BeU Delivery – Reimagine food delivery
Loline had a vibrant discussion with the beU Delivery's country director, Fikreab Habte. If you are eager to know how a startup could grow into a market-dominant in less than a year, here is a revealing article.
Orange backpacker swift cyclists have become a frequent sight in Addis Ababa. Rushing to the rescue of their craving customers, they look unstoppable. Maybe you are too occupied to leave work to eat, or you wanted to dine in the coziness of your house, then they got you. If you ever wonder who is behind these orange backpackers, it is called BeU. Founded in June 2021, it has flourished into a dominant food delivery company in Ethiopia with over 56% market share.
Where did BeU begin?
BeU was co-founded by Hao Zheng, Almas Beleshov, and Matt Artemovich under beU LTD. After the market research that found out food delivery had great potential in Ethiopia, they were all in. This made Ethiopia the first country of the company’s launch.
The eccentric business name BeU is for 'be yourself.' Fikreab explained the name seems unrelated to the current business to some people, but the vision is to build BeU into a super app. By adding various services, they aim to create an application that people associate with.
When we asked the country director what BeU's mission is, he was bold in saying, "We want food delivery reimagined." He went on to tell us how the sector was perceived to be a thing for the rich elite. BeU came to prove food delivery is affordable to anyone who can pay the price of eating out. Its services are 67% cheaper than the competition.
They have created classes of restaurants for everyone to order from where they can manage to pay. "We want people to think of food delivery not as something fancy but an option whenever it is not suitable for them to cook or eat out," Fikireab added.
The remarkable team
BeU's 250+ drivers, employees, and other business development supervisors toil to get food to customers on time. Their team is full of young talented people with an average age of 24, who are very motivated and aim to make dreams come true.
A majority of the team works closely with almost 500 partner restaurants. Others take and place orders, while around 50 staff are on quality assurance. The rest take care of finances, human resources, and various company operations. On top of that, the robust marketing department has labored for what seems like an overnight success for BeU.
The country manager said, "Take me; I did not come and sit in this position. I was here when it all began, and I grew into it," This is, he told us, the attitude they want to instill in everyone working with them. The attitude is that anyone committed to exceeding their limits will come to attain big things. At BeU, the vision is shared. They let the young team work in great freedom. This is the biggest motivator, he told us.
The biggest challenges
Fikreab told us the initial stage of strategizing was a stretching task. With their plan to include restaurants providing affordable food prices, they had difficulty putting clear action plans. There was a lot of work required to think the way around ideas and gain acceptance.
Fikreab described the other challenge was doing so much in marketing that they had to simultaneously advance their systems, resources, and human power for the stirred-up demand. Expending that much energy into assuring the quality service, he admitted, was a real sacrifice. "We just could not afford to deliver something less than promised;" he made a strong statement of their commitment.
For a startup to become a market leader in less than a year might sound a little unrealistic. If you ask BeU, however, they tell you it is in the marketing. They were ardently utilizing traditional and digital marketing means to establish their presence in the market. With their sparkling orange, contagious energy radiates in the city. In such a short time, BeU has become a recognizable brand across the city.
A technology company in an underdeveloped country
BeU was cognizant of the difficulties businesses face when running in countries with underdeveloped infrastructure. One way they optimized for this early on was by creating a hotline 9533. Even if an internet shutdown has not happened since BeU's launch, this number has proved to be a savior when system glitches happen.
Fikreab also touched on how the poorly built roads were a problem more than the traffic jam. Their drivers, he told us, have learned to optimize routes to tackle this. Road closes are a bigger problem still. When movement in central areas is restricted because of celebrations, BeU is one of the directly affected businesses. Fikreab described how canceling orders is especially disappointing to their regular customers.
Moreover, when drivers try to find ways around to get to customers in times of closure, they have been hit, robbed, and injured. Fikreab emphasized the responsibility of the government to protect individuals and businesses. He described how many employment opportunities the sector is creating and that the government should step up to create a business-conducive environment.
Excel among competitions
BeU is a market leader for a reason. When asked what it is like to stay afloat in the competition, Fikreab told us their unique selling point. BeU is targeting a different market segment. They are serving average customers at an average price. The country manager was confident in the pricing variety they can avail. He continued, "If a company comes with our approach, we will advance and continue to dominate."
Better things are on the way
"They say think outside the box; I say think the unthinkable."
BeU is about big dreams and building things up. They are so ambitious that their success has not kept them content. Their app has been downloaded about sixty-seven thousand times. About 96% of the orders were made through their mobile application. BeU is releasing a lighter but improved version of its app in a few days. The new version, among other things, will downsize the twelve kilometers maximum trip to six kilometers. It also has a referral system that rewards customers for inviting others. The country manager also disclosed that a personal wallet and order customization are some of the exciting add-ons to look out for.
BeU Ethiopia's country manager told us they will continue to work on expanding their affordable services to be available door-to-door. Eying 13 African countries as a potential market, they are aiming to penetrate and become a dominant food delivering company. He told us the five-year plan is to become an Amazon-sized giant application in Africa.
"We want to show it is possible. It is possible to build a big successful company like BeU."
Fikreab's advice was that being strongly profit-oriented makes one struggle with acceptance. But, creating value in a community is the true way to establish oneself in a community. As long as they have good ideas, he urged, the youth should not fret since there are various means to getting resources. BeU is the epitome of hard work and quality service, realizing a company's triumph.