Kindly brief us the journey of TenderCuts. What is your current distribution in the online as well as offline space?
Right from the time TenderCuts (TC) was started we have been an omni-channel company, and we had our customers using multiple channels such as phone, website, app and walk-in to store to buy fresh meat and seafood. We build this model keeping in mind, meat as a category is a high frequent buying category. Many customers initially used to visit our stores but eventually shifted to ordering online due to convenience. We currently have 13 stores in Chennai and 7 stores in Hyderabad serving close 3,00,000 active customers who order at least weekly once on an average.
How do you assess the impact of COVID 19 on overall seafood market in India?
COVID-19 has created a shock in the supply chain and immediately almost the supply got stopped. The supply which was in transit got perished as most trucks were locked cross-borders. But as consumers were locked at home, we saw a big spike in demand and many customers started switching to a brand or where the meat and seafood is sold hygienically especially the ones who do home-delivery. This has led to a positive impact for companies like us and has resulted in a huge spike in sales.
How do you see consumer behaviour is changing as far as seafood/ meat consumption is concerned? What will be new normal for this industry?
Customer behaviour can be measured BC (before COVID-19) and AC (after COVID-19). Before COVID-19 most of the time customers didn't care much about hygiene and they were not too concerned about the source from where the meat/seafood or even food was coming from. But after COVID-19 pandemic has come to the fore, the customer awareness has seen an uptick and they need to be sure on where the meat and seafood is coming from and the hygiene practices followed by the seller. Hence, all the FSSAI/WHO guidelines will be deeply looked not only by the authorities to give safe seafood or meat but even by the customers in a big way in the future and will be the new normal for meat and seafood retail industry.
What is your strategy to combat this crisis?
COVID-19 has created a positive movement for us, where many customers who would have taken several years to switch to hygiene meat/seafood brand is happening faster now. This is an opportunity at the time of crisis. The COVID-19 spread is very sensitive; hence we have taken utmost precaution in our stores and for the delivery partners by implementing many new SOPs to keep them safe.
We have also introduced Contactless Retail service for our customers recently. Under the same, a customer can download the TenderCuts app, place the order and the company will allot a time slot for the customer to pick up the order from the store. Once the customer arrives at the store, they can sanitize themselves and the product will be kept ready which will allow the customer to complete his retail experience in a matter of few minutes. Online payment for the order is mandatory for the customers to make the service a seamless and safe experience.
How have you tweaked your growth plans/ expansion plans for post COVID era?
As this is a big opportunity, we have accelerated our plans and as soon as the lockdown is over, we will look to expand our retail presence and launch new stores in Hyderabad and Chennai respectively.