ANNA FERNANDES | NT BUZZ
With a vision to create a self-reliant Goa – and feed the growing appetite for having food delivered at home, Hridayvar Godwins conceptualised Order Local Goa, a consumer-friendly hyper-local delivery solution provider that brings food, groceries, and more, from your chosen outlet to your doorstep within a few clicks.
“The whole concept of Order Local Goa originated from an idea of building an ecosystem for a self-sustainable Goa, a need that this ongoing pandemic has definitely opened our eyes to,” says Godwins adding that these unprecedented times have taken a huge toll on local businesses, many of whom are still searching for alternate means to survive. In late September, Order Local Goa was rolled out and the app and website have seen promising movement since. At the moment, customers can order from listed restaurants and vendors only from Panaji city.
Having previously worked in the hotel industry, the experience Godwins gained in that field made him aware of how important convenience, exclusive experience, and safety are to customers. “I noticed the lack of a local, organised, and convenient platform where local businesses and vendors could easily display their delicacies and products for customers to pick from,” says the Santa Cruz resident.
His experience in the hospitality sector also helped him hone certain key skills that proved essential in entrepreneurship. “Delivering excellence and placing customer needs and satisfaction above everything else are something you are taught to live by [in the hospitality sector]. We have taken each measured step gradually keeping these same principles in mind, right from picking out our vendors and delivery partners, ensuring that we adhere to the latest safety standards, and getting our customers what they need as conveniently as possible,” he says. Order Local Goa aims to be a smooth bridge between local partnering restaurants and vendors and their patrons.
The mission is to empower local businesses and in turn, generate new ways for Goan people and communities to earn, work, and live. “With the continuously overhanging fear of stepping out to buy essentials and visiting your favourite restaurants which used to be part of an almost every day routine not so long ago, we want to offer our Goans a safe and convenient option to order right from the comfort of their homes,” he says.
Designed with an easy-to-use format, the app (available for Android and iOS) allows customers to pick the products or dishes they would like to order by placing them in a virtual shopping cart. And a smooth checkout process follows. Essential products and groceries are catalogued along with restaurants located within Panaji city and are available up to major cities like Mapusa and Margao. “We also provide options for on-demand and scheduled delivery based on our partners’ preferences,” he says, adding that plans are on to list restaurants across Goa on the app in phases.
And the MBA graduate finds that entrepreneurship is “a whole new world”. “I feel ‘unlocked’ – for the lack of a better word. The world is full of opportunities just waiting to be discovered,” he says. Going down the entrepreneurial path comes with its own share of learnings, he says. “You take each day as a new challenge, always being ready to learn something new, adapting and improvising with changing situations and times, but most of all, always staying positive,” he says.
In a market saturated with food-delivery options, Order Local Goa stands apart. “Companies like Zomato and Swiggy have no doubt revolutionised the whole concept of food delivery in our country. Today, it is hard to believe that there used to be a time when I couldn’t just lay on my sofa and order my favourite dish from my favourite restaurant for dinner.” However, he adds that today businesses that have tied up with such national players have noticed increasingly deep commissions that have crept onto their already heavy operational costs of keeping their businesses alive. “We believe in offering the same technology at lower costs because we want our local businesses to keep their heads above the water in these tough times. As they say, ‘Innovative Technology is the Future’ and should thus be available to everyone who needs it,” he says.
Order Local Goa’s marketing strategy is a traditional but reliable one, namely, ‘word of mouth’ backed by social media marketing. “We hope our customers eventually realise the convenience we are trying to bring about through our service to society and spread the word to whoever might need it,” he says.
As a brand-new venture, Godwins does not believe that they have confronted their worst roadblocks yet. However, he is ready to face any obstacles in the future head-on. “We have been able to effectively work around the challenges we have encountered till date and expect to tackle whatever lies ahead the same way,” he says.
He admits that these unprecedented times have turned potential users more sceptical in trusting something new, but he is willing to earn their trust if given an opportunity. “At Order Local Goa, we believe in the phrase ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’. We follow a process of listing possible operational, management challenges we could face and then use interactive brainstorming for possible solutions or alternate methods we could use to overcome them,” he says.
To Godwins and his team, success means ensuring every household in Goa the ability to seamlessly order with ease. “Reaching out and covering the entire state is our vision. Through this we look to build a network that would not only benefit our customers but also our partners who believe in our mission,” he says. And with his sights firmly on the future, Godwins aims to grow and forge new partnerships with businesses. “Our future plans are to make our services available in every corner of our state and bring the convenience of ordering online not just to millennials but even to the elderly who need this form of convenience today,” he says.