Pedram Assadi has been the COO of foodpanda APAC since January 2019. Pedram began his career within the food delivery industry more than six years ago, starting his own food delivery company in the Middle East. He then moved to Dubai as Head of Operations in Uber. In his current role, he oversees ongoing business operations in the region. Prior to his work in the food delivery industry, Pedram spent three years working for Amazon."
As part of global leader Delivery Hero, foodpanda APAC now features over 150,000 restaurants on its platforms region-wide and spearheads sustainability activities in the food delivery industry.
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Andrei Palamariu: 0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders in Tech. Any commas podcast? I'm your host, Andrea Calamari, and I am the APEC director for Global Executive Search. Our mission is to connect the tech in supply chain and equal mercy ecosystem in Asia and globally by bringing forward some of the most interesting stories about success and failure from leaders in the industry. It's my pleasure to have with us today. Bedroom Asadi bedroom has Bean, the chief operating officer of Foot Benn, the apex since January 2000 and 19. Bedroom began his career with the food delivery industry more than six years ago, starting his own food delivery company in the Middle East. Then he moved to Dubai as the head of operations for uber, and now, in his current role, he oversees ongoing business operations in the region. Prior to his work in the food delivery in the street, Pedro spent three years working for Amazon. It's part of the global leader delivery hero foot panda ape ignore features over 150,000 restaurants on its platforms, a region wide and spearhead sustainability activities in the food delivery industry. Hi, Pedram is a great to have you on the podcast high. Andre, thank
Pedram Assadi: 1:06
you for having me today.
Andrei Palamariu: 1:08
It's a good day today. Uh, I am not sure yet when we are going to release it. But today we celebrate working or its glorious the first of May. But let's see how how this this discussion will flow. I'm curious toe to see more and to learn more about your your background, Pedro. So it's great if we can set up the scene and start with a short summary of your career. Because I know you've You've bean traveling. You've been working across the world. Um, from from Iran from to Dubai. Uh, you worked with rocket Internet on your own. Start up. We do, we're And now it's foot band that maybe you can share a bit. How was it so far? And yeah, paint us a picture of your career so
Pedram Assadi: 1:50
sure, sir. Thanks for having me Damn fortunate enough to be speaking today. I saw the list off the other guest speakers and there's an impressive Mr from executives that have spoken toe. Thanks for having me. I can start right away. Just a quick intro from my side. Some born and raised in Germany and originally from Iran, Just parents are from and our works all my life in technology across eight different countries, and I was in various different departments and positions which allowed him to have Ah, very generalised new on a company's general was in finance. I was consulting business development was in operations and combining this it was very helpful for me to have really a bird's eye view on the businesses. I think the catalyst of my career was when I left Amazon and um, yeah, let go off my basically my employees burning career and started my own company, which was one of the first food delivery companies in Iran called chili vory dot com. And reason being was that I saw a lot of opportunity in Iran. It's a huge markets, more than 80 million people, very young population, very text of the And at the same time Obama was lifting the economic sanctions on Iran, and so all of this putting it together and saw this as a once in a lifetime opportunity. So me, together with two mentors of mine wi the country's in bootstrapping in the beginning, and then we closed a small round off 304 100,000 euros and we launched Yeah, within 2 2.5 months, one of first would delivery companies in Iran. Soon we saw a lot of competition coming. So we were then 7 to 8 with some local and one international competitors, and it became very competitive. And one of the big challenges of the Iranian market was that we were unable to raise funds from international investors because sanctions were never really really lifted. So we had to basically always find local investors. But it was still a brilliant time. I think it was excellent from your learning experience and we became the second largest would delivery company in the country. But when Trump got elected, I saw this is the calling for me to sell my shares and, yeah, move onto the next challenge, which is when uber approached me and back then uber started this company, the stock company called uber everything with the purpose of understanding. What can we do more than just right hailing? And yeah, they were looking for someone with food delivery experience in the Middle East, but also the national background. So, um which that I found very attractive and very challenging experience. So I signed up for that together with a few others found three probable routes. Middle East section we launched, um, business and the u. A v. Saudi Arabia, Egypt. I was heading the operations regionally. It was a great time as well. Learned a lot from yeah, how uber grew suddenly so big and how this can be implemented into food delivery with operational excellence and quick launching and fast growth. But where's the end of its again? What happened? This? That's I saw the early signals off the company going on breaking apart leadership waas This aligned and leadership was leaving week after week and see your being ousted and a budgets being cut. We were unable to launch new countries, which made the school chapter for me rather shorter than I expected. So after 2.5 years here again, I was approached by delivery hero to take on a similar role there had at uber beats, but rather with um larger geographical school in the Asian markets. So this which is where I am now from running the operations for food panel, which is the A pack and city off delivery hero.
