Olamide Bada, MD of Jumia Food, reporting for duty - Ask Me Anything!


Hi Radar, Olamide Bada (not Baddo) here, ready for all of your exciting questions in today’s AMA!

I’m a reader/people watcher first, a UK qualified M&A lawyer second, and a high-growth business manager third - in that order as that’s how my career has unintentionally evolved. Today I manage Jumia Food across Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, and for those of you don’t know us, we’re the food you love, delivered fast.

Ask me anything about the food delivery business, customer-centric growth, project managing Jumia’s Black Friday event, corporate law, traditional professions vs. start-ups and all things people management!

More about me here: http://techcabal.com/2017/03/29/5-things-you-should-know-about-olamide-bada/… until 2pm.



Hey, Olamide. I’m first!

Great answers here, and thanks for doing this.

I wonder if you noticed this recent thread about pay on delivery. It’s quite wild, and I’m sure you have an opinion about the matter, considering that Jumia is one of the major pioneers of the model, which a lot of people agreed at the time was necessary to get past the trust barrier and acquire customers. Of recent, people have begun to ask if the cons don’t outweigh the pros. There was a story last week about a dispatch rider who got killed while delivering an iPhone. Of course the likelihood that anyone is going to get offed over a plate of food is pretty much nonexistent, but what are your current thoughts about how pay on delivery affects your operations, and what do you plan to do in the longterm?


Hey Olamide,

Great to have you here!

We’ve had a few :grin: questions come in and I’ll share them as the AMA progresses. First up,

How are you able to effectively manage a team of individuals who I assume cut across age and gender?


Hi Olamide,

What would you say has been your inspiration since you assumed the role of MD @ Jumia Food? What keeps you going as a leader?


Hey @lordbanks,

Thanks for inviting me!

I have been following the most recent conversation on pay on delivery and can definitely offer my perspective on the topic.

I think that the aspects of other businesses that don’t work well with the pay on delivery model are:

  • high value items, therefore increasing the risk of theft;
  • long lead times between order placement and delivery, leading to customers losing interest in the purchase by the time it arrives; and
  • a lack of trust in delivery services in Nigeria, meaning that customers order more than once, with the intention of only paying for whatever is delivered first.

In light of this, frustration on the business’ side is completely understandable. Fortunately for me, the design of Jumia Food means none of the above is applicable. A daily lunch order will typically be between N2-4000, and it’s an on demand service where you’ll get your food within minutes of ordering. Moreover, we’re continuously working to build trust in our delivery - so if you order poundo and efo riro as well as jollof, plantain and chicken, you should be ready to eat everything lol.

In my experience, instead of limiting what should be an easily accessible service, the focus should be on improving customer experience - so much so that customers are even eager to pay when their food arrives. Investing in bank partnerships to procure enough POS devices for our customers has also been a big focus, and the next battle for me to conquer is online payment. Watch this space!

Thanks for also bringing to light the unfortunate tragedy which occurred recently - it’s honestly unthinkable. My thoughts and prayers are with the rider’s family.


Hi @Mobi,

Thanks for your question!

This has certainly been a challenge, but fundamentally, we’re all people. The way I might deliver a message to a man might be different to the way I deliver a message to a woman - but the message can certainly be delivered.

Take responsibility for your piece in the puzzle, communicate effectively, delegate where necessary and iterate. That’s what has seen me through.

What I love most about my team is that we’re all working towards the same goal, which is making our customers happy. Because if food doesn’t make someone happy, then what will tbvh?


Hi @Godson,

Thanks for your question - it’s a good one!

I’ve always been very self-motivated (read stubborn lol) and that has kept me going when things have been difficult. Also, I was a Hellofood customer before joining as MD, so I had a good understanding of what great customer experience should look like. Since then, achieving that has been my inspiration.


Lol nicely put, Olamide.

Second question is:

In your experience, what has been the most complex aspect of the food delivery chain?


Hey Olamide,

You say you are a reader/people watcher first. Does this mean you have an impression of each person you meet just by looking at them or you watch as they relate or handle tasks handed them?


It honestly is a moving goalpost.

I was tweeting about my very first lesson on the job earlier today, and that is: you cannot outsource your logistics to a partner that is not aligned with your vision. If there’s a mismatch in what you (and your customers) expect vs. what your logistics partner can provide then you’re doomed, quite simply. That was the most complex aspect of the food delivery chain at first.

Now that we have a fix for that, the most complex aspect of the food delivery chain that I’m facing is restaurant operations. As you know, we don’t cook our own food, so we rely on our restaurants to do this as well as communicating any product availability issues with us in a timely manner. Speed really is the name of the game. Luckily for us, as we’re a marketplace, restaurants with the best operations win.


Hi Olamide.

How has Jumia Food fared since it rebranded from Hello Food? Are you guys making profit or only breaking even for now? How viable is the online food delivery space? I used to think lots of Nigerians were set in their approaches to purchasing food.



Hi @Teeboss,

Thanks for your question!

A bit of both - first impressions count, but I tend to go off what people do rather than say. It takes a while to see people in their true form.


Hi Olamide!

Thank you for your time. Just a few things I’ve been wondering about.

