Misha Ali, Lead at Uber Eats Bangladesh discusses the potential and challenges of setting up the food delivery segment of the popular ride-sharing app, Uber in Bangladesh

Uber as a ride-sharing app has had significant success in Bangladesh, but it came at a time when the options were few. The food delivery competition is currently fierce. How does Uber Eats plan to stand out against this?
At Uber and Uber Eats, we pride ourselves on being as global as we are local. While we bring global standards and technologies to each city in which we operate, we also learn about local needs and innovate accordingly. We believe that this is one of the contributing factors for our continuing success in the rides business and will be a key differentiator for us for Uber Eats as well.

Moreover, we have a lot of respect for strong local competitors and we believe that competition makes us better. In any industry competition usually results in better products and in this case a better ridesharing industry that benefits both the rider and the driver partner. Uber Eats is working to connect people to the food they love in a convenient and reliable manner. We will continue to uphold ourselves to this excellence in the standard.

When a technology or idea is imported from elsewhere, it often needs to be adapted to fit local requirements and limitations. What elements of Uber Eats Bangladesh will differ from the same abroad?
As mentioned earlier, we ensure that our actions are local while our outlook is global. While we bring global standards and technology to our teams, in each city, we work hard to understand local needs and requirements. For example, Dhaka faces some of the worst traffic congestion in the world while we strive to provide a standardised delivery experience which includes quick deliveries.

What do you think about the food delivery market in Bangladesh in general? Will it grow exponentially in the future or is it reaching saturation point due to constraints on a distance of delivery, perceptions of home delivery, e-commerce, etc?
The Bangladesh food delivery market has huge potential and we believe that we’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg. We are deeply encouraged by the love our rides business has received in Bangladesh and how it has been able to shape mobility here in the country. With our global expertise and local knowledge, we will continue to innovate for these cities.

Will Uber Eats allow online payment through Bangladeshi bank cards?
Yes, consumers can pay through credit or debit card. One of the unique localizations we are also introducing in Bangladesh is “cash on delivery”, which for Uber Eats is quite new. This is one of the examples of how we’re adapting to the local environment here.

How did your previous experience at a food and delivery service like Cookups prepare you for this position?
Cookups gave me a unique way to bridge my passion for food into a technological solution that could serve those who wanted to eat home-cooked food. It’s very similar to what I’m doing at Uber Eats – bringing happiness through food to the residents of Dhaka. Furthermore, building businesses like Cookups from the ground up has given me a unique perspective and experience on how to launch Uber Eats in Bangladesh from zero. I am very excited about the continuation of my food journey, and the opportunity to impact millions of people in Bangladesh.

Are you only launching in Dhaka? What is the potential of food delivery services in smaller cities like Rajshahi or Khulna?
Currently, we are launching in some specific areas like – Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara, Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur and Bashundhara R/A. However, we are always looking at opportunities to expand our footprint, though we don’t have anything new to announce at this moment.

Do you see Uber Eats as a potential success in Bangladesh?
We at Uber Eats always look into new opportunities and we have already received an overwhelming response from our customers and partners since we started operations in Dhaka. We are hopeful that very soon Uber Eats will change the way people eat in Bangladesh.

Juneyna is the sub-editor of ICE Today and ICE Business Times. She spends most of her time planning her next meal and plotting female world domination