Andrei Palamariu: 6:12
And I think, like you mentioned that learning that you had during the delivery days and ah helped you a lot with Cooper helped you, I assume, are still the foundation that you build upon now it would spend. It's very interesting because Iran is such a different market in like it said, big challenges is Well, no. Um, you mentioned delivery hero. You mentioned foot panda. I don't think everybody know that. Maybe most people know that when this part of the delivery here, off family so this we can deliver Your hero is the biggest food delivery company in the world. Most of listed on the Frankfurt stock exchanges. It's another just thing. I mean, everything is his public from from piano to the numbers and wantedto you can share how the journey and how, uh, paths crossed room for foot, plant and delivery hero. Yeah,
Pedram Assadi: 7:06
sure. So food panda was actually launched by Rocket Internet, a company that I worked much earlier or rocket Internet is known for in the early days. Being a very that's launching, expanding and stating company. And so who delivery was one of the focus areas off rocket Internet, Um, which is the incubation off food? When that happens, Rocket Internet is not a good company in operations. So once it's launched and accelerated, it's the best for residents in it, too. Um, yeah, and that company over and which is when Delivery Hero took over with online? That makes much more sense because the liver heroes really a functional leader and and yeah, that that made a lot of sense because delivery Hero with this acquisition was able to enter the Asian markets, especially the South Asian market, which is very fast growing emerging market. So ever since then, the food pandas on the operating under the delivery hero umbrella and really rose operating and 46 47 countries start with them very global mindset but at the same time very local. So I think where the difference comes between delivery hero to other companies such as uber, is that it's running very, very local. So when you're walking the streets of Pakistan or in Taiwan, and the customers really think that food plan is a local company and that's really one of the big achievements of that company and it's very global company, but runs very very,
Andrei Palamariu: 8:48
and I don't think a lot of companies can say this. People in each one of the things. The food panda is actually from their own car country, and it's it's a local brand, so that's definitely an achievement. Now talking. Let's take the discussion further and then talk about what's happening now and how the pandemic crisis is impacting everything I know. It has a huge impact on your operations. Um, and I would rather have your take on it and better understand, How is it impacting Ah, foot Bandai in the neighborhood, especially?
Pedram Assadi: 9:23
Yeah, certainly. I think it's, Ah, very challenging time for many industries on everyone has impacted in one way or another. Um, we're in a situation where we're operating in 11 different countries and a pack, and the situation differs country by country. We're fortunate enough to be speaking to 11 governments and asking how we can support. So we see in some of our countries. There is additional organic growth coming because off lockdowns, for instance, and Singapore on dumbed in other countries where people see us not only years a food delivery company but also as a essential service provider in other countries. There is really not much of a difference because, um, the government was able toe react quickly that such as an Taiwan. And if you walk in the streets of my one, it doesn't seem like a visit pandemic going. So there is not much of additional organic growth happening other than the one that we are through marketing. And then in another set of companies, the what delivers actually bit lower. And that's because the lock down is itching a bit more drastic. Where the government has said, Please, no movement for a few weeks. We need to just take everything into standstill and whatever it is with each of the governments were supporting the government in their visions and their plan to execute. If it is us being essential service provider or it's working with the government toe, ensure that no operation happens for a few weeks and then we get started afterwards. Yeah, we're seeing us at the service provided here and as I mentioned, so it's a different picture, country by country,
Andrei Palamariu: 11:13
good. It. And I think, uh, there is a trend when it comes to own boarding both new restaurant partners or small business partners and new writers. I think you can see this, uh, clearly from from where you're sitting here, we can share more about it.
Pedram Assadi: 11:30
Surely. Surely I think with what we have seen as very interesting trend is that suddenly ah, Lord of additional growth is coming from new restaurants interested to sign up with us and bought off additional vital partners. And that makes a lot of sense of taking a step back. What's happening is that dining business off many of our restaurants is impacted. Um, sometimes maybe the consumer stone have the don't feel comfortable going out yet or not. As many as before or in other cases, the government is actually completely closing the diamond. That business, right? So what happens from a restaurant perspective is that the restaurant has to continue paying brands fertility cars, salaries, but the revenue the top line has dramatic. What we've done is really with approached a lot off smaller restaurants, more medium sized restaurants to ask, How can we help? We have built a fast a non boarding process in orderto onboard restaurants. It's pass it possible in order to bridge the gap that they're currently I'm experiencing in the top line revenue. On the other hand, you see a lot of additional growth on the writer science. It's because of multiple reasons, but one could be that the right ailing business is heavily impacted. So, um, you know the uber business, the writing businesses impacted, which leads to a drop in the revenue. So a lot of drivers are looking for new opportunities and, yeah, who delivery? It's one that is growing, so that could be an option. And then in just in general, there is a lot off pay cuts on a lot off layoffs, which allows us toe offer temporary freelance employments on the writer side. So all of that is up. Most importance for us, and we're also one of the responsibilities that we have is to drive traffic and growth towards the stakeholders that need it. So we have. We have focused targeted marketing messages to small and medium size restaurants, and we have enjoyed it in the last months. More median size westerns get additional boosting and marketing basements, which allow them to grow 40% more than any other restaurant and off.
Andrei Palamariu: 13:46
And when you say you said that they have grown even close to 40% or even me for more than that. That's That's quite impressive. I think all of them are happy that this kind of options exist. And this creates a discussion about opportunities and, of course, challenges. But let's focus a bit more on on opportunities. I know that foot band. And now for some time now, um, is delivering more than just food, right? I think the grocery space is very interesting for you. Um, what's your plan there? How has the journey being so far? And what do you see His next step for you guys?
