(This article was originally published in NearFox. You can read the original article here.)
The booming market of startups in the city touches almost all aspects of our lives. We have startups that take care of our utility needs and there are some that help us to shop and buy smart. But today we are going to discuss a startup that has won our hearts by satiating our taste buds. Yes, you have guessed it right we are talking about Holachef. It is a Mumbai based restaurant in a cloud, which offers better eating options with convenience. It connects some of the best chefs in the city with foodies and food enthusiasts through an online ordering service. Currently, holachef.com operates in Powai, Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR), Chandivali, Vikhroli (W), Bhandup (W), Andheri, Goregaon (E), Sakinaka, Marol, Chembur, and Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). It will expand its reach and services to the rest of Mumbai in the coming few months.
Working of Holachef:
Food tech startups are considered as the next big thing in the customer internet space after e-commerce. Founded in May 2014 by two IITians, Holachef beautifully leverages technology to meet the demand for food startups. From Mexican to Middle Eastern to Kashmiri among others, it brings variety to your plate.
“Holachef offers a fresh menu every day and one can place an order through our website or mobile app on Android or iOS. The deliveries are made as per the time specified by the customer at the time of placing the order. Holachef encourages pre-ordering and is not in a space where 30-minute delivery becomes the product itself”, says Saurabh Saxena, founder-CEO of Holachef.
It is also known for its unique packaging. The food is placed in good quality containers and is then placed in a cloth bag, which has the Holachef brand name printed on it.
‘Chef Creativity’ of Key Importance:
Currently Holachef has more than 100 chefs on board out of which 60 chefs serve actively. The chefs hired by Holachef have professional experience in cooking along with expertise in certain cuisines. The food is made from the best quality ingredients in state-of-the-art kitchens. Their stellar chefs have impressive culinary skills and experience, which reflect in the food being served.
This enables the platform to provide the customers with a great mix of delicacies from around the world. “A passion for cooking is essential for all the chefs- they need to be absolutely in love with cooking and serving what they make”, adds Saxena.
New Menu Each Day:
If you are a frequent visitor at your favorite restaurant the chances are there that you know the menu by heart. But at Holachef it’s different. Every day you find new alluring dishes on their platform. “We create daily new menus with the intention of providing a good mix of regional Indian and international cuisines along with offering a balance between vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. We also try to serve a good variety of starters, desserts, snacks and refreshing drinks. On certain days, we serve less or more of non-vegetarian based on our analytical prediction of demand”, says Saurabh.
Presence on Social Media platforms:
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that as a technology driven platform Holachef is present on most of the social media platforms. It has very active accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Their customer service is really quick. Many of the customers seek some direct information from their social media accounts. The response time is fast and at times it is less than five minutes.
Tapsya Pandey, who has used the services of Holachef twice, says that once she found that there was a lot of difference between the dish depicted on their website and what was delivered. “We immediately tweeted about the same. We quickly got a response from them and they apologized for their errors by sending over some free brownies. That gesture was really sweet”, says Tapasya.
Currently, Holachef is serving more than 500 orders per day.
No direct Competition:
According to Holachef there is nobody with a similar business model operating in the Indian market. “There aren’t too many online food ordering services that offer the kind of variety in cuisines that we offer. Restaurant aggregators and restaurants which are moving into online ordering and mobile ordering could be considered our immediate competitors”, adds Saurabh.
Challenges faced by Holachef:
According to Saurabh Saxena, the biggest initial challenge was to get the good chefs on board. “The next challenge was of driving demand. We did not invest in any paid forms of marketing but tried to spread the word through our personal network. At that time, we were also fine-tuning our mobile app and the website based on feedback from our initial customers. However, slowly as word-of-mouth spread and orders started pouring in; everything else fell in place too”, adds Saurabh.
Holachef is now focusing on expanding deliveries to all parts of Mumbai. Their plan is to expand with deeper penetration into at least 4 more Indian cities in the next two years. Going ahead, they also plan to focus on expanding their customer base rapidly.