- Describe your job: What do you do? Which level do you occupy within the business? How did you end up at your company? Tell us about your journey to where you are today?
I am a registered Chartered Accountant and completed my degree at the University of Cape Town. I served my articles at Deloitte, after which I spent some time at Mars Inc, South Africa. I joined Uber Eats just after it launched in October 2016 and currently hold the position as General Manager for Uber Eats in South Africa. In this role, I focus on managing the strategic presence and success of Uber Eats in SA. I build on brand resonance and help develop the app to meet the ever-changing needs of the many who use it in South Africa.
Growing up in Durban, and studying in Cape Town, I have always had a passion for food and as an accountant, and with a nerd-ish affinity for numbers, I have always enjoyed problem-solving – Particularly solving problems that have a high impact on the communities in which I surround myself. With this passion, coupled with an obsession for food, Uber Eats was a natural landing.
That’s one of the many reasons why I decided to join Uber Eats, where I have the privilege of working on incredibly complex logistical problems. Whether that’s ensuring meals arrive hot and fresh in an average of 30 minutes no matter where you are in the city, right the way through to the more recent challenges we’ve faced in ensuring people can still access food during the power outages.
- What are soft and hard skills you require to be effective in your role?
One of the most pertinent skills required for my role is to take a step back from the business and use key data insights to understand what is happening in the marketplace, and where the opportunities for growth lie. More than this, however, is the skill of working with people and unlocking their potential. The Uber Eats business is complex and I spend most of my time ensuring that we have a strong team to unlock it’s potential which is fundamental to the growth of the business.
- Tell us what constitutes a typical working day for you?
Two days are never the same at Uber Eats. My days range from working with the team to solve tactical problems, to meeting with partners to understand what opportunities we can mutually unlock for growth. Specifically, my day usually starts very early in the morning to catch up with emails (being part of a global organisation makes the challenge of inbox zero particularly tough), availing myself to the team to help with any problems they are facing, and thinking through the execution of our key priorities. I’m on the road often, but make time in my calendar to be present for key meetings where there are opportunities to connect.
- What are the best parts of your job?
I am a problem solver by nature, and I love that the Uber Eats business is so dynamic, with unlimited opportunity for us to define the space and industry in which we operate. This means that every day I get to work with incredibly passionate and smart people to make a real difference – Being it providing back time to a family who can now use Uber Eats as a dinner option, helping someone manage their work-life balance a little better because they don’t need to bother with making lunch, or the thousands of earning opportunities we provide to delivery-partners in a country where our unemployment rates require each of us to be purposeful in creating opportunities.
- What are the least favourite parts of the job?
One of the most challenging aspects of my job is ensuring we’re meeting the needs of all customers who use the Uber Eats app. For users, this means ensuring we have the right selection of restaurants to suit all meal occasions, with a quick and importantly reliable delivery service. For our restaurant partners, my team has to ensure they have all the support they need to offer delivery via the Uber Eats app, which can be challenging for restaurants who’ve never offered delivery before. Likewise for our bigger restaurant customers, ensuring Uber Eats seamlessly integrates with their existing operational systems is critical to a successful and long term partnership.
Finally, for delivery-partners, we have to ensure we are meeting their needs for flexible work and ensuring they have peace of mind while they on the road, which is why we have introduced Injury Protection should anything go wrong, including an emergency button for delivery partners. These are all tremendously challenging problems to solve, but it’s one of the many reasons I thrive on coming to work every day.
- How do you define and measure success? What KPIs do you use to do so?
We’re very clear at Uber about setting both our short term and long term plans. Everything we do is measured against this – This helps us set a clear Northstar that we strive towards, and enables us to ensure we’re focused on the right things.
- What are your favourite technologies and platforms that you use to make yourself more productive and get more done?
Much like Uber and Uber Eats has become a platform for convenience, I use apps that fit my lifestyle. LinkedIn, being a primary as it connects me to industry leaders, exposing me to new opportunities to further grow the Uber Eats portfolio in SA, while also learning along the way.
I use Uber Eats quite regularly, not just because I work for the brand but because of the convenience it brings. I am in and out of meetings daily, so I know that Eats has my lunch sorted, no matter my particular craving for that day.
I also love my Kindle and Apple Watch, which again brings me convenience, allowing me to unwind and keep track of my body and mind, while still being on the move.
Any platform that allows for data collection and analysis is also a must. Data and AI have had a seismic effect on everything we do today. At Uber, data science and machine learning are built into our DNA, whether that’s helping millions of people around the world push a button and have a ride turn up in a few minutes, or transforming the way people eat and restaurants do business.
- What can you tell us about your future plans for the business?
Since Eats launched two and half years ago in South Africa, food delivery has grown from a weekend indulgence to a favourite lifehack that saves us all time — be it at the office, for a special occasion or to feed our families.
We all want a simple way to find a great selection of affordable and healthy options which is why we recently introduced a redesign of the Eats delivery experience, inspired by Eaters feedback and have just partnered with Discovery Vitality to offer South Africans access to affordable and healthy meals at the press of a button.It offers members up to 25% cash back on healthier meal options when ordering takeaway food via the Uber Eats app, and 50% cashback on Vitality kids’ healthy meals.
Looking ahead we will continue to invest in partnering with restaurants to offer our users food to suit their lifestyle, whether that’s a post-workout smoothie or salad for lunch at work.
We’re optimistic about the future and, thanks to our strong product and brand, as well as the momentum we’re seeing in cities across SA, we’re confident Uber Eats will continue to grow at a rapid pace and we look forward to expanding our business even further in 2019.