Pedram Assadi: 14:24
Yeah. Good questions. I think in general what we saw our responsibility is, was when this whole situation happened was to be hooked over, correct for that situation, not to wait too long and understand that. Okay, we might be over correcting. We might be a bit too aggressive in our approach on or being too careful, but we can not or to have ambitious example. Could be. We were the first delivery company to launch contact less delivery by default. So it's the it's the first choice. You need to actually switch it up to make it, um, not by default, so that what happens is that the writer and the customer don't haven't interaction on the digitally, or only by knocking on the door ringing the bell, and that is really to reduced spread of providers or any like contamination or any physical impact. Um, ends together, the other we see and resolve like we were doing grocery delivery for some time. But then suddenly we became from a food delivery player. We moved to daily essentials. Really, because a lot off customers are then in needs off. Groceries can be, you know, rice, milk, water, whatever this, and even more than that, pharmaceuticals And we saw this as a is a growth of between each as a catalyst for us to really double down and move and service our customers on what's really, really needed And, um, over the last month. And actually, now it's about almost a year we have been working heavily focused on what we call the start of the few commerce industry face, and a few conversations were quick comers. It's basically what we believe in will be the next face off, um, e commerce and basically means everything that you need. That's groceries or any offensive G product pharmaceuticals delivered to you through the clothes shop center in your areas for true smaller cloud stores. The marks how we call them in many warehouses where we've stopped right and set up. And she's not available in your area in order them, and you received them in 15 to 20 minutes at the lower price than on e commerce and just generally much, much more efficient. And we believe that this is the new face for the industry of online shopping. I think we commerce saw its peak. So what? Amazon and the lights off, as are the build who very heavy supply chains, large warehouses and, yeah, where the shipping can take 3 to 4 days and it's being shipped from different suppliers, different countries and everything. Where were we believe in their more local from online shopping experience and basically, how this will look like I said, You as a customer can see the shops around and or one of the stores that we have and just select the items are available. One of our writers beats it up and delivers it to you in under 30 minutes And actually, our target time is about 20 minutes. We're delivering at the moment on 20 minutes on average. Why? Why do we believe this is happening? I think for firstly, I think we don't need to build such a heavy outdated in commerce from supply chain, I think give you one example. So a friend of mine bought yoga mat and that you ever met went from Australia and then went toe warehouse in Singapore, their effects away for two days. And then I arrived with my place in it. This whole thing took 4 to 5 days and I wasn't even sure One day it will arrive. That specific yoga mat was just at one shop. You're just 10 minutes away from me. If I would have known that that would have been there, I could have just gone there or right. I could have just picked it up because I was unaware it is there. I was unable to order from there, So basically, we believe that market is going much more local. And that's where were heavily focused now in building thousands of D marks around the world and specifically in a pack for us and really partnering up with tens of thousands, with hundreds of thousands of shops in any category to be able to deliver any product, the court and then this is a magical experience. If you live in Singapore ready now, you can try it out on Monday marks. You get any product that you have stocked there in under 20 minutes, and that's 24 7 every day, seven times a week.
Andrei Palamariu: 19:04
I wanted to share. I wanted to share a good story here. I'm good from from my perspective, because I saw I think I saw it on social media when, um, a few weeks, maybe, Ah, at the starting of foot of finding Martine Singapore. And I was thinking, OK, let's let's test it out And it SSM order some groceries because some can food and Sony that period of time. And, um, I placed the order. And then after I think it was 20 minutes, something like that. Ah, somebody called me and, uh, hospital to come down in and pick it up. And I was totally surprised how fast and how accurate everything was. So I haven't had this kind of experience on Lee when it comes to food. Yes, food delivery. I had it. But when he came to groceries, it's It's great toe. Especially now when everybody's inside indoors. Um, so Singapore, and for me, it worked like a charm. Now, when you think and we talked about the benefits of the quick commerce concept, right, there are clear benefits for the consumer in time, in terms of time, in terms of convenience. How about the small shops? How about, um, small owners? Because I think there's a huge upside for them there. Um, I'm asking you house the feedback from theirs.
Pedram Assadi: 20:22
Yeah, So I think the way we approach our entrance into this inter industry is different than the Amazon principle. The Amazon really Wen's end to ends and basically is the reason why so many moment pot shops or most went bankrupt because Amazon just completely disrupted and to enter supply chain right. And that's not out principle. Same the same principle we have on the food side or were actually working with restaurants and growing their business. And we're helping them with the transition from Pinto online and growing together. We want to bring that same mantra, the same principle to the groceries and other industry. So working with the shops, we will be partnering with them and they will be growing with us. And we're actually seeing that there is a increments of demand happening. So if they put their all kind of additional online, them are not together. The first shops that are working with us seeing an additional increments the march and we're working really with a set off, um, pharmaceuticals on and grocery stores and convenience stores and all of them are see incremental demand in general. And we believe in this mother way We don't want to disrupt a mom, Patricia. Anything. We believe in local services, local provided we want to grow with them and candidates and their benefits. And that's more of a partnership model that has brought us where we are here for the last 89 years and that I think that's
Andrei Palamariu: 21:59
good. And now Penda Mart is present in most of the epic markets. O R. How is it spread Joe? Graph the correct. So
Pedram Assadi: 22:08
we're currently active in about eight of our 11 countries, and so you can slices into two parts. One is really working with shops, and that's now active in eight of our 11 but we will be launching within the next month in all of our countries. And then the additional own de marks the out stores where we can provide additional stocks that are undebatable ring area. Those are currently live in two countries, which is Singapore and Taiwan. That's will be live in all of our countries by the end of this year.
