Food delivery Startups in India have a considerable share of the “Startup pie” that the country has to offer. Offline food delivery Startups have been present there for a long time, but it is the online version of the concept that has seen a big surge in the last 3-4 years. But it is not all roses for most of them and last year saw some well established online food delivery Startups facing the heat of the turbulent times that the Startup world has to offer.
Companies like Zomato, which ventured into food delivery segment after being successful as a restaurant search and discovery platform and Tiny Owl, a restaurant food delivery aggregator were at the receiving end of the market force last year. These companies fired a significant number of their employees last year and the top management passed on the blames to the sales department for not meeting the targets. This demonstrated the inherent weaknesses and challenges that the food delivery Startups are facing.
But this hasn’t stopped people from venturing into this ‘evergreen’ Startup Idea, as it is called by some experts. Hoping to grab his share of the pie and to provide quality home cooked food which not only ends your hunger but also gives you the option of connecting to your region, Saurabh Dhanuka(below) founded Online food delivery venture JabWeAte in 2015.
Jab We Ate was among top 40 startups of West Bengal, selected out of 1500 applications for India’s 1st reality show on business idea called “Egiye Bangla”. It was organized by Department of MSME in association with IIM Calcutta Innovation Park and Zee.
Saurabh has completed his executive MBA from IIM Calcutta and has worked for almost 9 years in product and digital marketing.
So to know how is JabWeAte different from other similar ventures and what he thinks about the entire online food delivery sector in India, we interviewed him.
Tell us something about your Startup journey. When did you first come up with the idea of JabWeAte?
I always wanted to start a venture of my own and was pondering over the idea for a while until I finally realized- it had to be something related to food. I have always been involved into jobs where traveling was a must. My visits to cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Gurgaon, made me realize that there is a lot of potential in food business.
The idea became more concrete during one of my trips to Mumbai. I was in Mumbai for a month and the first few days I spent trying out a lot of local Mumbai food. In 10 days though I started longing for some good Bengali food, and that is when it hit me. There must be so many people working in Kolkata longing for some authentic food from their region. That’s when I came with the idea of providing regional thalis, the basic concept “Jab We Ate” is built on. JabWeAte offers perfect meal solutions that cater to a cross section of individuals. We serve regional thalis, Italian meals, Chinese meals, Mexican delicacy, vast varieties of desserts and customized cakes.
India is gradually improving its rankings in ease of doing business but still there are institutional challenges. What were the initial challenges that you faced as an entrepreneur?
One of the biggest challenge for me was finding people to deliver the food. I was very particular about one thing i.e. Food has to be delivered fresh. Delivery plays a vital role in our type of venture. Initially, we had trouble finding delivery boys who knew the streets of Kolkata. There were times when my cousin and I delivered the food so that it made it to the customer at the right time. Now, I have tied up with a local logistic company which helps me deliver food on time.
The other challenge was managing variety orders at the same time. This is why we have brought about the system of having different chefs each with their own specialties. So if we get 10 orders for a Chinese combo and 10 for a simple thali, we can still manage the cooking and keep it all fresh.
Online Food delivery Startups are growing at an unprecedented rate. How do you differentiate yourself from your domain competitors?
What differentiates is the variety that we offer to our customers. We are typically not a company providing traditional food, but also, other form of food like Platters, Food baskets, Desserts and cakes, etc. I was very sure about the fact that we need to deliver anything and everything that a person can go and eat in any restaurant.
Very soon we will be starting with delivery of ice-creams which would be definitely a turning point for us. Moreover, we have also started Mid-night delivery i.e. Cooking and delivering food post 12 AM. This would mainly cater to working class in IT and BPO companies who miss their home cooked food at mid-night.
Also we have started a concept called, “Be Your Own Chef” initiative to bring on board talented home chefs. We already have 15 home chefs registered with us and wish to extend this to at least 50 by end of 2016.
So how has your journey been so far.
