It was in September 2017, when his mother was undergoing medical treatment that Sarthak Gahlaut first had the idea for what would become Feastly.
“She had to go to New York and they asked for a huge amount of money upfront, and we were in quite a bind. I started working at a community service centre, cooking and selling food, literally handing out rotis with one hand and taking money with the other. That’s how I stumbled on to the world of corporate catering and started Feastly with a t eam of f ive people.”
“For the vast majority of workplaces in India, catering for the employees is done by local contractors, who are somewhere between pandalwallahs and caterers, who are used to cooking in bulk and concentrating on quantity, not quality,” says Gahlaut.
There is little standardisation in the industry, and while basic hygiene is usually (mostly) followed, especially in the times of COVID-19, no one’s really going to win any prizes for. With Feastly, Gahlaut, 31, hopes to evoke a paradigm shift; operating out what is perhaps the largest modular commercial kitchen in Delhi- NCR, which sprawls over 18,000 sqft, Gahlaut oversees a team of close to 300 that cater to MNC offices in five states: Delhi-NCR , Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
“We can presently dish out 25,000 meals per shift per day from this central kitchen itself, not counting regional centers,” he notes. Gahlaut says “India’s foodservice industry is growing and will be worth around 6 billion US Dollars by 2025, so there’s plenty of room for expansion. However, the sector comprises 86 per cent unorganised players that cater without adequate food safety standards. We want to streamline this industry with world-class food services, provided right here in India.”
Since its inception, Feastly has dished out over three million meals and has seen excellent growth despite the pandemic. Presently, Feastly caters to companies like Amazon, Airtel, Samsung, Paytm, Idea, Microsoft, Stanza Living, Uber, Nokia, and ironically, IRCTC; Brookfield and Vivo are the newest among a rapidly growing client list, with Gahlaut hoping to take on international players like Sodexo, Compass Group, and Elior Group players, which are already present in the Indian corporate catering market.
Apart from the actual food and catering service, Feastly boasts customised menus as per clients’ tastes, with Gahlaut tasting almost every dish, whichever regional kitchen he’s in at the time. “We already have a library of over 250 menus that we can tweak according to the requirements. We have got regional Indian chefs to cook foods from those regions to ensure the best possible taste,” says Gahlaut, who prides the company at being able to provide home-style, quality food in office spaces. With a dream of “providing the best tasting, and most nutritious food for employees, whether working from home or in offices, all over the country (and one day beyond)”, Gahlaut seems well on his way to achieving just that.