Andrei Palamariu: 22:44
Okay, let's dig the deeper on the differentiation when it comes to operations, right? Because this is your piece of pie when you, in a way within foot, pain them. It's also very important element that makes you stand out of the crowd, so to speak, way spoke about being hyper local. Um, we spoke about doing things, taking things one step at the time. What do you see? Us. Put pandas differentiation. How how do you stand out? But this one, from your perspective
Pedram Assadi: 23:17
in general, I think you mentioned it's bringing the questions of rewriting hyper go cook very, very vocal company. And to make that happen, we have the Matrix organization, were very much embedded into other countries, and the city's so we run a very decentralized work. Were really the decision making and the execution is in the country's as much as possible, which gives us agility and allows us to be embedded into work country and the local ones instead are needed me coming from uber which was running really hyper central, that is Ah ah, shift in mindset. But I see the beauty off running very local, because if the decision making in the product is coming from San Francisco for somewhere in Saudi Arabia, it's never gonna work right. So that's that's one of the key differentiations, which we have in our DNA in our culture and how we operate in general. It does come with some challenges, right? Like decision making an execution might sometimes take a bit longer because it's more bottom up and top down. But we believe that the strong honking he doesn't come from the top, but it comes from within. So we are very much focused on keeping this operational processes that we have there very bottom happy. The seconds difference that I see is that very focused. So, you know, last year there was also a lot of buzz around super abs and they see collapsed doing everything and certainly selling um, hotel tickets and book their flak tickets and some videos. And everything that really is doesn't go well together. And we believe that suit, perhaps trying to do a little bit off everything but don't do everything well, way we believe ourselves to be. Want to be in any of your focus that we want to win through a hyper focused and very, very deeply integrated into one or two or three industries. We don't want to do a things at the same time. We go one by one and the speed or execution from one birth dependent launching another vertical. I sometimes call it like a bulldozer. We really have to first finish the one vertical and then to the 2nd 1 We don't have to do five things at the same time. So focuses very much. It's very much top of mind for us. And what does that mean for the customer, like specifically now for foods? When we say we're focusing, it means tax were focused on all aspects off it, and the customer can benefit from it from faceted return. So we're delivering 5 to 10 minutes past than any other competitive that we have on average in all of our markets. That means that you have the largest number off restaurants. That means I can have the lowest delivery. We're running on the highest number, highest efficiency. So our writers are doing many more orders for our than our competitors. And we're providing the best year than discounts from the restaurants from us because we're fully focused and understand what use are needed. And yeah, all of this at the healthiest property. Nasi so basically running on healthier unit economists and our competition. And we believe this is what this needed to run a business. And I think as we know, you know, going into a more difficult times with recession and funding is drying up. For many private competitors, this will be a competitive advantage.
Andrei Palamariu: 26:51
That that's a very interesting point. Then I really like this focus. Apple versus Super happen, how you guys are going about it. I wanted to ask about the the business unit. Economic is so I think you you are on the right tech. Of course, the results show it is where How does it work? Because, for example, me person, So this is just mind my story. I don't think I didn't pay your delivery fee window when I order form from in the mark. How does the business economic word and how can you stay heresy when there is such a big competition out there? So you have the marketing cost. You have operation cost. You want to be as this friendly to your and customer this possible. How does it work? I think first
Pedram Assadi: 27:39
awful. It's important to run a business and healthy business, and there has to be a path to profitability if there is no profitability already. So running on very low commissions or northern new movie or very low efficiency just means and with no plan to improvement means that we're not running a business. The business is running you in a way, so you need to really have a plan for the core levers for the piano. And that means that there has to be a commission that has to be made on every order else you will go out of business, but we've seen some players years ago or even last year. With honesty going out of business and everything, it's really important to make sure that you are very cost conscious and run on. Yeah, healthy in us. The other one is that efficiency. So that is the core, actually, that I'm very focused on to run. So basically, the number off trips that Rider partners and do has to be really maximized over is because it's important that the writer for our burns healthy payment, because there has to be a contribution to provide a being made. But what we can maximizes the number of trips that that person thinking right? And by lowering the cost curve trip, that's one of our core strengths against our completion. Because we're running on our efficiency. The monsoon is marketing. That one is an interesting one. So it's very easy to be, um, you'd into, Oh, I have so much fun day Let me quickly grow or my investors are pushing me to grow. Someone from the top needs to show his investors that we have to grow quickly and then throw a lot of discounts here and there, and that is a very dangerous topic. I've seen it with uber happening and moving from overcoming. Yeah, that was one of the key, actually, is to make sure that we don't spend in a way that doesn't make sense in the long term. So we really much are focused on working with the restaurants together. We do co pounding beers when we see a restaurant, wants to do a marketing campaign, and we're happy to also join many of those and the additional market in Boston, ever. So it's multiple parts of the P in hell and all of them together allows you to run with the health European l. And if you neglect all of them, then yeah, you're very, very quickly out of business because there are very large volumes that we're talking here about. So it's It's just a meadow very, very months where you can go out of business very, very quickly.
