We recently spoke with Di Han, founder of Foodhwy. Foodhwy’s food delivery business is growing – right now they’re focusing on international students from China, and they have a presence in 18 Canadian cities, from Vancouver to Halifax – and OTT Pay is helping them with their expansion into the English-speaking market.
What makes Foodhwy different from other food delivery services?
Foodhwy is different because we target a specific market – Chinese international students. We operate in eighteen cities across Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax. When we start in a new city, we go to the universities, and to the Chinese student unions in particular. We go wherever there are Chinese international students. That’s where we start our business.
We focus on the delivery part, because that’s where we see the most opportunity, and we pay our drivers more than the competition. We pay our drivers at least 20 percent more than UberEats, for example. We are also very proud of our Chinese restaurant coverage. We work with more than 80 percent of the Chinese restaurants in each city we operate in. UberEats has less than 30 percent of these restaurants.
Our next goal will be to sell Chinese food to local people. We believe that Chinese food is great take-out food, because it’s cheap, and it’s easy to eat.
How are you marketing Foodhwy?
When we talk to Chinese student unions, we offer them sponsorship, and in exchange they do some marketing for us, such as letting students know they can get a discount on their first order. Often the student unions write a WeChat article about us and post it on their channels.
The second thing we do is go to internet cafés, because they are really popular with Chinese students. We put our marketing on the desktops, and when the students get hungry, they can just scan the QR code to bring up the app so they can order food.
Third, we use online marketing. We have YouTube channels, and we’ve filmed some 60-second campaigns to use as YouTube advertising that targets people aged 18 to 24 who speak Mandarin.
Finally, we’ve put our logo out there at all the Chinese restaurants. You’ve probably seen it – it’s a little red car – at a Chinese restaurant near you! The logo has our website, and it also has a QR code. If you scan the QR code, you’ll see our marketing for the restaurant.
What kinds of promotions do you offer?
We have a lot of discounts, more than the other food delivery platforms. On weekends, for example, we offer a 50 percent discount for ordering with us. We even offer dishes for $1. We do lots of discounts with big chain restaurants. We help our customers get a lower price by ordering online.
What is your strategy for expanding your customer base?
Right now, we’re focusing on Chinese students, but by the end of 2019 we’re going to have an English language app and we’re going to move into the local English-speaking market. We’ll provide the same discounts and promotions. We’re going to do tests in three cities to start – London, North York and Ottawa.
Why did you decide to work with OTT Pay?
First of all, OTT Pay has great people, like Anthony Xu. He’s a great guy, and he helps me a lot. He has helped our business reach some of the big chain restaurants, and he always has quick responses to our technical problems.
Second, OTT Pay is a big company. Their parent company is OTT Financial, and this gives us confidence in working with them.
Do you feel that OTT Pay helps you build satisfied customers?
OTT Pay is pretty good! We use their products so that we can offer payment through WeChat Pay and Alipay. Since most of our customers right now are from China, these are the ways they want to pay. And because Chinese people can only convert a certain amount of RMB each year into dollars, being able to pay for their food with RMB is very helpful for them.
Lots of Chinese students even connect their WeChat Pay to their parents’ accounts. When they want to eat something, the parents will pay the bill. And the parents never argue about the price! They want their children to eat better food.
How would you describe working with OTT Pay?
I think OTT Pay is focused on business, and they are very professional. They’ve helped us reach more Chinese restaurants, and they’ve helped us grow. I’m also anxious to see what they’ll do with their technology and their R&D in the future!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Every day in China, 50 million food delivery orders are placed every day. That’s huge! In North America, there are just 2 million per day. We believe this represents a big opportunity for us. China’s population is bigger, but in China there are actually fewer people who live in the cities and can afford food delivery. So, we think that 2 million food delivery orders is just the start of what’s possible, and we think the other big players are aiming low. We believe we can find a better way to help our customers use food delivery. We want to lower the price, to make it even cheaper than cooking food at home. When people want a meal, we want them to think of food delivery before they think of anything else. We want to be the first option for people when they’re hungry!