Talabat chief operating officer Toons Gyssels said the company must first research local food preferences and traffic conditions before any expansion
Regional food delivery platform Talabat is eying opportunities to expand outside the GCC and Jordan, but will only do so after “intensive” market research to ensure the new markets are viable, according to chief operating officer Toons Gyssels.
Speaking to Arabian Business, Gyssels said that he sees multiple opportunities in the wider MENA region – which Talabat is exploring - although he declined to give specifics.
“Right now, Talabat is part of a publicly listed company , so opening up new markets is research intensive and needs to be approved by the board,” he said.
Gyssels added that the approach to expansion is significantly different from the one that German e-commerce giant Rocket Internet – which took over Talabat in 2015 – previously used.
“[At the time] we could move rather fast,” he said. “The approach was to just try it out. To try a couple of markets, see which ones we could make work and which we couldn’t make work, and double down on the ones that work.”
Even within the GCC region, he added, Talabat has had to conduct in-depth research to ensure that the platform’s offerings are tailored to local consumers.
“People think it’s plug and play, but it’s not. Food preferences differ, and it’s not just the local flavours that are different. It’s really the trends and what people are into at the moment,” Gyssels said. “We run a logistics operation which is quite tedious and the right model to do that…differs market per market.”
A particular challenge, he said, is ensuring that the company’s delivery fleet complies with regulations and is suitable for the unique hazards of a particular market. As an example, he said some countries have established restrictions on motorcycle deliveries.
“Every time we open up a new market, we have to figure out what our fleet is going to look like and what the mix is,” he added.