Since the pandemic, “homechef” is one word which has garnered as much discussion as vaccination & quarantine, if not more. And why not! As we put it, “Happiness is made in home kitchens''.
This growth has been led by multiple intertwined factors. First, on the demand side it’s important to begin with the basic difference between restaurants and home dining. Every meal has a story behind it and as they say “recipe has no soul; you as a cook bring soul to the recipe”.
Home-chefs put in a lot of time and effort to dish out something interesting every time they put a menu out there, they are experimental and fearless. From pulled pork rasam puri to beetroot laddu to avocado tart, from fusion to traditional - Home Chefs have been cooking it all! But how often does a chef at a popular restaurant get to be experimental? How often do the menus change?
And on the supply side, there is an audience who has been constantly seeking something new - something that's authentic, brings excitement to everyday lives & mundane routines and is possibly even personalised to taste & preferences. This customer is well read & travelled, pre-covid went out every weekend to meet friends & dine. Due to the restrictions they missed out on all of this - missed the food back home, the experiences at the vacations & more! So the need for something new was fuelled many notches up.
Now marry these two above and we've got the perfect demand and supply model for organised peer to peer sharing! People were exchanging food & conversations with their neighbours next door over whatsapp & telegram groups even before the pandemic. Now they just do it more often! Food sharing is here already.
Second, when the food arrives from the homechefs, it always has a personal touch - a hand written note, sometimes even specially curated packaging. One of our home chefs insisted that all our Onam meals should go with Banana leaves, traditionally used jasmine flower garlands and with hand written notes about how each item on the sadya should be served - so what if we can't Sadya Together, We can still serve the full traditional sadya at home. Now that would definitely warm up hearts! Psychologically speaking it means a lot - just the kind of joy we are all looking forward to, isn’t it? Staying isolated for 8-9 months at a stretch hasn’t been easy.
Third, it’s not just “Ghar ka Khana” it’s “Ghar pe bana khana” and that changes a lot of things in consumers mindsets. Growing up we’ve always known kitchens as that part of home where it’s all about love, freshness & utmost care. Haven’t we all? So in the times of doubt we all looked up to the Home kitchens!
Fourth, for a lot of homechefs, they are selling their doing this out of passion, but for many others it’s a source of income. And when as a customer you know you’ve made a difference in their lives by ordering in, the satisfaction of it, can’t be measured in words. When we brought Saroj Didi’s kitchen at Conosh, we sold out over 100 meals within minutes!
Last but not the least, since we have all been home and spending a lot of time on social media specially Instagram, this facilitated in the organic discovery & word of mouth marketing for these homchefs!
To summarise, with the home chefs the menu options are plenty, it’s not just food but an experience is delivered to the doorstep. Vaccine or not this trend is here to stay and would coexist with restaurant dining and ordering and support each. “Why wouldn’t I order freshly made litti from my next door neighbor? I love how she doesn’t add chilli to the chokha specially for me”, says one of our customers. And at Conosh, we think the future for F&B will be a lot about collaborations & finding synergies. Example a couple of months back we signed up with one of the popular rest0-bars in Bangalore on a 6 month partnership and curated weekend menus with Homechef. While homechef get an opportunity to work in a bigger/commercial kitchen and share their love for food over a larger platform, restaurants get freshness on their menus - existing for both existing and new customers!