Digital food community Food Talk India turns cravings into unique experience
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Food tech start-ups have become the latest buzzword in the start-up world. There was a time when start-ups like Zomato or Foodpanda used to dominate the food discovery and delivery space. But now, if you remain away from the Internet even for a couple of days, then you would probably miss the hold on the emerging food tech start-up trend in India. That is how the food tech space has been this year. The market size of food in India is expected to reach Rs 42 lakh crore by 2020.
Food tech start-ups not only provide you with online home delivery option, it also enables you to find aggregating restaurants or allows you to avail discount while visiting restaurants. Food Talk India is one such start-up, which is slightly different from other food tech start-ups, as it is the largest crowd-sourced food community across all social media platforms.
Founded by Shuchir Suri and Anjali Batra in 2013, Food Talk India was started as an exclusive invite-only social food forum on Facebook, where members come together to read and share genuine food experiences via real time recommendations.
“I was taking a girl out on a date. I had returned from Europe from a holiday, where I met a number of young epicureans. I have always been crazy about food, but was clueless about the type of caviar to order. Before heading out, I started a secret group (since I never wanted my friends to know I am taking this girl out) Food Talk India on Facebook to seek help. The few friends I added helped me decode the types of caviar on offer. Thrilled with the response, I added all my friends to the group and that was the beginning of Food Talk India in January 2013,” said Shuchir Suri, Founder, Food Talk India.
During his journey, her Co-founder Anjali Batra joined the team who played a key role in brand building. As both of them were obsessed with technology, they always knew that a mobile app had to be made. After extensive research on this community, Food Talk Plus was born, which is now ready for launch.
The company has captivated a highly engaged online audience of 400k followers across all social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Viber along with on ground engagement through curated food experiences.
How it works?
Being a digital food community, the company curates a series of innovative food events at exclusive venues or restaurants across the country to bring people together to celebrate and interact over different culinary experience. Each event is hand-crafted and customised with a special theme, an innovative concept and an elaborate menu. As of now, events and social media act as a revenue source for the start-up.
“We have an audience that is engaged, an audience that is looking to experiment and do things differently and that is where we come in - by creating innovative and interactive digital and on ground Marketing Strategies to help brands and businesses reach out to consumers. Through smart marketing, we provide strategy and generate consumer interaction to build brand awareness," said Anjali Batra, Co-founder and COO, Food Talk India.
What makes it unique?
Headquartered in Gurgaon, Food Talk India is a hyper local application to discover dishes and restaurants around themselves. Unlike other food tech start-ups, the venture, being a social media platform, allow foodies to share their food adventures with fellow food-talkers. Its picture based system, where you can see and get reviews about the dishes or restaurants.
“There are plenty of companies and start-ups that provide you with information about a particular restaurant and their menus. But there is no solution that tells you which restaurant to visit if you have a particular craving. Users can use our mobile app to satisfy their cravings or discover trending restaurants around them,” opined Suri.
With over 50,000 members and a huge presence across social media platforms, the company has recently raised a seed investment commitment of half a million dollars from a private investor. With is round of funding, the company plans to launch its mobile application as part of its expansion.
Commenting on the investment Suri said, “We have bootstrapped and worked on creating this product for the last year after extensively studying our audience and demographic. This investment will help us launch the Food Talk Plus mobile application in a big way by strengthening our core with an in-house tech team and creation of a comprehensive marketing plan."
Growth and Expansion Plans
Apart from launch of their mobile app, they want to take the Food Talk Experience (app and events) into more cities in the country. “We plan to expand into a fully digital and tech driven company, providing information solutions, analytics and process automation. We are always willing to go any length in tech or any other domain for that matter, as long as it's about food besides scaling up our event experiences to more cities and larger formants,” informed Suri. To spearhead their strategies in this space, Himanshu Vaishnav, who was earlier associated with Airocorp – an artificial intelligence company, has joined Food Talk India team as their Chief Technology Officer.
With a team of 12 members, Food Talk India has recently signed a deal with Star World and Star World HD as their exclusive digital partner for Master Chef Australia Season 7 series in India. They will also be co-curating Master Chef’s promotional event with Star World in key cities. Apart from this, the company is also working with one of India’s largest production and entertainment companies to curate a one of its kind food and lifestyle festival in New Delhi in December 2015.