Andrei Palamariu: 30:14
Yes, the buffer time in the buffer zone is is not very, very wild during these times, for sure, And, um, you said efficiency efficiency is one of your focus areas. I imagine that this is tied up very closely with technology. What can you tell us about the importance of technology for foot spend? Ah, how does this work? When it comes to
Pedram Assadi: 30:38
we're fortunate enough to be in this industry for a long time, and I believe that you really have to be in an industry for quite some time to understand the DP right. Like me. I've been known food there for seven years, and it's My understanding has changed over time, and it's getting deeper and deeper and technology in terms off. Um, that's a forecasting is a very important one that this attributed to our efficiency. We were striving for operational excellence and that we can do through very accurate forecasting by time and by location off our orders. And this way, something or writers accurate. So many of our competitors are staffing just as much as they can and providing. But so it's this way. But if you're able to really accurate me forecast where an order will come, what's time and face the writer there and optimize your operation this way? You just run on much, um, higher efficiency and again this tribes. Then better unity comes.
Andrei Palamariu: 31:50
I was just wondering now that you were talking about how the AL agreed incense and about the tax side, how many people are because you must have quite a few engineers that are working on this. How does it work from a skills perspective within the company? How much of the company's focused on on, um, on the tech side?
Pedram Assadi: 32:11
Yeah. So here again, um, the quickness. And that's one of the actuals of our companies to run local. So we have her tech hub here in Singapore, um, with about 500 engineers and that covers data science that covers date engineering, product and take. And that's supposed to one of the learning that I head of my previous company, where it was all very centralized, somewhere much relevant to that specific market. We're running very local here again, so we have a check up here which covers. They're acknowledging the product for APEC market. But we have a product also in each of our countries again, to find the Lucan once is and built puts him up. There is some still strong collaboration with the other engineers and other countries, most notably, of course, with our engineers in Germany, because they have build functional excellence and expertise and those specific matters. But as we operates and collaborates also on many other verticals on the product and excite, the same is happening, um, very strongly embedded and overlapped thing. Um, yeah. Work, clothes and dynamics.
Andrei Palamariu: 33:22
I wanted to take the discussion because we mentioned talent. We mentioned technology Operation, Excellency. Um, how is all this situation impacting hiring for you for For foot, Brenda. So I imagine that there is quite a different process when somebody joins during this Simon. Also imagine you have different needs when it comes to skew said, please tell us more about the hiring part.
Pedram Assadi: 33:47
Yeah, that's a very challenging, um, topic right now because of all the lockdowns and no flights on bus being a very global company but running very broker, this became particularly your challenge, but our people and HR recruitment team, they didn't a normal job. I have to say, very accident job and making sure that there is no impact on hiring. We read, freeze or stopping hiring a such and what we really did this we found you would never two categories of higher. So there were new joiners that joined just right before the lock down. And people from Canada, from India from Europe joined us, and they were just about to make it. And then there is another set off employees also here again across the girl from the U. K. We have spent many of the books from the U. S. And from Canada and from India that didn't make it anymore. So what's happening is that we didn't delay the starting gate wherever we were able to intercept A. That starts your you're employment side is actually now and we'll start working remotely because we want to stand by the contract. And I also the agreement to start with you. So the on boarding is all digital and the first, you know, meetings one on one. Everything digital zoom, help the lot here, of course hangouts. And that was a bit more difficult, but I'm actually positively surprised. Oh, things are going very well so far. And we I believe in the Montrose, throwing someone into the cold water and letting that person learn to swim in cold water and directly or going on a specific project so that it's actually working fairly well. I have to say
Andrei Palamariu: 35:32
yes. I mean, it's good to be the cold water and get ah, wake up with him in the same time. I imagine you have some support systems there in case of something you have, Ah, rescue floating device. And so, uh, now we talked about hiring. Um and I know for you as a company working with so many tape types of stakeholders, right? We have the users, we have the restaurants, we have two riders. Customer care and customer service is very important. I wonder, Are there certain principles or is there a North Star when you are own boarding over when you're training your employees in the customer customer side, customer facing.