1/ The thing I find most fascinating about aggregator businesses is that if they work, they own the consumer touch points and that gives them the leverage over their own suppliers to make interesting maneuvers. For example, if I wanted to get from point A to B, I wouldn’t be thinking about a specific Uber driver, I’d defer to Uber’s (admittedly) algorithmic choice. If I want to buy a phone off the internet, I wouldn’t be thinking about a specific vendor, I’d type my preferred brand in Amazon’s search bar and buy the first option I see. Because Amazon has aggregated all those suppliers to one feed, they end up determining what I buy and who I buy it from.

Do you see something similar playing out at Jumia Food? In the coming years, does Jumia Food make the shift from executing orders flawlessly (what I imagine is the current goal) to mass customization - telling the consumer what to eat on a particular day based on their order history and other decisions they’ve made across Jumia’s platforms? Is there a case for an advertising business on the back of something like that? Or maybe even vertical integration via a Jumia Kitchen?

1b/ Considering that Jumia Food owns the consumer relationship, but does not actually produce the food, how do you cut down the amount of time between them hitting “Order” and receiving their food? Do you classify restaurants according to order volume and fry “bigger fish” first? Do you have priority deals with some of the restaurants you send more business to than others? What does that process look like?

2/ As things are right now, does Jumia Food work as a subscription business? Are there (enough) customers right now that place orders enough times in a month that it makes sense to lock them in using a monthly subscription service?

3/ Are there any interesting/unusual consumer behaviors you have noticed while running a food delivery service? I’d love to hear about them.

Thank you!


Very well. We’ve grown tremendously in the past year despite the economic recession in Nigeria and the knock-on effect on customers’ purchasing power as well as the rising costs of goods. Amidst it all, people still gotta eat.

Rebranding has actually helped us a great deal - we were always part of the Jumia family and now it’s easier for customers to recognise (along with the affinity that comes with Jumia).

The food delivery space is viable if you look at it from a very basic level. Question is: what’s your value add? For Jumia Food, it’s our range of restaurants, price points and reliable delivery. Whilst Nigerians can be set in their ways when it comes to food, if you offer a solution to their problem, it’s a go.


@vivalabada Thanks! One more question from me. What is it like to work in the Rocket borg ship? Does it feel entrepreneurial. Or would you have to go to Berlin get approval for something like…building a bot to take food orders?


Hi @SkweiRd,

Thanks for your questions!

Na wa o, I went from answering @deledondee’s question erring on the side of being unable to influence customers’ eating decisions to now being Amazon-like with the power to tell people what to eat? Variety really is the spice of life lol.

Taking each in turn:

  1. Yes and no. We’re basically an online shop front for our restaurants, and with that comes premium placement on the home page, area listing page etc. We can flex a bit here, but because food is something that’s extremely personal, you probably won’t be able to convert someone looking for The Place’s asun to ordering one of Road Chef’s burgers. Our sorting algorithm lists restaurants based on their operations, order numbers and reviews (we have a star system where you can rate restaurants out of 5).

  2. You’re right - executing orders flawlessly is the current goal. I’m always open to exploring things that our customers may want. Are you a customer? Is this something that you would like to see?

  3. Please o, I have my hands full with executing #2. A Jumia Kitchen ke? Sounds dreamy.

  4. The time between customers placing their order to delivery is closely monitored via our in-house Urban Ninja software, and on the restaurants’ side, it’s part of their operational KPIs. There’s definitely an element of scale involved - we can’t afford to have a restaurant with a lot of orders have bad operations, so we prioritise the big fish first as you’ve rightly said. We work on an incremental business model with restaurants - the better their operations, the more customers we can send their way, and the more serious they’ll take us. Each restaurant is managed by an account manager with regular feedback from our operations team, and I also personally manage our top restaurant partners.

  5. Right now, we don’t have a subscription business, but it’s something I’m looking to explore. Our main business comes from people working in offices that have limited time for lunch - this might be of interest to them.

  6. Nigerian customers tend to value price over speed and are very conscious of portion sizes (ie. the bigger, the better lol).


The first thing that came to my mind was a very corny joke about being a rocket ready to launch, but I’ll spare you the cringe lol. Rocket is actually only one of our investors, so I’m best placed to speak on what it’s like working for Jumia… And that would be, results-driven.

On the question of whether it feels entrepreneurial, it does. I mean, I moved to Nigeria, project managed Jumia’s Black Friday event, went on to performance manage the business for the current Chief Marketing Officer and moved onto run the Hello/Jumia Food business in the Group’s largest market - all in less than a year! If that isn’t entrepreneurial, mehn…


Hey Olamide. :full_moon_with_face:

What, in your opinion, is/are the thing(s) that helped prepare you for your role as a manager today?

Books? Previous employers? Mentors? Movies…?

Thank you!


Hey @Skywalker,

Thanks for your question.

I manage a business - so analysis, negotiation, and time/stakeholder management are all very important. I learnt a great deal of this from my time as a lawyer - especially doing public company IPOs as this deal-type has a mix of everything.

I also manage people - so my EQ has to stay on point. I just finished reading Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, which is AMAZING at building empathy and putting things in context. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be mentored by strong women in the workplace - Sophie Chandauka and Frances Okosi at Baker & McKenzie and Fatoumata Ba at Jumia.

If all else fails, I throw on some 90’s R&B to remind myself that I’ve got this covered.