Golden Harvest Group has inaugurated their e-commerce venture Golden Harvest Survus Ltd that eyes a fair share in the potential service market for restaurant booking, food delivery as well as grocery and medicine delivery.
Its food services wing Servus Foods is already open for the customers with around 150 capital city restaurants onboard by now.
Listed food processing company Golden Harvest Agro Industries Ltd owns 45% of the e-commerce company against its capital contribution of Tk5 crore, according to its regulatory filings.
Golden Harvest Infotech Ltd, a leading IT outsourcing firm of the group, joined the venture as the technology partner and owns 40% shares, while two individual professionals own the remaining shares.
Chartered accountant Abuzer Ghaffari is one of the two individual shareholders, who is also serving Servus as the Operations Director of Foods.
He told The Business Standard their venture has a huge potential to grow in coming years, and they are committed to uphold "Golden Harvest standard for quality" in the services too.
Servus Foods and the market
Golden Harvest Servus began its journey with its food services on Monday, said Ghaffari.
"Amid the pandemic, restaurants are suffering and food delivery services have saved their days so far. We are entering into agreements with them to not charge more than 15% in commission until the pandemic is over," he said while explaining the way Servus is planning to penetrate into the burgeoning food delivery sector seeing intensified competition among five large players who charge restaurants 12-30% commission.
"Servus will deliver your ordered food within 25-40 minutes and we are selecting restaurants based on the quality of their food," he said.
Delivery fees will not cross Tk29 and every restaurant will offer attractive discounts to customers over the first 3-6 months.
Food delivery is booming in Dhaka as the number of daily orders served has roughly doubled amid the pandemic while joint efforts by the delivery platforms and restaurants are costing ordered food less than what it used to be for dining-in.
Uber Eats, the food delivery platform of the global ride sharing giant, left the market in its early stage while observers believe that it was due to the competitive scenario.
Responding to a question regarding profitability, Ghaffari said apparently it seems to be a cash burning business, but a popular platform can enjoy multiple streams of revenue that include advertisement from the restaurant partners on top of their commission on order value.
Number of daily served orders is yet to cross the number for 1% of Dhaka's population and Ghaffari feels the market would significantly grow in coming years with the increasing purchasing power and a changing lifestyle.
"This is just the beginning and the entire potential is ahead," he said.
Dining-in and table booking
Servus also launched its restaurant booking services that would see a fair demand in popular restaurants as customers can pre-book tables, pre-order items from the menu uploaded in the app, said Servus Foods Operations Director Ghaffari.
The business would flourish once the pandemic is over, he hopes, as there would be good deals for both the restaurants and diners.
"You will not have to come back from a restaurant without enjoying the desired food items," he added.
Home delivery of grocery and medicine is also in a rising popularity and Servus plans to enter there as soon as it secures a good start in food services.
Mother company making losses
Golden Harvest Agro Industries, a public company that is a leading name in the food processing industry of the country, especially in ready to cook frozen foods.
It also expanded its wings in ice-cream and is working to establish a cold chain network.
However, the pandemic hurt its consolidated sales significantly and its revenue for the July 2020-March 2021 period nearly halved to Tk37.7 crore, while a hike in selling and distribution cost along with other determined elements pushed the listed firm post Tk0.85 loss per share, against Tk0.6 profit per share over the same period a year ago.
Golden Harvest Agro Industries shares, having face value of Tk10 each, fell by 2.3% to close at Tk21.6 in the Dhaka Stock Exchange on Monday.