Pedram Assadi: 36:18
Yeah, I me personally, um, and also our company general, like, puts the Laura. Are you on? Um, yeah, the customer passion, the customer accidents that really having the perspective from a customer and in that regard, also being having their urine good communication skills at the moment, that is one of the key attributes that are helping some people and maybe maybe disadvantage to some others. Really. Folks with high you too, with very few and good communication skills and with higher empathy and mindfulness being able to put yourself into the shoes of another coup employees or even the customer, um, or a restaurant partners are rider partners. We see that currently in the not down that that is, he attributes that is helping people to be successful. And that's one of the key introduce that also always look when we hire for, um, generally, one other attribute that I personally look at ihsaa humbleness I'd like I saw in my previous company where people were into Humpty, but we're what the point was turned brilliant jerks, and that really took the company down. So one of the things, no matter how brilliant or how good are smart. You are the humble misses a key attributes can have you in our work in our current way of working with different countries, different verticals, especially the matrix organization. So that is one of the theatrics that's important to me.
Andrei Palamariu: 37:54
Yeah, yes, definitely humble humbleness. What we see, cause we interacted quite a lot of executives and the ones that are best that their job and have the best teams, and it really valued this this element of humbleness and making sure people work together 90 more well, now we talked about the customer care and the customer facing roles. I imagine everybody has 11 currency on mind when dealing with customers, and that might be the importance of time. Everybody wants time or not to waste time. And if we're talking here about delivery, if we're talking here about a call toe customer, that something changing their order, they wanted this as soon as possible into noise. And it's possible. How do you see the importance of time connected toe? How your servicing your customers?
Pedram Assadi: 38:53
I mentioned earlier that So I've been in this industry for seven years now, and the purpose of being in this industry changed over time. I think it's going toe read different stages for me personally. Yes, well, so the first stage was really being a website and showing restaurants that are available and they go, anything that that more or less destructive, was the flyers that you used to have on your fridge so those don't exist anymore. So that was you. Food delivery one point, um, and then put memory move towards two point, or which is doing their own logistics operations. And why? Because we saw that acknowledge technology companies on food delivery companies able to provide a better service through logistics and being able to deliver suddenly and 40 minutes, then in one hour, or knowing where your writer is or where the, um, the food, the new preparation where you contract the writer, and that was really two point off. I see us going now into three point over, and that's actually where we are in right now. We're delivering under 25 minutes, and when you see the increment off now delivering so past, you think, OK, why is it three point or there is no increase, that they're The only thing is that we rather delivering faster. But now also from my understanding over the years. Is that the reason why fluke delivery is now growing so fast and the purpose behind it? It's not food itself anymore. It's really the time efficiency gains that our customers, The way I see it now, whenever customer clicks on order foot pendant, it's really were a giving back time company were in the company. We're in the business off giving you back time, and I think time is being the most valuable currency that you have. Every time you click on the button, you get 30 minutes back in your life. And why do I say that? Because any other option is less efficient. So will be sufficient is cooking yourself, which can take more than an hour cleaning, cooking and everything in preparation and then cleaning. The other one is going into a restaurant where you have to really go down the work in the restaurant on soup pear and basically that's a lot off inefficient time. The other one is just going and picking it up. But still you have to go there and waits, and that's also inefficient. The most efficient thing can do is use application and order your food online. And that means that effectively, you can continue working, doing sports spending, quality time with your family with your loved ones. And you can use that additional time to do whatever you want. And that's the importance. And that's why they were in the business of time and my food at this time anymore. What we are seeing and what we want to do is that anything that you do, like cooking or going out should rather become a hobby of yours because you want to socialize or you want to call it because you like cooking. But it shouldn't your necessity anymore. And if if you're like short of time, and as the opportunity cost for everyone is going, we believe that there is a shift. There is a large ship towards Yeah, helping I get more time in my day pack and that I can do through online food different. And I think in general, the one philosophical way I look at time. Instead, you can measure it. Two aside, it's one side is just come one dimensional. This just horizontally by seconds by minutes, You know, weeks by whatever and there we really I'm putting a lot of focus with. The teams have an excellent operations team toe. Be the quickest possible at the moment where it's in every cell every time across the region that off like 23 minutes. And we really want to get this down to under 20 minutes because the faster we are in, the more on time we are, the more time they give you back. And the other way measure time is really the death, like how eat you go into the time. What do you do with the time that you're getting back? And this is what often people say quality time. So it's really important that the time they do getting back if you use it twice the standard your loved ones, or do whatever you couldn't do yesterday. So just all of these together make it the very core, actually real core strength of ours. To think a time is one of the benefits that would get him back when you use good, different
Andrei Palamariu: 43:34
and I want to do toe challenge a bit. This this concept of time, right, because it's it's excellent to have something fast, and it's actually super convenient, very comfortable from the user or the incline. What? It's a lot of work and operational excellence on the side of the company, and there is no perfect perfect operation process out there. So sometimes things don't work out exactly how they were planned. Now, how do you manage those situations when the promise of maybe 20 mins sitting? I don't know. The promise of time can't be kept and something hopes up. Maybe a restaurant is closed or it doesn't. You cannot provide the other or something happens. What is the process of the thinking process on your side to toe manage that kind of situation?