The journey till now has been fantastic with lots of ups and downs. I believe that whatever you do should make you feel happy. Everyday you should have a motive to wake up in the morning. You should always strive for giving that extra push every day
One thing I would like to mention is that apart from practicing the “no food wastage” policy at Jab We Ate, I also run an NGO for underprivileged kids. It is a volunteer based service called “RIDHI” that currently operates in Kolkata, Bangalore and Delhi . At RIDHI, we collect food from restaurants and food outlets and we distribute the same to underprivileged kids. Not only this, whatever we earn via Jab We Ate, we spend 10% of it for RIDHI.
Saurabh doesn’t want JabWeAte go app only. He thinks that catering to every type of audience is the key to success. He believes that there are people who still feel calling and ordering for food is the most effective and efficient way.
This Mumbai based Startup wish to redefine the landscape of Street Food in India
Who doesn’t like the lip-smacking taste offered by the myriad of street food in Indian towns and cities?. Different culture, costume, and cuisine of India is best represented in her streets . Yet, street food sector in India is plagued by various factors viz. hygiene, cleanliness and of course the competition posed by various online food startups.
Founded by Harsh Shah, Ek Plate is a Mumbai based Startup which aims at changing the dynamics of the Indian Street food sector by making it more organized and yes, making Street food available online.
“When we place an order at a Street food vendor’s stall, invariably, every order is preceded by “Ek Plate” meaning One plate. Hence the name of our Startup- Ek Plate. Our endeavor at “Ek Plate” is to amalgamate the latest advancements in technology with the perpetual craving for Street Food to recreate the best street food experience for foodies no matter which city you are in and no matter how old you are.” said Harsh to Times of Startups.
According to Harsh, Ek Plate is the only app that gives its users an option to make the app a “Veg Only” app. Once selected, the users will not be shown any Non-Vegetarian food item.
So what basically is ‘Street food’ for Ek Plate?
For Ek Plate, any food that is partially or fully prepared on the street or in a small shop facing a street is what they define as Street Food.
Also, food that is served really quick, is freshly cooked and can be eaten on the go.
According to Harsh, everyone reviews and promotes restaurants but there is no such mechanism for Street food. If someone wants to experience the true flavor of any place it’s the Street Food one should try. Street Food vendors are the true heroes who are working hard to retain the unique flavors and authentic traditions of their place.
“Globally with over 2.5 billion people consuming Street Food everyday, the street food sector has come a long way. With the influx of global influences and convergence of cultures, many authentic cultures and traditions are swept away in the avalanche of globalization. We at “Ek Plate” want to help people locate the Street Food jewels who have yet retained their authentic flavors and traditions so they are motivated and empowered to continue doing what they do best. Serve great Street Food.” he added
Ek Plate’s platform showcases the Street Food Vendors and their product information online. Customers get the option to locate them, rate them on taste & hygiene and further promote them by providing great reviews.
“Ek Plate” wishes to be recognized as the connoisseur of “Street Food”. Initially they wish to Offer their Street Food locator through the mobile app locally (first in Mumbai then across India) . They also want to aggregate the biggest possible repository of street food information and contacts and connect the street food patrons to their favorite “Ek Plates”
In the coming years, their endeavor will be to grow “Ek Plate” into a global brand and first port-of-call for street food lovers.
In the near future, Ek Plate is planning to set up their first- Ek Plate Cleanliness Training Drive – where they will train a group of Ek Plate street food vendors about food safety and cleanliness.
Currently, Ek Plate is Live On both Android and IOS.
Have you tried Ek Plate? Please send us your experience at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now awesome meal kits are just one click away
Do you love home cooked food but hate the preparation part of it? Do you abhor going to market to purchase the various ingredients that go into making your food awesome?
Well, if you are from Chennai, here is some good news for you.
AwesomeChef.in , a Chennai based Startup is the City’s first ready-to-cook meal kit provider. Founded by Praveen Kumar and his wife Anjali Anand, AwesomeChef wish to help home chefs and first-time chefs save time and forego the hassles of shopping and reduce wastage by providing fresh, pre-measured ingredients for the recipes featured on their website.
