an independent online food ordering company, it also created the first business model globally which gives out the opportunity to order food online without paying a service fee. Now, let’s have a look at the thriving business model of yemeksepeti.com:

  1. The customer selects a restaurant on yemeksepeti.com and orders food online.
  2. The order is submitted by yemeksepeti.com to the restaurant automatically via fax, e-mail, or mobile applications.
  3. The prepared food is handed over to the courier of the restaurant.
  4. The food is delivered to the customer’s address.
  5. The customer pays via cash, cheque, coupon, prepaid card, or credit/debit card. (It is also possible to pay with credit card online before delivery.)
  6. Yemeksepeti.com receives commission from the charged value.

For customer acquisition and other services, member restaurants pay also a monthly fee to yemeksepeti.com. With over 5,000 member restaurants and over 1 Mio. registered users, yemeksepeti.com supplies nearly 300,000 different food choices and receives approximately 30,000 orders daily. It is currently operating in 36 cities in Turkey and Cyprus, and since 2010 it has two local brands in UAE (Foodonclick.com) and Russia (Izrestorana.ru). In addition to their online food ordering service, yemeksepeti.com also accepts orders via digital TV and all mobile applications including iPhone, Nokia, BlackBerry, and Android.

According to recent research, yemeksepeti.com makes its member restaurants achieve 10% to 50% order increase thanks to its user-friendly interface and hassle-free online order service. Obviously, it is significantly important for yemeksepeti.com that the menus of restaurants are regularly updated to ensure a continuous order flow 24/7/365. Besides, in order to assess the performance of restaurants there is a rating system in which the customers can rate and comment on speed of delivery, quality of service, and the taste of the foods.

On yemeksepeti.com customers can see the actual menu, pictures of the foods, food customization choices, order comments box, delivery areas, working hours, delivery time and period, minimum order amount, promotions, gifts, and payment method choices of each restaurant. Yemeksepeti.com customers have also the chance to get in touch with the crew for their orders and campaign information via call center, online chat, company’s blog, Facebook, and Twitter. The call center of yemeksepeti.com is known as one the fastest service units in Turkey which supports member restaurants in case of unavailability of ordered foods by bringing together the customer and the restaurant for updating the order, and most importantly, this process occurs without a delay of predefined delivery time.

According to recent analysis, the order rate of yemeksepeti.com’s visitors is 41%. This rate sounds reasonably high considering that 1% is usually taken as successful in e-commerce websites. Additionally, 2% fault rate of member restaurants can also be regarded as a very low one. Still, for the sake of service excellence, yemeksepeti.com management is determined to bring this rate closer to zero through their highly effective restaurant selection procedure and restaurant process performance system. Yemeksepeti.com, with 11 years of market experience, also offers timely regional and local market reports to its member restaurant chains and advices them on their campaign models.

It seems that, since the year 2000, yemeksepeti.com’s business model has been the first and best e-commerce model of its kind turning all everlasting offline restaurant processes into a simpler, faster, safer, and comfortable online process and making the customers save energy, time, and money in case they wouldn’t rather go out and wait for their desired food at restaurants. As mentioned above, member restaurants also benefit significantly, as they get 10% to 50% order increase. Consequently, we have here a proven “win-win-win” business model coming out of Turkey as a perfect service business case in which customers, member restaurants, and yemeksepeti.com win.