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What I Learned Building The World's Largest Food Ordering Platform

You’re on your way home from work after what seems like an entire week packed into one day, and your ‘hangry’ side starts to kick into high gear. Cooking seems like it will take ages, and you don’t want to settle for that greasy burger again.

You ask yourself in the midst of 1,000 mental food images - how can I get my hands on good quality food, in the shortest amount of time?

From the very beginning, Delivery Hero set out to transform the entire food ordering industry - one that was known to be very inefficient, where relying on kitchen drawers filled with paper menus was the only way to get food delivered to your door. Our vision is to help people break free from the bondage of having to call a restaurant or leave the house, and build the best food ordering products in the world.

As we’ve reached such a large global presence and grown the organization to 2,000+ employees worldwide, it was important for us to stay focused on taking our products to the next level. While on this journey to building a killer product experience, several important key takeaways (no pun intended) have stood out for us.

Instilling a mobile-first culture

Early on, we identified mobile as an important part of our business. It’s no longer just about phones and tablets, but a multitude of other platforms, such as wearables, cars and TVs. In order to keep up with this platform multiplication, we’ve started to invest and diversify in these areas. We quickly architected our backend, APIs and mobile apps to be able to scale and adapt.

As a result, we can accommodate these new platforms, while integrating with high leveraged channel partners, like Button. Mobile has morphed into an “anytime, anywhere” platform, which means we’re closer to realizing our goal of ubiquitous access to great food.

Don’t rely on your gut

As a performance driven organization, our mantra has always been data, data, data. When it comes to building our products, we’ve sometimes fallen into the trap of saying, “Sure, of course our users would love to have this feature. We don’t have anything to back it up, but let’s go for it and see what happens.”

To avoid having this gut-feeling approach in product development (especially if there’s no data available to back up our claim), we’ve always followed a guerilla style way of getting feedback. Just because we’re big, doesn't mean we can’t maintain a level of scrappiness.

We’ve found that you don’t need an expensive research agency to interview 300 people and collect customer feedback, and then having to wait 4 months to get a 100 slide deck with more research data than a Mary Meeker report.

Instead, we’ll throw an ad up on Craigslist (or another local job board), and bring real users into our office to test our products. We also have a large group of beta testers, that are great about giving us feedback on whatever we throw their way - prototypes, mockups, etc.

Whether we’re working on a new feature, or just want to talk to customers, we can validate our initial hypothesis, and quickly make iterations before launching. Most importantly, it allows us to confidently release our products to the masses, knowing that they’re bringing real value.

Eat your own food

At Delivery Hero, we often think about how to win in such a competitive industry, and deliver the best possible product experience. A lot of times it comes back to our company culture. How can we expect the entire company to win, if only a handful of employees know and understand the product?

We offer an employee discount for everyone to use our product, so our employees can order food and really experience customer pain points. Not only do they get to know the product, but it creates an internal feedback loop, which is a great way for every single person to be heard. Businesses are not won with just a handful of people, it’s the contribution of every single person that counts. Get your people involved, and encourage a product feedback culture where each and every person can be an evangelist.

For us to take our products to the next level, following these best practices will help us continue to deliver real value to our users. Even in their ‘hangry’ states.

In this series, professionals attending the TAP conference share their insights on the mobile and on-demand economy. Read the posts here, then write your own. Use #TAPCON somewhere in the body of the post and @mention TAP conference panelists when sharing. 

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