Why not Store Trucks?

(image source: http://decisivecravings.com.au/grocery-shopping-for-good/)

The food trucks are slowly showing up on Indian streets. People are opening up to eat gourmet or exotic (or sometimes even normal) street food out of a truck.

There is one thing that I have not seen yet on Indian streets, which I am thinking, might just work. The daily staple/grocery value chain is growing on a fairly healthy rate. The unhealthy or unplanned players have fallen (or falling). The two or three giants are innovating and moving forward.

The value chain started off with hyper-local. Guys like Grofers or Amazon Kirana, take orders from customers, purchase the goods from your local kirana shop and deliver it home. People did warm up to this idea, but was not that wildly successful. Then of course, the concept of Amazon Pantry is slowly taking shape in the country as well. You can buy everything from your tooth paste, to mustard seeds online through either of the big online retailers – the key mindshare is on Amazon and BigBasket now.

My proposal is somewhere in the middle, is where the Indian market place can really boom. This is where you will understand why I mentioned food trucks at the beginning of this article. Why not trucks with store-branded staples strategically positioned at different points. I have seen this with pop-up trucks selling vegetables, but this could very well work for staples as well.

Reasons why this might just work:

  • Online grocery ordering is a very planned activity, where you sit down and think, and look at your pantry, and decide what to top-up for the month. In my personal experience, invariably, every time after I have finished ordering from big basket, I always end up with 2-3 items that I might have missed.
  • There are always staples that might last you until half of next month, and you end up buying more stuff ‘just in case’. “Just-in-time” inventory would be perfect here, but we do not want to do this online thing at the last moment. What if, I do not get the immediate slot. What if, the item I am order is not available in Express delivery (90 min).
  • With the urban household in India, there is a significant population which travels using company provided transportation. A significant portion of this (and the rest of the) population living in housing societies, apartment complexes and the likes.
  • “On your way back from work, please get …..” is a very oft heard phrase in India urbania.
  • Store trucks with the most basic staples such as rice, wheat, lentils, spices, instant foods, would be the right middle point to be able to achieve the above task.

I wonder if BigBasket or Amazon is listening?

Intel quits mobile

intel phone

Paul McLellan writes on Semiwiki about a leaked internal memo inside Intel talking about Intel getting out the mobile race. They would be merging the tablets/phone business back into the PC business.

To me, this sounds like a reasonable move. The mobile market is a very consumer driven market and requires a lot of ground level push. Opinionated users and fan-boys galore. It is a riot down here. We thought it was down to Samsung and Apple, and suddenly there are now a host of Chinese manufacturers who are into the game – like Xiaomi. The Indian mobile manufacturers, who are still satisfying only the local market though, are no less formidable -like Micromax. Taiwan is not far behind with Asus.

Having seen Intel (from the outside though) and knowing it as an EDA customer, they are not the kind of people to roll their sleeves and get into this mud fight.

Not sure when Amazon will take the cue and get their Fire phone out too. This is not their market either, IMHO.

Source article: http://www.semiwiki.com/forum/content/4040-intel-quits-mobile.html

4 things I would love to see Mast Kalandar do

371609-mast-kalandar-old-airport-road

As most of my reader base know, I am die hard fan of Mast Kalandar. From the time, when I ‘converted’ to MK, because it was the only pure veg chain, to now appreciating the various initiatives, and their prompt social media presence.

As I do for most things I am a fan of, I am never satisfied. I always want more. See my wish list for BigBasket here. And MK is not getting excused either 🙂 So here goes:

Mobile App: Well, hellooo ! Are you guys sleeping or what? Why is there not a Mast Kalandar app yet? I want to be able to order my food through the MK app. I want to be able track the delivery through it (yes, I order home delivery quite a bit). What would I like in the app? That is a bigger post for a different day. What is even more irritating is that, their website itself is not even mobile optimized. Sucks to even to take a look at the menu on a mobile. Guys, please — develop a mobile app (android/iphone/winphone). And please mobile optimize your website. I tried reaching out to their twitter handle (@mastk) about a year ago, and they said they were working on it. A year, and it is not yet ready? Oh cmon.

Packaging for Roti/Kulchas: As I said earlier, we do order home deliver often. Have you considered alternative packaging techniques for rotis/kulchas? Rolling and wrapping in aluminium foil is so yesterday. Sure, it retains the heat, but it just spoils the taste. The humidity just makes the rotis/naans become hard. I am not an expert in packaging, nor have I done experiments, but have you tried perhaps some form of a pizza box type packaging. Maybe they would stay warm and also retain freshness? Worth a try na?

Indian salads: Have you guys tried creating Indian salads? The Indian market for healthy food is heating up like anything. Have you tried salads with traditional indian veggies and even more traditional chutneys as dressings? Perhaps a try? And I am sure, with the whole patriotism (Make in India, Eat Indian food, whatever), this will catch on pretty well.

Food for train journeys: Guys, you need to do this. There are so many times, I had wished I had ordered food through MK, and they deliver it to me either in the platform. Also, you should explore a rail menu. Stuff that does not get bad even after a few hours. There was a time, when I had packed something from MK (I dont remember what?), but it got bad after a few hours. I am not blaming MK for it – perhaps the ingredients were such. But I am sure you can come up with a menu with stuff that stays for a few hours. Combine it with the above mentioned ability to order through a mobile app, and good solid pizza box style packaging, this would ensure a hearty comfortable meal to eat, even in a moving train.

Well, thats it for now. I sure wish someone from the product management team in MK reads this.

 

OpenTable’s new feature

dosa

Restaurant reservation startup Open Table has a new feature and I think it is a pretty cool feature (I think!). This is rolled out only in select cities and in select restaurants.

You book a restaurant reservation through OpenTable. You arrive at the restaurant. You order your meal. You finish. And then the restaurant bill arrives on your mobile phone through OpenTable. You swipe to pay direct from your phone. Done. You walk away.

And yeah, ofcourse, this caught my attention of the South Indian food on display in the phone app in the picture 🙂 And sure, it will not roll out in India for a while, but I think this is where the future lies.

Read the full article on techcrunch here. [link]

The Death of ST Ericsson

I just read from the SemiWiki blog that the mobile platform group of STE is going to be shut down. This is sad. During the hey-dey of feature phones, when Sony-Ericsson and Nokia ruled the roost, STE used to be the go to chip designers. They were the creme-de-la-creme, because of their rich history. The historical perspective, reproduced below from the semiwiki article, itself, can give you an idea of the technological expertise or heritage or lineage of the group.

Nokia originally had an internal semiconductor design group and in 2007 they decided to get out of doing their own chip design and relying on Texas Instruments and ST Microelectronics. This included transferring most of their chip designers to ST.

Then NXP, the old Philips Semiconductors, had a mobile design group, many of which were the old VLSI Technology engineers in Sophia Antipolis. They merged this group into ST but retained an ownership share, although later ST bought out this remaining share. Next Ericsson had an internal group called Ericsson Mobile Platforms (EMP). Its business plan was to create IP (software, silicon IP etc) to license to people who wanted to get into mobile, especially in upcoming markets like China.

The final step in the creation of ST-Ericsson happened 4 years ago when Ericsson set up a joint-venture with ST and merged the ST design group along with the EMP group.

Read the original semi-wiki article here.