The food delivery sector is a $2 Bn market growing at 30-40% annually. The opportunities in this segment are immense. With the aid of professional chefs and fast delivery options, there has been launch of a number of Fast Food Chains. However, there still remains a gap as there isn’t a professional, customer-driven service that would really excite people to buy food everyday from them. People are actually compromising on the quality of food at work as they don’t have access to homely food or decent enough canteen.
Understanding this gap, Aman Gupta along with Prateek Soni had launched Foodport sometime back.
Before starting FoodPort, Prateek was working in Delhi in the hospitality industry with his father while Aman was working in Pune with Citi Group. One day during lunch break, they were discussing what was there for lunch. While Aman had to fill his belly with a boring thali from the office canteen, Prateek had access to a lavish gourmet meal. This made the two realized that there is gap between people who’re looking for a healthy, nutritious meal and a service which provides just that. This was the genesis of their idea of a food-tech startup.
After discovering the problem area, Aman and Prateek co-founded FoodPort, a startup which aims to change the way ‘people eat at work’.
How It Works
FoodPort works on a simple principle of getting gourmet meals delivered at an ultra-fast speed to the customer. The website offers four time-slots (between 12 PM – 4 PM) for food delivery. Each order can be placed 45 minutes before the time-slot closes. Next, the food gets delivered in a pre-fixed time slot with state-of-the-art packaging. The company has ensured that customers can choose their desired time, when they want to get food delivered. The packaging is 100% recyclable and the trays inside are microwaveable.
The company’s kitchen is supervised under D.K. Soni, Ex-Head Chef at Taj SATS and founder advisor of FoodPort. Although, right now there is no option of customizing a meal, Aman said that if a customer has certain medical condition and he/she informs the team, FoodPort will take care of the details as required.
Currently, the company targets bachelors and working professionals. Prateek says “Our services include a fairly fast check-out process. There are 4-5 items available everyday. We’re conscious about keeping items offered to a limited number because we don’t want our users to go through a laundry list of sorts. The fast check-out process ensures that customers get their food on time.”
Monetization, Funding and Traction
FoodPort has raised a seed funding $100k from GHV Accelerator after it became part of the accelerator program. Vikram Upadhyaya, Chief Evangelist and Mentor had said that while other food startups are either food-focused or tech-focused, FoodPort has the perfect marriage of these two that makes the business model scalable and also gives the prospects of having a hockey-stick growth chart.
The funding will aid FoodPort in targeting a GMV of $45-50K per month, by October, 2015.
The company, currently, serves over 100 meals/day with plans to scale upto 500 meals/day by October, 2015. An average meal from FoodPort costs about INR 150-200, and is available in three different cuisines, Indian, Continental and Oriental.
Aman elaborates, “We have had a very shoestring budget for marketing. All the promotions we’ve achieved so far have been via word of mouth. It was particularly hard to get the word out in such a competitive market.”
Managing logistics also at times serve as a great challenge. Beating the traffic in Gurgaon and delivering the food on time is definitely a challenge. Delivering food with the right kind of temperature is a must for the company. There haven’t been too many innovations in this front as of now. Says Prateek, “We’re trying to eliminate these kinds of temperature variations. We spend our time perfecting the food delivery part of it.”
FoodPort plans to move to a real time delivery model, delivering it within 30 minutes. Currently, it is focused on office lunch only, Prateek and Aman are also planning to expand to other markets such as dinners and weekend meals.
Aman is certain that limiting the no. of items will help the team of 15 people optimize faster delivery.
Currently, FoodPort is based and operates out of Gurgaon. In the near future, they plan to expand to Delhi-NCR, Bangalore and Mumbai. Prateek said, “We are planning to expand to all of India and starting with a handful of cities is the way to go.” The company hopes to convert to an IPO in future.
In recent times, the food delivery sector has seen a host of startups launching and grabbing funds for expansion. Delhi-based Frsh, Foodeato, Gurgaon-based Yumist, Eatonomist are all internet first restaurants, and are targeting the user base same as of FoodPort. There are also SpiceBox, HolaChef, Bhukkadpanti, Nashta, NutriTown and Mr.Hot. The competition is tough. However, FoodPort wants to curve a niche out for itself by the kind of food they offer, i.e. gourmet and nutritious meals at affordable prices. “It is a matter of ‘habit forming’”, says Aman.