All one has to do is order the dish from the menu available on the site and Awesomechef takes care of the ingredient shopping, packing and delivering to the customer’s door-step. This also enables customers to get to know what goes in each dish and nothing remains a secret.Their kits serve a minimum of 2 people.
“In the past, we faced many instances where eating out became a big problem. Event though we loved restaurant style food but at the same time wanted to spend more time with the family at our home. This is where the seeds of Awesome Chef were sowed. The idea where everyone could cook restaurant style food at home, at their own pace, without the hassles of shopping and reduced amount of wastage.” said Praveen to Times of Startups.
The couple did a bit of market research before implementing the actual idea. Currently, they have an inventory for dry ingredients and they procure fresh vegetables every day.
“Pride in being a home chef has increased over the past few years, thanks to amazing programs like MasterChef or shows featuring famous chefs like Chef Venkatesh Bhat or Chef Damu. The “Art of Cooking” these days, has surpassed the gender divide and we see amazing chefs in husbands, dads and kids.” he added.
According to Praveen, there were many challenges they had to overcome in their entrepreneurial journey. Right from validating the idea, to sourcing, packaging and building the brand everything was new for the husband-wife duo.
However, he also believes that awesomechef has the benefit of being the first to launch the concept in the city. Also, the menu on the website covers a wide range of cuisine with new ones being added each week.
Though the couple has not demonstrated their concept to investors yet, they have received positive feedback from various stakeholders.
Meet the founders of Moshik’s, India’s first homemade chocolate brand which is Trademark Registered and ISO 9001:2008 Certified
Meet the founders of Moshik’s,India’s first homemade chocolate brand which is Trademark Registered and ISO 9001:2008 Certified
The chocolate market in India is silently booming with time. Statistically speaking, per capita consumption in India has risen from 0.05 kg in 2005 to 0.14 kg in 2016. But these numbers may not justify the surge in demand for chocolates in the last 2-3 years. Demand for both branded and homemade chocolates is on the rise and understanding this trend entrepreneurs in India are trying to use every bit of the opportunity.
Trying to establish its name as a touchstone of home-made chocolates is a young but successful company from Bhopal. Moshik’s, the brainchild of Mohit Kumar Jain and Shikha Jain was founded during the Christmas/new year period of 2013-14 . After few initial challenges, there is no looking back for the couple.
Being from a simple middle-class family and having no business degree business knowledge,it was a challenge for us to establish ourselves in the market. Our first few orders came in new year and then for the next order we had to wait for 4-5 months.” said Mohit to TOS.
Mohit believes that an Entrepreneur’s journey is like a double edged sword.If you succeed people will say that they knew you were born to succeed.If you fail, people will say that they warned you from the beginning that this idea will be a big failure.You have to have a razor sharp eye on your goal and keep moving.Just follow your heart and keep on moving.
Mohit recalls his early days and says that initially, neither his friends nor his relatives supported his idea and they said that leaving a high paid white collar IT job to start this venture will take him nowhere.
According to Mohit, things turned for better when they partnered with one of India’s E-Commerce giant Snapdeal.
“Once we started the journey with Snapdeal,there was no looking back.At present, we have more than 52+ E-commerce sites/Mobile Apps where our products are listed.Our Brand MoShik’s is the first Homemade Chocolate Brand in India having both Trademark Registration and ISO 9001:2008 Certification at present” he said.
Moshik’s is currently expanding organically and the duo has not approached investors for funding yet.
Some experts believe that the best home made chocolates can be procured in Ooty, Tamil Nadu, while others believe that Kerala is gradually becoming a hot destination for homemade chocolates and cakes.
At present, there are more than a dozen factories in Kerala that manufacture several variants and flavors of this delectable dark brown confection. Also, ‘home made chocolates’ is one of the top Small Business Ideas that early to middle stage entrepreneurs are exploiting in Karnataka and Kerala. But the success of Mohit and Shikha’s company ‘Moshik’s’ tells us that the trend is changing and entrepreneurs from other parts of the country are also trying to get their share of India’s chocolate market which is worth about Rs 7000 Cr and expected to double in the next 7 to 8 years.
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