Amit Tiwari still remembers that meal. There was melt-in-your-mouth rajma, delectable mixed vegetable with just the right amount of tomato tang, served with steaming-hot rice and soft rotis. “We knew we had found our first chef,” he says, remembering the very early days of Food Circle, an enterprise Tiwari has co-founded with his two friends, Padam Agrawal and Alok Singh. Food Circle provides home cooked food in Noida, on a mobile app.
Apart from the food, it’s the ease of ordering the meal that has made Food Circle popular. The app displays the daily menu, with four slots to order from – from 7-8 pm, 8-9 pm, 9-10 pm, until 10-11 pm. Once you place your order and your slot preference, your food is collected from the chef to the distribution hub, from where it is sent to respective addresses – all within 30-40 minutes. Although it is a cash-on-delivery service at present, there are plans to start an online payment solution soon.
While this gives tired yuppie couples (young, urban professionals), bachelors and working professionals a chance to dig into delicious homemade food, it has given several housewives a chance to showcase their culinary skills – and make some money while at it. Take 32-year-old Reha Jalan, for instance, who can’t stop smiling at how popular her dishes like litti-chokha and kesari halwa have become. “I love this work. Not only does it bring me extra money, it also gives me an opportunity to showcase my culinary skills,” she says.
“The air at Sunstone was thick with discussions around angel investing, series A, mobile apps and the like. We found mentors in our faculty, and got to interact with people who had walked the talk,” says Tiwari. And when Rajul Garg, Director, Sunstone Business School, announced Sunstone Capital Fund, the trio knew their time had come.
Food Circle Mobile App
What followed was many, many man-hours of discussions, debates, ideation with repeat cycle, before the team finally came up with the idea of Food Circle. The three today clock hundreds of dinners a day, and have many chefs cooking for them. Finding chefs was the toughest task, the three agree, and they did everything from advertise for it, to attend Tupperware meetings.
With good branding and even better word-of-mouth, the supply side has finally caught with demand for dinner. A deal breaker – no compromise on quality and timely delivery. If that means Tiwari has to learn a few dishes and all three have to pitch in when it comes to delivery, so be it.
Having served their notice period at respective companies, the three plan to offer lunch and snacks, too, and plan to cater to offices as well. Stay hungry, we say!