Ola, the homegrown company rivaling Uber in India, has closed its food and grocery ordering services less than one year after launching them.
Ola Cafe and Ola Store were Ola’s first non-transportation services but they were not nationwide, available in just a handful of tier-one cities. Both were always billed as pilot programs that could be killed off, and now confirmation has come today, one week after Mint reported that the services would be closed on account of costs and lower than expected interest from users.
“As we strengthen our focus on building mobility for a billion people, we are drawing these two experiments to a close and taking learnings from these to serve you better in the time to come,” Ola, which raised over $1.4 billion from investors to date, said in a blog post.
Uber, which is widely acknowledged to be trailing Ola in India, pioneered the idea of on-demand services within a transportation app. The company offers UberEats, which will soon be a standalone food ordering app, in the U.S. but so far Uber hasn’t offered similar options in India or other global markets.
Ola and Uber both launched motorbike taxi on-demand services in India this month. Those services could, over time, build out a fleet of bike drivers that could support on-demand services in India. In Indonesia, for example, Sequoia-backed Go-Jek operates a range of on-demand services thanks to a fleet of more than 200,000 drivers. But it remains to be seen if the margins and potential gains are worth a move, particularly when Uber and Ola continue to burn through money competing with each other.
For now, the on-demand experiment is over for Ola, but there are plenty of companies solely focused on the space — such as InnerChef and Yummist, Peppertap and Grofers.