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  In the ever-evolving realm of on-demand delivery, African enterprises are swiftly etching out their space. Among these, Chowdeck, a Nigerian food delivery service established in 2021, has emerged as a trailblazer. It all began with Femi Aluko, the visionary behind Chowdeck, who, inspired by the swift food delivery systems in Dubai, resolved to introduce a similar concept in Nigeria upon his return. With his background as a former developer at Paystack, Femi Aluko enlisted the expertise of like-minded individuals such as Lanre, Olumide, and Tomilola to spearhead what has now burgeoned into one of Nigeria’s fastest-growing food delivery startups, if not Africa’s. But what propelled Chowdeck to such remarkable success in a fiercely competitive market? This narrative explores the pivotal strategies that Chowdeck deployed to conquer the distribution challenge, spotlighting strategic partnerships, technological innovation, and an intimate understanding of the African consumer.
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Building a Network through Strategic Partnerships

Chowdeck recognized that building a robust delivery network from scratch would be a time-consuming and resource-intensive endeavour. Therefore, they adopted a strategic partnership approach. One crucial alliance was with established brick-and-mortar grocery stores. By partnering with these stores, Chowdeck gained access to a pre-existing network of delivery personnel and streamlined their logistics. This not only expedited their launch but also allowed them to leverage the reputation and trust these stores had already built with customers. Another key partnership was with restaurants. Unlike some competitors who focused solely on big chains, Chowdeck actively partnered with both established and independent restaurants. This catered to a wider range of customer preferences and price points, making their platform more attractive. Additionally, these partnerships likely involved revenue-sharing models, incentivizing restaurants to actively promote Chowdeck’s services to their patrons.

Technological Innovation Tailored to the African Market

Chowdeck understood that a one-size-fits-all technology approach wouldn’t work in Africa. Limited internet access and a preference for cash-on-delivery payments necessitated a mobile app that functioned smoothly even with low bandwidth. Chowdeck’s app achieved this by focusing on core functionalities like order placement, tracking, and a lightweight interface. Furthermore, they prioritized integrating popular mobile money platforms like M-Pesa and Airtel Money, catering to the cash-dominant African market. Innovation wasn’t limited to the user experience. Chowdeck likely invested in robust backend logistics software to optimize delivery routes and manage fleet operations. This focus on efficiency ensured faster deliveries and a positive customer experience, which is crucial in a competitive market.
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Understanding the African Customer

Chowdeck’s success hinges on its deep understanding of the African consumer. Unlike developed markets where online food delivery has become ubiquitous, African users might be new to the concept. Chowdeck addressed this by offering multiple ordering options, including phone orders alongside the mobile app. This catered to customers who might not be comfortable with technology or have limited internet access. Furthermore, affordability is a key concern. Chowdeck likely implemented features like menu filtering by price range and highlighting special offers to ensure their platform catered to a budget-conscious clientele. Additionally, offering a variety of cuisines, including popular local options, ensured Chowdeck resonated with local tastes and preferences.

Beyond Deliveries: Building a Loyal Customer Base

Chowdeck didn’t stop at just facilitating deliveries. They understood the need to build a loyal customer base. Loyalty programs with reward points and discounts likely played a role in incentivizing repeat business. Additionally, focusing on customer service by ensuring timely deliveries, resolving issues promptly, and gathering feedback would have fostered positive customer experiences and brand loyalty.
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Chowdeck’s success in the African delivery market is a testament to its strategic approach. By forging strategic partnerships, prioritizing technological innovation tailored to the local context, and understanding the African customer, Chowdeck has established itself as a major player. As Africa’s digital landscape continues to evolve, Chowdeck is well-positioned to capitalize on the vast opportunities that lie ahead, not just in food delivery, but potentially expanding its services to cater to the broader on-demand delivery needs of the African continent.
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This article was first published on 25th April 2024


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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