Pedram Assadi: 44:25
That's, ah, good question. I think that's one area that's very important and I don't I wouldn't say that. Also, any companies accident at that? I think it's easy to be good, and that's a customer experience when you run a small, longer off orders. But but you run into very large scale, multiple millions of orders every day. Then being able to make everything excellent becomes different. So when I say off our every shell, every time is becoming and starting to become really, really good and will part, you know, reach operation excellence the way there is always a long tear of what is because it's such as Gail Statistic me. It's impossible to not have any, maybe orders that were delayed because there three stakeholders that we have to have the customer. We have the writer partners and we have the restaurant partners. If suddenly too many orders going to restaurant, the cooking process might be delayed, and then the writer has to wait. But suddenly it's raining like yesterday. There storms and everything that the streets are more clock and then it's more difficult to drive and all of this continent play at our scale. There was always few out bias that we have to correct for its my responsibility, our responsibility, the responsibility of our operations and customer team to make sure that that is minimized as much as possible. And our mission here is really to make sure that if the service and the product that you have orders is not on our with what you were promised, so if the delivery time it's not what it was for, the meal is not what it was and it's our responsibility to compensated for that in order to make up for that and give it another chance that we can ensure that the next service or the next order will be much better.
Andrei Palamariu: 46:19
I will share a story with You are with the audience is well, we talked briefly about it, so I think compensation is great and I think it's everybody. I'm kind of the norm were in the same time. I think the human touch and uh, the human touches is maybe even more important, the emotional connectedness with the company with the brand and I put up in order a few weeks ago. Again, I don't remember exactly what I know. I ordered a few types of grapes because I saw them and I wanted to try each. And, um after I placed the order five minutes in or 10 minutes in, somebody called me and said, I'm sorry, Andrea. One of the type of grapes is not available. Um, what can we do for you? Can either Do you give you two of this or are returned the cost of it? What? What should we do it so? And of course, they chose one of the options. But somebody calling and actually giving diamond energy for me. When I assume there are hundreds of orders each day, they really let left a mark on on now my impression of the brand. So I think thesis is also very important. I wonder, how do you see this human connection in human touch?
Pedram Assadi: 47:29
Yeah, I love it. I would love to have ah, human and interaction with each of our customers everyday. Unfortunate. Yet yes, it is. It's not possible, but I really believe and being as close as possible to our customers. And I can tell you a little bit. We have We're running very decentralizing operations, but we have ah, central operation process and organization for our customer service. But that's we run. In addition, then many other companies companies, while this centralize all customer service are rider service, our restaurant service as a central management that the office is off, the agents that are working are actually in the country's. So we're running here again, decentralized, as close as possible to the country's. So we don't have one office where all the issues or any concerns are going through. We have actually multiple, and I think that's now 11 different in each of the countries we have one. It is being banished centrally, and that is as close as we can get to the customer. The next case would be then calling every personal not many customers like to be called, so we're trying to mask election as limited as possible only if it's needed. But again, the human touch the communication is very important and in your specific example, is a very good one because you have ordered potential multiple grapes and the picture showed potentially read scripts. But what should we do if we have three regrets and one green, and we cannot assume that you want that creed, but we have one and start, so I think here. It's really important to do the public checking and cross checking and ensure that and this is what you're getting. Would you like this or shall we give you only three and settle for? And this is kind of what I mean by custom, experience and the depth of the custom experience has to be one of the things that cannot be compromised. And it is our mission to constantly raise the bar,
Andrei Palamariu: 49:34
correct. And in that case, for me, even though, yes, it's nice together ordering 20 minutes, the important part was not necessarily the time was to make sure everything on the list gets gets, Ah, delivered in a decent amount of time. So it's ah depends from case to case. Like you said, you cannot call everybody and be friends and everybody, but from time to time when when the situation arises. Yes, it's always good to double check and make sure everything is as expected. It's a game of, ah, managing expectations as well. We talked about, um, about tiring. We talked about the importance of making sure we serve is the custom, where is as much or as best as we can. I was wondering from your own style is the leader right? You have to manage quite a huge operation. You have your direct reports. How would you define your own management and leadership started
Pedram Assadi: 50:29
Bedroom? Um, yeah, that's a good question. Actually, someone just recently asked me. Well listed the number off reports I have currently and asked me like house, how do you do that? How do you manage this number of people? And I would say maybe the trickiest that you don't manage them and, um, basically support them and manage maybe from the back. And I think that is a difficult I to myself. I don't like to be on top. I'm more someone that is actually be partnering with someone understanding that person, very Ugandan, really managing side by side and driving forward. And sometimes it works. Um, and sometimes it doesn't because the person connection is difficult to get there. But that's a actually. That's one of the areas where spend a lot of time on. So when I hire someone first, um, mental my tea I don't drive directly into Okay, What should we go? What? Let's get started. And everything that is part of this, but I spend most of the time getting to know the person personally. Onda also checking about many things outside of work. And that's I think it's key toe proper deep a management side by side with senior leaders. And I think in general as, um, you have a more senior team and people they have larger keeps themselves and responsibilities. It's much more important not to say what has to be done because that person and figured it out. It's rather more the lining on where should we go, like, what are the 3 to 5 direction? That's usually one of the questions I asked and my weekly one on one side, What are your top 3 to 5 miles? And that just takes you a little bit, pulls you back And you think, OK, am I paraphrasing? Correct? And in that regard, what has to be done to achieve those 35 parties? I just stepped in when support is needed, so I like to then just come in and say OK, you were delayed. Let's double down here. But in general, what and how to achieve those that specific leader, director head of the department should the, um find those things by her or himself.
