The August Fest in the city on Saturday and Sunday saw over 70 start-ups putting up stalls, with hundreds of visitors stopping and asking each of them about their products and services that ranged across sectors like transport, communication and more. But one sector that people were lining up to check out was the food start-ups section. Here are a couple from the fest that stood out:
How many times have you heard the phrase “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, yet you conveniently avoided it for that extra hour of sleep or an early meeting? Providing a solution for that are the guys behind The First Meal. Yuv Raj, Saswata De, Surya Subedi, Ravi Varma and Sathwik Ponangi were working on another start-up earlier, and as they would sleep late every day, their parents would be worried about them skipping meals. This led to the idea of The First Meal.
“Even if someone wants to order food in the morning, usually most of the restaurants are shut till 11,” says Saswata. “We are targeting the 8 lakh families that reside in the areas of Gachibowli, Hitec City, Madhapur, Kukatpally, etc. So many people miss their first meal of the day and we want to give them that healthy alternative,” he adds.
They started working and researching on the idea last December and even did a trial run on Valentine’s Day this year. “The idea was to ‘gift your loved one the first meal’. We got about 154 orders that day and also got a lot of feedback. We worked on that and had another trial run in April before finally launching in June,” says Saswata, with the team now whipping up over 500 North and South Indian breakfast meals per week.
Making it easy for their customers, all one needs to do is log in to the app and select their food preferences. They have tied up with restaurants and also have an operations manager at the restaurant who makes sure the food is as per the requirement of the customer as well as hygienic. Their spill-free packaging is also impressive, and the duo even plan on starting a brunch plan for the weekends, soon.
The city’s dabbawalas: Strategically placed right next to The First Meal's stall is the stall TinMen. While they too are a food delivery service, they focus on home-cooked food. The men behind the app, Mukesh Manda and Chaitanya Degela, tell us that they started because of the lack of good, well-cooked food for working professionals. “I have worked in six companies and the problem with all of them is that the cafeteria food is bad,” says Mukesh, “And if one wants to head out for lunch every day not only is it expensive but also takes more than an hour.” Mukesh and Chaitanya had earlier worked on a start-up together to deliver groceries online.
However, that didn’t take off too well. “But we learnt a lot from that failure,” says Chaitanya. From Punjabi to Andhra food, to even Rajasthani dishes, their speciality lies in the fact that they promote home chefs. “Initially, we had started off with restaurants, but then we changed to home chefs and our orders increased by over 70 times,” says Chaitanya.
TinMen has been operating for over 6 weeks now and are already serving 80 lunches per day. “We realised that office goers and bachelors mainly want home food and so that's what we are focusing on. This way, we are also giving these home chefs a great business with good profits,” says Mukesh, adding, “One of our home chefs is already doing 30 lunches per day and is earning around 14,000 per month.”
With over 50 options for each meal, when someone logs into their app, they can even check the home chef who has cooked their meal. They also offer homemade brownies, lassi and even an organic meal plan, for as they say, “everyone wants to have that diet plan. We have to keep in mind that the food has to be affordable so our price range is from Rs 50 to Rs 100 per meal,” says Chaitanya....