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I am Saurabh Kochhar, CEO of Foodpanda India, and This is How I Work
How I Work

I am Saurabh Kochhar, CEO of Foodpanda India, and This is How I Work

All of us need a coping mechanism to deal with rough days at work and for me, it is food - delicious comfort food, loaded with calories. According to a recent study, comfort food helps in easing out work-related woes, acts as a stress reliever and improves mood. Ideally, the sooner the food reaches you on a bad day, the better. And that's where food apps come to the rescue. Recently, Foodpanda, revamped its app to help customers place an order and checkout within 30 seconds only. In an exclusive interview, Saurabh Kochhar, CEO, Foodpanda India, tells Ishita Blaggan all about his journey and how he works.

Location : Gurugram
Current Gig : CEO, Foodpanda India
One word that best describes how you work : Coffee
Current mobile device : iPhone7 and Samsung S8
Current computer : Macbook and Macbook Pro

Tell us about your journey and how did you get where you have?

Born and brought up in Delhi, I did my Bachelor's degree in Technology from IIT-Roorkee and then completed my MBA from IIM-Calcutta. My 4 years with big corporates like McKinsey & Co and Oracle India, helped me garner sound professional grounding and business acumen which equipped me to finally embark on my own entrepreneurial journey. I co-founded after which I co-founded Foodpanda India, which has been a major milestone professionally.

Since then it's been an incredible journey for me seeing the brand become a strong player in the food tech industry and moving towards changing the way India orders food. We have turned operationally profitable, revamped the India app recently, achieved a near 100 percent automation and reinvigorated the brand basis what our users want. Moreover, IRCTC's tie-up with Foodpanda has made lives of people travelling in long-distance trains simpler as they can order and get food from their preferred restaurants delivered at the next station. The journey ahead looks as interesting, with a strong focus on technology, delivery ecosystem and the quality of the food delivered to customers.

We have recently revamped the Foodpanda app, enabling customers to place an order and checkout within 30 seconds. We have also partnered with volunteer based organisation Robinhood Army, to provide surplus food from restaurants to the needy.

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?

From work perspective, I use OneNote a lot. That's how I keep a track of everything and of course Calendar is the backbone of each day for meetings and appointments.

What's your workspace setup like?

I like open spaces. The office is mostly based on the same concept and when it comes to my cubicle, I like it to be minimal and clean.

What are some of your best life hacks to save time and boost productivity?

My jugaads start the moment I wake up. I use the electric brush to save time and energy. I am a very lazy person and I believe lazy people are the right people to invent anything because they are the only ones who understand its value.

At work, hiring the right people and delegating work properly are two jugaads that save my day. Having the right team to be able to manage work is the best way to multiply your business.

I travel with a lot of gadgets and devices and at airports, I hate taking my gadgets out of the bag for security check. So, I use a T-pass expandable bag, which scans the laptop without the trouble of taking it out of the case.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Finding the right people. It depends on what role you are hiring for. If you are hiring a top executive, it is very important to have a match in terms of your wavelength. I spend most part of the day with colleagues, so it is essential that we connect and understand each other. I mostly look for self-driven people with the right skill-set.

What keeps you motivated?

I am driven by our approach in ensuring that we are creating a difference by providing a platform which can really make a change in the way, we, as a country, order food.

I keep myself motivated by setting short term goals. When you break your vision into short term goals, you stay motivated every single day. And after achieving one goal, we set on to chase the goal, which gets us closer to our long-term vision.

What's your fitness and sleep routine like?

I am a fairly new entrant in that domain. I work out 4-6 days a week, depending upon my travel, which is divided into 2 days of Yoga and 4 days of cross-training.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Elon Musk: A Biography and it is very inspiring.

How do you beat procrastination?

I tell my wife that I married her because she makes great to-do lists. You can find motivation anywhere around you - in wife, assistant or Siri. But at the end of the day, you have to do it yourself.

Tell us about your leadership approach

Embracing an open leadership style works for me - Find the right people, give them right motivation and set right targets for them to achieve. If you have done your hiring right and aligned goals well, your job is half done. I do not like micromanaging. I opt for a hands-off approach, with enough headroom, time and motivation for the team to do things their own way. However, whenever needed, I roll my sleeves and dive deep wherever the team stumbles.

How competitive are you?

I always treat competition with respect. Give respect and due credit to competition but that shouldn't stop you from competing aggressively. Good luck to all!

What is the best advice you have ever received?

God plays the best mother-on-law in tricky situations, and therefore, you should always ensure that your plan is foolproof.

The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Ishita.

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