Andrei Palamariu: 52:42
I'm talking about priorities and in setting up here directions. We do have quite a wide array of types of audiences in the podcast, and some are at their beginning of their careers. Some are already executives. I was wondering if you can go back, can share with us What was one of the best pieces of advice that you goto you take at heart when it comes to building a successful
Pedram Assadi: 53:11
career? Mm, It's not something I got, but I think when I look back and connect the dots, I can give one strong advice to everyone who his or her career is. I've always looked at what is in my control and what is not in my control. What are the macro or political factors that I cannot change, that those will be against or in favour? And, um, I I highly recommend to everyone if the factors, the variables there are, um Also, if we control are against you, then don't accepted, then tried to make a show me that that means go to a new country or go to new industry. Andi, just make sure that you have to ailments there. Variables there are also a few control are in your favor that you're playing with better cards that you can do and respectable stand giving 100% giving your best. I think that's that's anyways given nowadays. But if you think about it this way, you know, 2030 years ago, someone that maybe was at 70% performance in China but someone else may be and Iran 100% performance, the the person in China will be much, much better off because the macroeconomic factors supports the industry. Brought the economy, brought the GDP per capita grew so much more that you already being pushed up. And that is the one advice that I think give everyone look for the geographical and the industry verticals that are in your favor and if they're currently not in your favor. And they don't also look to be in your favor in the next months, um, a lot of industries are being impacted and they will be also impacted person time for forward. As we're not siding into recession, then don't be afraid to make a change right. It's you should be being a situation where things are in your favor, and that's that's what I've done throughout my life. I think not on purpose. It always came. But when I saw that things are not moving in Iran, I'm out. When I saw things are not working really well, uber I changed. And that doesn't mean that you have to always change quickly. If something is in your favour, then stay there and double down. And that's the best and do
Andrei Palamariu: 55:35
Yeah, there's Don't be afraid to make a change and they look at the big picture. I think it's a great piece of advice here, Um, in conclusion and wanted to trend on a high note. Um, I was wondering, going back to food plan and what we can expect from the company and in the next few months, maybe one year. What are some of the next step? What are the expansion plans? What are the things that excite you at foot band and what should we expect?
Pedram Assadi: 56:07
Yes, so we are expanding if you measure it by a different dimension. So geography we're expanding to new cities and countries on and many of our countries were opening hundreds of cities and Pakistan going by there time major Philippines. There were really bringing our services to cities where it's only not operating as as the first food delivery company. So we're actually the first entrant going in tow. Brought the smaller cities to be able to provide that service from the other dimension. We're expanding also by vertical dimension. We're moving out from food and also ending, um, groceries. And then from there we will add supposed to put the verticals but really has mentioned before step by step one by one. Once one chorused on, then were added another. And we'll make the Corum stronger through that. I think what we can not expect from us is that we suddenly launch 10 20 new verticals and throw the path off scraps. We really believe that our core is built off our vital partners, our customers and over, um, heartens the merchant types and that can be restaurants. And now we're adding grocery shops were heading convenience stores were adding pharmaceuticals, so basically we always looked at whatever. We can't tow our verticals that two or three are as much as possible part of that so it creates a fly reel, and that makes the easier. And I think one of the benefits of the focus at this that and you're adding new verticals, your growth becomes easier and the flying real flies actually passed and higher instead. If you start multiple verticals that are not connected to each other, you make the growth more difficult and you make a full month Spencer make operations, not uniform, and then you're running multiple small flywheels that are not fine. And in general, I think what else we can expect from our core is that we're striving for excellence on all of our apartments. Operation extends commercial, excellent markets, and so we're becoming better and better through that. And I think, but the customer panics. Pipe is that the service level will be better and better. We believe that if you get your food in 15 minutes, that's really good. If there is a drone delivery, but it will take 35 minutes, that's not so that give me such as drone delivery or anything like this. We will only use when it really makes the experience and the experience better and the operations missions together. But that's not the place it. So I think the customer would be happier if food is delivered in 15 minutes by the writer than him 35 minutes by a drunk.
Andrei Palamariu: 58:58
It's a great perspective, and I think drones are excellent for marketing nowadays, But I can still fresh Nelly excellence. It's It's not there yet. Um, thank you for sharing for their I think, um, I think you're you guys are doing a great job. I think the idea of a focus app is great. It's excellent. I think more people and more companies should think about how to support the local economies, and it's another important part to it. I think we from our conversations and how to support their their state called this so thank you for the advice, respect, been sharing. And I wish you guys are the best. Thank you. Thank you for listening to our podcast. For all the show notes and information discussed in the episode, please follow Ellicott global dot com slash Also, if you found this interesting pre subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or stitcher or one of the podcast platforms, we are looking forward to your feedback