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


#10

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?


#11

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.


#12

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.

Thanks


#13

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.


#14

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!


#15

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.


#16

@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?


#17

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).


#18

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…


#19

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!


#20

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.


#21

Thanks for your time and questions Radar - it’s been fun!

I’ve set up notifications for this thread so feel free to ask me any more questions on here or on social media @vivalabada. Until next time, folks.


#22

Hi Olamide,

Why can’t one pay in-app for orders? This will really make life much easier for some of us.


#23

Hi @gaphy,

Thanks for your custom and question - I’m asked this one a lot, and understandably so.

Online/in-app payment remains unsolved as we’re looking for a solution that we can roll out across our 11 African countries. We ran a pilot a few months ago and unfortunately had technical issues, so we’re currently working on a better, permanent solution. So sorry for any inconvenience this might’ve caused!

Have you had any issues with the card payment on delivery option? Anything I can look into?

Look forward to your feedback!


#24

Hi Olamide,
Good to have you here. I am a keen follower of the on-demand food delivery space. To the best of my knowledge, the on-demand food delivery model is an imported one from the likes of DoorDash, Postmates, foodpanda, e.t.c. These businesses have been around for a while and raised a ton of dollars too but are yet to reach break-even not to talk of profitability. My only question is this:
Do you think this model is sustainable in Nigeria?


#25

Hi @OT_Oladipo,

Thanks for welcoming me and glad to hear that you’re interested in the food delivery space.

Funny that you mention foodpanda as we’re actually part of this family too - Jumia Food is an offshoot of their product adapted to Africa under the Jumia brand.

To answer your question: yes, I do think that this model is sustainable in Nigeria - if done smartly. Logistics is the main bottle neck on the supply side, and although it will never be 100% solved, Jumia Food has come a long way in providing smart, adaptable solutions to this existential problem.

On the demand side, I do believe that there’s a big opportunity with food delivery - we all love food, Nigerians value convenience in a country where all odds seem to be against ease, and we’re warming up to the idea of e-commerce.

The turnaround of the Hello/Jumia Food business in the year that I’ve been here is testament to the fact that it is a viable product in Nigeria, if done well.

What are your thoughts?


#26

Hello Olamide,

Nice having you on this platform amidst your busy schedule.
I’d like to know how you manage your time esp with making out time for books. Do you read or you do audiobooks?
Secondly, how do you handle returns for food?


#27

Hi @ebuks4ever,

Nice to be here!

I like to think that time management is a superpower of mine. I make every minute of my day count by diarising EVERYTHING and I’m generally quite productive.

On a good week, where I’m in full control, my work week will typically break down as follows:

  • Mon - Weds: COO mode, i.e. one-on-ones with each of my department managers, checking progress against KPIs, coaching etc.

  • Thurs & Fri: CEO mode, i.e. business development, partnership meetings, events/PR and spending time out on the field with our restaurants.

  • Weekends are all mine! Gym, chillaxing and reading. I also read when I’m on my way to and from the office, but I’m not a fan of audiobooks. I used to be really into podcasts, but I find it hard to podcast and read books at the same time, so for now, books win.

In response to your question on food returns, we hardly ever get any. Where our restaurants might (rarely) make a mistake and send the wrong item, we allow the customer to keep this whilst we redeliver the correct meal. Food is something that someone will always find useful lol.


#28

@vivalabada

Good evening. First and foremost I will want to appreciate you for taking out time out of your busy schedule to educate the house. I sincerely apologize that this message is coming months after your interview but I read through the interview and believe you me I was awed and completely thrilled. I hope you will oblige me just this once.

I have always been skeptic about the acceptance of people towards a food delivery service so you can imagine what was going through my mind when I saw u speak about the company and how its success. It then means I must have been wrong all my life. Lol

Here are my questions, kindly clear my doubt

On a scale of 1-10 how can you rate the improvement of your customer base after the re branding of hello foods into Jumia foods
Secondly, in percentage ratio, how can you rate the acceptance of food delivery service by Nigerians using Jumia foods as a baseline
Finally, whats the estimate of orders you get on a daily basis and how do u keep up with the customers influx. Does the company ever run out of dispatch riders?

Thanks once more and hoping to read from you


#29

Good morning @cheen, and many thanks for keeping the house alive months later! Still happy as ever to answer questions!

Interested to hear your scepticism towards the food delivery business model - I’ve heard this a few times before. It seems like something that couldn’t possibly work in the logistical nightmare that is Nigeria, right?

I think we have the right conditions here: people that like food, but don’t like the additional stress and hassle of either going food shopping or going to collect takeaway. Basically, anything that brings you out of your house in Nigeria is to be avoided at all costs, lol. That plus the rise in e-commerce through increased smartphone and data usage makes the perfect storm for Jumia Food.

To answer your questions:

  1. How do I rate the improvement (I’ll speak to increase here) of my customer base since rebranding to Jumia Food? 8/10.

  2. How do I rate the acceptance of a food delivery service by Nigerians, using Jumia Food as a baseline? 20%, which is exciting because it means that there’s still a lot of ground to cover!

  3. How many orders do we get on a daily basis? I can’t tell you how many, but considering our operations across Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt - the simple answer is A LOT! I can say that we’ve doubled in size by order numbers in the past 12 months despite the economic environment, which probably speaks to the reason why my answer to #1 was so high.

  4. How do I keep up with the influx of customers? Do we ever run out of dispatch riders? We have to do a constant balancing act of anticipating order volume and matching this to rider capacity, which is interesting to say the least. Orders can vary per month due to seasons, new restaurant signings, marketing campaigns etc., but it’s something we’re pretty good at working around. We never run out of dispatch riders, but we do go through phases where we run out of our A* dispatch riders, if you know what I mean, lol.

Thanks for your questions!