With a growing number of companies and start-ups entering the online food-ordering business, a few techies in Ahmedabad are looking at niche markets that offer opportunities for a start-up to grow. From salads to custom-made cakes, these entrepreneurs have come up with some unusual ideas.
Love for Salad, an online salad bar, started by Vidhya Rana and Ashish Vyas, offers people an option to get healthy food delivered to their doorsteps. Rana and Vyas realised the need for a salad delivery service when they had to eat unhealthy food as they spent long hours in office.
“We then developed www.loveforsalad.com where people could choose from options like pasta salad, green salad and sprout salad, and place their order online specifying the time and place of delivery,” says 24-year-old Rana. The duo picked up recipes from people they knew and other sources, and then added their own signature touches. “For example, the salad is delivered in edible taco bowls that comes with a home-made chutney. Each salad box contains a sandwich or healthy snack, and also a juice or other healthy beverage,” says Rana.
Started in 2013 from an apartment, the business got good response, but they soon felt the need for a physical presence. “The cooks also wanted a commercial kitchen. We then bought a place near Corporate Road at Prahladnagar in Ahmedabad and made a lounge for people to sit and enjoy their meal. This was a convenient location from where delivery to corporate offices was convenient,” says Rana.
After tasting success in Ahmedabad, Vyas and Rana are now looking forward to expanding to other cities. “While working in Bengaluru, I realised that tech hub cities like Pune and Bengaluru offer much potential for such services,” says 32-year-old Vyas.
Age is no bar when you want to start a business. This is proved right by engineering students Ashish Pirojiya and Yash Thakker, both 20-year-olds who, after realising the potential for a food delivery business while facing challenges of getting healthy and hygienic food, started www.foodella.com. “Ashish and I are from Surat and Gandhidham respectively. While studying in Ahmedabad, we and other students often had problems with the lunches served by tiffin providers, paying guest facilities or canteens,” says Thakker.
Seeing this huge unorganised sector of meals and tiffin providers, they created an application called Foodella and also launched a website www.foodella.in. They hired cooks and rented a kitchen space. Customers can select from three plans each consisting 24 different combinations and then place the order. “There are prices for a single meal or a subscription for 25 meals. We have received many orders from corporate offices and individuals,” says Thakker.
A lot goes into making a cake, but what is more difficult is to select a perfect cake for any occasion. This is when www.cakehunt.com comes to the rescue. Started by Ashish Parik, Jatin H Shah and Pavan Balani, this online platform enables a customer to view the products of various bakery chefs and cake shops. “They can then select from the wide variety of products from the website and place the order specifying any special requirements like message or time of delivery,” says Parik.
The idea to start such a venture came to Parik when he was working in a bank. “My colleagues and I felt there was a need for e-commerce platform that would offer hassle-free services to people. We concentrated on online cake delivery service when we found out that many cake shops do not offer home delivery. We then offered to undertake delivery of orders for them,” says Parik. They tied-up with a few cake shops who were happy to outsource their services. “While executing orders, we began to realise that customers were looking for more facilities from bakers than what was being offered. Thus we started our journey with www.cakehunt.com,” says he.
The trio is now planning to diversify their product range. “We now want to start offering more products like bread, cookies and confectionery,” says Parik. For example, if a family wants whole wheat bread for morning breakfast, they can order it in the website. “Since specialty bakeries do not open early in the city, getting whole wheat bread for breakfast can be a problem. If they order online on our website, we will deliver their requirements at the stipulated time,” says Parik.