In a conversation with Restaurant India, Vedant Kanoi shares his experience of starting Food Cloud, an online home-cooked food delivery website.
What was the inspiration to bring Food Cloud into being?
The idea was to cater to a large untapped market. It was difficult to get home-cooked meal for people. Restaurants are unhealthier, costlier and it can’t match with home cooked meal. Hence, we thought of coming up with a venture that can serve this need. In our portal, we serve authentic Goan food which is so difficult to find in the city. Our Goan chef Ms Desai stays out of Delhi but she cooks authentic Goan cuisine as she is a Goan herself. So, the idea is to offer our patrons a good food experience at a reasonable price.
What is the business model for food cloud?
The business model is very much uncomplicated. There are home chefs and caterers listed on our website. The client goes and orders from the listed chef on the website and we take certain percentage from the chef for whatever order they get on the website.
How does food cloud function?
We essentially are connecting customers to all these home chefs and caterers who are cooking very good authentic food from their home at a very reasonable price. So, it is basically making sure that the client and the chef gets well connected. When a client log in to the website, he’ll find many chefs listed on the site. He can search the chef either by cuisine or by location or can go directly to the page of a particular chef he has heard about and want to order his/her food.
The full menu, terms of delivery and payment options are all listed on the chefs profile. When you click the order online, the confirmation goes to the chef as well as to the client. When the chef confirms the order, the numbers have been exchanged between the chef and the clients.
How do you select your chefs? Do the chefs have a profit sharing or are they hired on salary basis?
We select chefs by personal recommendation and we take those chefs who cook good food and whose cooked food we have eaten at some place or the other. Word of mouth works best for us in getting the right chefs.
We work on profit sharing basis with the chefs and they are not hired on salary basis. They are independent entrepreneurs with their own rights and are working from their home or kitchen.
Do you face any kind of challenges while catering to the customer?
The major challenge is that we are trying to connect the unorganised people to the home-chefs. The chefs don’t have any prior experience of running such venture, so we need to help them in say putting up their profile on the website etc.
What are your criteria to choose the chefs?
As we all know food is a very variable topic, you may like something which I may not like. So, cooking good food at a good price and at the same time doing everything ethically correct is what I look in a chef.
How do you deliver food right at the doorstep prepared by the online chefs?
The delivery process is different in our service. It totally depends on a chef. They are the one who are responsible for the delivery and every chef has a different set up on how they are doing it.
Currently you are working in Delhi-NCR. What is your expansion plan?
We want to enter the other markets but before that we want to make sure that customers are really happy with our service. We are going to grow more in Delhi-NCR region before we plan to expand though we have a plan to begin with Tier-1 cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and then we will enter the other areas too.
Are you planning to set up a physical store of your own?
No, I don’t have any plan to start a physical store because we are more of agency people collecting more and more chefs and putting them on the same platform.
What all menus can we find on your website?
We have very wide variety of menus right from Kashmiri to Goan, Rajasthani, and South Indian. There are chefs who are doing thalis, like Chinese, vegetarian thali. There is international cuisine like Mediterranean and Australian too. We have desserts, bhujia and snacks people like to have on daily days.
Who all are your target customers?
We always say ‘we are a perfect website for the food lovers’. So anybody who loves food and wants home-cooked food at a reasonable price is the target audience.