Digital Winner in Food Delivery Industry

Digital Winner in Food Delivery Industry


Food Delivery Startup

In 2014 November, ‘Woowa Brothers’ attracted $36 million investment from Goldman Sachs. Woowa Brothers is a startup located in Seoul, Korea, which operates popular Korean food delivery application, ‘Baedalui Minjok’. Since its inception in 2010, ‘Baedalui Minjok’, which means “Delivery Nation”, has been a leader in O2O(online to offline) food delivery market in Korea. Accumulated number of downloads of this application is over 20 million and it has more than 150,000 restaurants registered on the platform and its monthly order transaction is 5 million and the monthly turnover is $80 million.

Value Creation

The market size of food delivery industry in Korea is estimated to $9-10 billion. Previously, customers were heavily relied on food delivery flyers. Customers looked to flyers and called restaurants to make delivery orders. Baedalui Minjok is rapidly replacing food delivery flyer market. From the point of view of restaurants, they used to pay $500 per month for flyers, which they weren’t able to know effectiveness such as ROI. However, restaurants which adopt food delivery apps are now able to see their ROI and pay fees according to their actual sales volume. Also, it launched ‘direct payment’ in order to provide customers with easy, one-click payment method in 2012. To provide more various payment methods, it cooperated with ‘OK Cashbag’, Korea’s largest integrated loyalty program. This program has more than 37 million members and customers use its points like cash.(1 point = 1 Korean Won) In 2014, Woowa Brothers also added ‘Culture voucher’ as an additional payment method, which is extensively used by children and students.

Value Capture

Its business model was to link restaurants with customers and it charged 13.4% fee of transaction amount to a restaurant. Another revenue stream comes from its direct payment. Followed by the introduction of direct payment, Woowa Brothers’ transaction fee revenue was increased by 7 times.

Its Operating Model

The operating model of Woowa Brothers was tightly focused on connecting restauranteurs, most of whom are small owner-operators, with customers and well-aligned with its business model. The company first started with developing a mobile application, Baedalui Minjok with several developers. Then, it began to hire salespeople to contact and build relationships with restaurants, build a PR and a marketing team to publicize and promote its service. As it grew, Woowa Brothers intensified its corporate strategy organization to cope with other two big competitors. The company has been building and growing its organization, improving and consolidating its operating model by aligning itself with its business model and aspiration.

To pull away itself from two biggest competitors, Baedal-tong and Yogiyo, Woowa Brothers started nation-wide TV commercials and ads in 2014. Even though the company was still relatively small and financially constrained, it aggressively got through its budget and spent on advertising. It hired a hotshot movie star and aired movie-like commercials. ( These commercials made big hits and helped Baedalui Minjok consolidate its market leadership.


It deliberately applies its kitsch look-and-feel design to its application, in order to resonate with its core target – single households.

In 2015, Brothers decided to abolish its charge for direct payment. Many people questioned its profitability and sustainability without revenue stream from transaction fees. However, after it abolished the fee, the number of new registered restaurants was increased by 13.4% within two weeks. Now the company is aiming to grow its user base, rather than revenue growth. Also, it has been consolidating its core business through vertical integration of related business by acquiring companies and launching new businesses. It acquired a delivery company, fresh food company, and meal ticket company with the fund from various investors including Goldman Sachs.

Obviously, it aims beyond food delivery service and is becoming an O2O platform that links off-line businesses with online businesses and customers.



Source 1. company homepage  <>

2. Money Times <>

3. ZDNet <>

4. Hankyung News <>

5. Consumer Times <>

6. News Tomato <>

7. Digital Times <>

8. YouTube


#digitalwinner #fooddelivery #o2o


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Student comments on Digital Winner in Food Delivery Industry

  1. Interesting article about a company outside the US! Its interesting that they cut out the fee for restaurants. I remember hearing that with two-sided markets, the supply side is always the harder one to build. It sounds like they grappled with that issue and found no choice but to offer it for free. Going forward, I wonder where they will capture value. Grubhub used a pay-for-placement model where restaurants paid to be ranked higher, but switched to a cost-per-transaction model after restaurants complained. Its likely they lured restaurants in with the freemium model, and then activated the transaction costs after restaurants saw value in the service.

    1. So they changed their business model from charging transaction fees to advertising model like ebay or zillow. Customers see the lists of restaurants based on their locations. Now restaurant owners pay about 50 USD per POI(point of interest) to be listed on that list. For example, you as a restaurant owner want to be listed on the application for customers around HBS area. Then, you want to buy certain POIs such as HBS, Harvard Square, Cambridge, and Central Square. Therefore, you pay $200($50*4). It’s very interesting that they did the opposite that Grubhub did.

  2. This is very interesting Seunghyun! I am a frequent customer for doordash and seamless!!
    Food delivery is a scale and labor intensive business, what’s their strategy in competing with the competitors on getting the market share as fast as they can before they run out of money
    I think convenient store in Korea are very resourceful, and attracts a lot lunch purchasers as well. And esp I assume most of the business should come from Greater Seoul, how sustainable this business model is?
    What do you think of other players who own delivery network already to enter this field, such as CJ KX etc?

    1. There food delivery companies employ different delivery networks from logistics companies like CJ. As you know, food delivery should be prompt and swift, and done, let’s say, within 30 mins by bike. On the other hand, logistics companies like CJ have national-wide delivery networks and are optimized for deliveries. You pointed out a very good point about convenient stores in Korea. Actually, there is a delivery service called ‘convenient store delivery’. You can send your package or pick up your package at the convenient store.

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