Delivering a Charitable, Unique Hungarian Food Portal Solution

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Gábor Végh

The Budapest Business Journal talks with Gábor Végh, owner and CEO of Hungarian food delivery portal É, about the company’s innovations, unique ordering system, and its journey thus far.

BBJ: Where did the idea for É come from?

Gábor Végh: Before we entered into one of the most important phases of our lives and launched É, we thought a lot about business ideas where we could help others. Our dream was always to have a business where we could not only support our family but the community too. We were doing website development mainly for restaurants, and owners were often complaining about restaurant portals at the time. They were placing orders for unrealistically high commissions, yet they had to work with them to cover their high expenditures.

The largest portal in Hungary was acquired by a foreign multinational in 2014, doubling commissions almost immediately. That’s when we decided to try to help. We created a system that could be operated at a lower percentage. The restaurants get a much better deal and we give part of the commission to organizations and hospitals aiming to help others.

BBJ: How does the company’s ordering system work?

GV: We have hundreds of restaurant partners. To see restaurants relevant to you, you need to enter your address. The system will return a list of restaurants that deliver to that address, and you can browse to your heart’s content. Once you have chosen the restaurant, you just have to add food and drinks to the basket. Browsing and ordering takes no more than a few minutes.

BBJ: How does É try to differentiate itself from the big international companies like Bolt Food, Wolt, and Netpincér (Foodpanda)?

GV: We are the only one in Hungary to have developed a registration-free ordering system. This means that in the ordering process you only have to enter the necessary data and you can order (you don’t have to remember any passwords entered earlier, which one usually fails to remember when suddenly needed).

We also have our own unique support system. At certain intervals, we select a non-profit organization to raise funds for during the campaign period. On other portals, only the support donated by users is passed on, whereas with us, after each order, we donate a part of our profit to the organization and there is no extra cost to the customer. If one wishes, there is an option to donate an additional amount when paying by card, but this is by no means obligatory.

Of course, we know that this is not enough. We have introduced a lot of features over the years as a first on the market. For example, a loyalty program, which gives customers points per order. These points can later be redeemed for discounts, coupons, and valuable gifts.

We were the first in Hungary to have a “Popular Products” category. At the top of every restaurant menu you can see what most people order. The system takes into account product ratings and frequency of orders. This has made life a lot easier for people who don’t know the restaurant and don’t know what to try.

Since our launch, we’ve had the most detailed rating system. Customers can rate restaurants on aspects such as delivery, food quality, and value for money. These ratings make it easier for those who don’t have an established favorite but want good quality takeaway.

BBJ: What do you consider to be the most important milestone in the company’s history?

GV: We are incredibly proud that in our first year as a sponsor (2020) we were able to provide nearly half a million forints in financial support to Szent János Hospital, Heim Pál Children’s Hospital and the Magic Lamp Foundation, making dreams come true for ill children. Of course, this is just a beginning. We would like to see this amount reach several million in a few years’ time, helping even more people in need.

BBJ: Are there any concrete expansion plans for the future?

GV: One of our latest developments towards restaurants is the Orsys system, a complex restaurant software, designed to help them in their work. It has been developed in partnership with several restaurants, tailored to their needs and available at a low price that shouldn’t be a burden for a startup, low-income business.

An improvement is also underway to make the customers’ donation “experience” even more complete. We hope that this will further increase our order numbers and, of course, the amount of money we can donate to help. We are also trying to open up in countryside towns. In Pécs, there are already more than 12 restaurants to choose from, but we also managed to attract a few restaurants in Debrecen.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of September 24, 2021.

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