KOCHI: Of the few joys life accords us, marking a special occasion with friends and family tops the list. But the thought of hosting a party and having to cook for a large gathering fills many of us with anxiety, especially when you want to stay away from the unhealthy and expensive option of ordering from restaurants. However, offering an alternative is Celebees, an app that allows people to choose from a range of home chefs to cater at their events. Launched in July by the city-based wife and husband duo, Faizal Khalid and Sunitha Faizal, Celebees is striving to make every celebration memorable.
The idea took shape two years ago when the couple identified a gap in homemade food catering services in the city. “My wife Sunitha and I were running an IT company at Inforpark. We had about 150 employees, the large team necessitated regular birthday parties and project success celebrations. The food for such occasions would be ordered from hotels which didn’t really prove to be a healthy option. That’s when my wife suggested that we launch a platform which would comprise a network of women home chefs catering to small and big events, house or office occasions,” says Faizal, CEO and founder of Celebees.
The app offers an array of popular party dishes including cakes, a range of savoury snacks like samosas, cutlets and naadan preparations like pazhampori, unnakaya, idiyappam and pathiri. What’s more! Celebees also has a sizable directory of chefs who are adept at preparing a lip-smacking biryani. “Anyone who is about to host a gathering can log on to our app and select items from our expansive menu. Once a dish is selected, the app will take the user to the directory listing all the home chefs who have been handpicked by our team.
The user can choose which chef to place the order with after going through the pricing and reviews,” informs Faizal. The startup has currently outsourced delivery logistics to a third party. “We have capped the minimum order at Rs 600 which is a very nominal amount even from the perspective of a small celebration and we don’t charge for delivery from either the chef or the customer,” Faizal adds.
The corpus of 480 chefs listed on the app were picked through a hunt held in July and the startup has been getting queries from home chefs across the city enthusiastic to make the cut. “We have a special jury that shortlists candidates after accessing the taste and quality of their food. Once shortlisted, the cooks have to go through a screen test and obtain a Fssai certification online, the company also gives accreditation to some chefs. The cost for each item is agreed upon mutually, although we recommend competitive pricing,” says Faizal.
Currently self-funded, the app which has so far registered 1,000 downloads, has catered to more than 200 orders since launch and is set to add another 60 chefs to its directory. “We are averaging a monthly revenue of around `4 lakhs,” adds the 42-year-old CEO. Celebees is planning to expand its operation to Kozhikode in January and further to Chennai and Bengaluru in the second quarter of 2020.