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As an ambitious professional, Nikita has set clear goals in life to achieve. Her hectic schedule often demands tireless work for days continuously, leaving her with no option but to skip meals and binge on unhealthy food. Overtime, Nikita finds her health condition deteriorating as the after-effects of poor eating habits. Similar is the situation of many independent professionals and working couples who, in a rush to catch up with the fast moving city, lose out on the privilege of having home-cooked food.
In a bid to put an end to their already existing woes, Aman Gupta, a Computer Science graduate from BITS Pilani, and Prateek Soni, a Finance graduate from Symbiosis University, launched Foodport in August 2014 to deliver fresh chef-made meals right at professionals’ desks. Always willing to experiment in the food space, this Gurgaon-based duo and school friends love serving healthy food ubiquitous for working professionals.
Embarking on Entrepreneurial Wave
Narrating the story of how it all began, Gupta reminisces, “I used to complain to Soni about the awful food served in my office cafeteria. Soni, on the other hand, had access to a kitchen, where he could whip up healthy meals daily. The idea to replicate his experience struck our mind. We thought what better way than this to add value to young professionals like us, who are time-pressed but equally desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
Prior to venturing into the food space, Gupta worked as a Programmer with Citi for a very brief period. Passionate about intersecting technology and design, Gupta takes care of tech and marketing at Foodport. Apart from guiding critical analytics, he tracks all the orders and their delivery in real-time.
Whereas Soni, from the very beginning, has been a part of the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry handling a mix of sales operations and end-to-end catering at The Gourmet Factory till May 2014. Besides being a food enthusiast and a fitness freak, Soni has also assisted his father D.K. Soni, former Head Chef at TajSATS, in various assignments. At Foodport, he runs the entire Operations with a keen eye.
He recalls, “While interacting with various multinational clients at The Gourmet Factory, I felt the lack of services in the market providing scrumptious yet affordable daily food for office-goers. Hence, in line with my thinking, I decided to start my own venture – Foodport.” Without delay, Soni roped in his father as Founder-Advisor, who helps them curate menus, experiment with new offerings, and maintain food quality.
The perfect amalgamation of technology, a winning team and an asset-light business model has allowed Foodport to emanate into a full-stack food technology company offering habit-forming gourmet food, including various Indian and Global cuisines at affordable prices. The venture is backed by Gurgaon-based GHV Accelerator founded by serial entrepreneur and angel investor Vikram Upadhyaya.
Chef-driven Model vs. Aggregation Model
Operating out of a centralized and captive kitchen-model, Foodport serves lunch and dinner options starting from as low as Rs 80. The team believes that quality and consistency is better achieved in a Chef-driven model as compared to the Aggregation model. “After a couple of pilots, we found that subscription-based model had a lesser user adoption and need vis-a-vis the on-demand model. Further, food is one category that demands instant gratification that are far beyond discounts and subscriptions,” explains Gupta.
Currently servicing about 100 orders in Gurgaon, the team plans to ramp it up to 500 orders a day by November 2015. In an attempt to further personalize its offerings, the team uses predictive analytics to find out what meals go best on which days. “We focus more on customer retention by offering varied food menu that caters to a global palate. We are hell bent on consistently delivering high quality food. By next year, we are targeting to satiate taste buds of about 50,000 people,” concludes Gupta.
Average orders/day: 100-120
Average price/order: Rs 150-200
Repeat Orders: About 70-80% on daily basis
Revenue target: $45-50k per month in revenue by year-end
Mode of offering: Both web and mobile
No. of chefs: 3 full-time chefs
Team strength: Around 20 people employed in Operations & Supply-chain
Delivery time: Slot based system. Have plans to move to real time model soon
Expansion plans: Delhi-NCR followed by other metropolitan cities in India
Future funding plans: To raise $1 million to fuel expansion plans