Holachef: Chefs’ cuisines at your doorstep

Ratan Tata-backed foodtech start-up looks to ride on the growing delivery market

Aaj khane mein kya banega? (What do we cook to eat today?) This daily challenge of what to cook, and who will cook, led Saurabh Saxena and Anil Gelra, both alumni of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, to find Holachef Hospitality in September 2014.  Holachef, which brings cuisines from master chefs’ kitchens to your doorstep, has been a hit with users.

The company, which recently raised an undisclosed amount from Ratan Tata, says it is bullish on the market. In June, it had raised Series-A funding of Rs 20 crore in a round led by Kalaari Capital and India Quotient. Prior to that, in February, Holachef had raised a seed fund of Rs 2 crore from India Quotient in the form of convertible notes. “It all started with a personal need. What to cook was a challenge day in and day out and there was too much dependency on domestic help. Else, we ended up ordering a lot and going out a lot. When we spoke to people around, we learnt we were all in the same boat. That was the genesis of Holachef,” says Saxena.

Business Standard – 26th October 2015

To Saxena, it is like living a beautiful dream. He says when Holachef had been launched, everyone had been sceptical and the start-up hardly had found chefs to come on board, as people were not sure if customers would order when there were so many restaurants.

On the day of launch, the portal did two orders and in the first month, 110. “We have now come a long way and are doing 2,000 orders a day, roughly translating to 4,000 meals per day,” says Saxena.  According to him, it was the signing of a sous chef from Taj Banquets that proved Holachef had arrived. A sous chef is the culinary chef, appointed under the executive or head chef in any kitchen.


Within a year, Holachef expanded to eight localities in Mumbai. In Powai alone, where it began its services, it has 70 chefs. In all, Holachef has around  250 chefs on board. It has also initiated operations in Pune.

“Today, the level at which we are operating, there is a lot of inbound interest from the chef community. There are celebrity and sous chefs, wanting to come on board. These are exciting times for us,” says Saxena.  The start-up has plans to expand to new localities, but it doesn’t want to spread too thin. It would like to first make its existing operations perfect. “Once we become absolutely sure of our processes, it will become easier for us to expand to new locations,” says Saxena. For Holachef, technology is crucial to its business model. It enables seamless processing of orders, back-end automation in predicting  demand, and planning deliveries better.

Anand Lunia, founding partner, India Quotient, says Holachef can scale up without a lot of capital and manpower. “Chefs cook on their own, invest in equipment and are happy with a variable pay. Holachef is now ahead of competition, and it continues to double every two months. The team at Holachef is only of one year and has been making the right moves.” The food ordering market exists in smaller cities, too, and Saxena thinks the start-up can expand to 20-30 cities in India. “We also plan to take Holachef international,” says Saxena.


The real competition for Holachef would come from people cooking at home. If one does not have the time or interest to cook at home, Holachef comes as an alternate form of supply.

Holachef combines the best of all worlds. It has a large, daily-changing menu while maintaining authenticity of taste because they have so many specialist chefs, working for them. It maintains quality, which marketplaces sometimes flounder with. Holachef has mastered the logistics, packaging, and quality control,” Lunia adds.

For now, publicity has only been through word-of-mouth. “We are active on social media as a new-age technology company, and we try to understand social media as much as we can. Paid media should come when people can’t discover you anymore and we are still being discovered.”

Saxena kicked off his entrepreneurial career with Mexus Education, while Gelra was earlier with Sodel Solutions.

Saxena says the idea is to provide a great mix of delicacies from around the world – all prepared by Holachef’s chefs. Also, they need to be able to design menus because that’s crucial to the portal’s everyday offering — a new menu each day!

The chefs who come on board at Holachef need to have professional experience, along with expertise in a certain cuisine.

How Saurabh Saxena’s app made Ratan Tata invest in it

(This story was published in ET Panache on 21st October 2015. You can read the original here.)

Like the rest of us, Saurabh Saxena, CEO and Founder of Holachef, has had problems with domestic help. “What she cooked wasn’t necessarily what we liked,” he says, laughing. But, unlike the rest of us, he turned his frustration into something productive. Holachef, launched in September 2014, connects you to chefs to enhance your dining experience right at home. The company has a customer base in Mumbai and recently expanded to Pune. Earlier this year, they received Rs 2 crore in seed funding from India Quotient. In another fundraiser, led by Kalaari Capital, they raised Rs 20 crore in Series A funding. And then came another biggie. Holachef managed to catch the eye of Ratan Tata, who invested an undisclosed sum in the startup. ETPanache catches up with Saxena, the man behind nearly 3.5 lakh meals, to find out about his love for ghar ka khaana, his inspiration and just who he would like to call over for dinner. And of course, he’ll be ordering in.

You have been in the startup circuit since 2006, starting with Aakar Knowledge Solutions. Tell us about your switch from an educational startup to Holachef?

Even though I was in the field of education for seven years, there was a problem in the F&B market that I felt that I could solve. I reasoned that my friends and I were facing the problem, so why not try to solve it?

How did Holachef come about?

My wife and I are working professionals. Cooking and the kitchen are the last of our concerns. The domestic help wasn’t great and eventually we used to order in and go out to eat way too often. There was no place which offered quality food that’s not greasy. So, yes, in a way our domestic help was a breaking point for us (laughs). We couldn’t expect her to bake lasagna for us, so we can’t really blame her though.

Do you remember your first customer? Do they get special treatment at Holachef?

Our first order was from a very close friend of mine. I gave him a call and told him, “Boss. Download the app and place an order.” It was more of a command (laughs). He ordered South Indian fare. Nowadays, I don’t need to command him, but he does order frequently from us.

How did you build your army of over 200 chefs?

That’s the best part! Within the F&B industry there is a huge and thriving amateur industry. There is a good supply of chefs skilled in various cuisines, both at the amateur level and professional level. At the top restaurants, you remember the dish and restaurant but not the chef. With Holachef, they get direct exposure for their cooking. Getting them on board was difficult at first but once chefs started realising that this was workable, it all started coming together. Some of the chefs who have been with us from the start have served more than 20,000 meals. Our chefs come from Taj, ITC as well as a lot of home chefs.

How often do you and your wife use Holachef?

We use it every day. We’ve shut down our home kitchen.

What were the challenges you faced when you started? And what are the challenges you’re facing today?

Convincing the chefs that this was an alternate way of looking at the supply chain was one of our initial challenges. Now the problems are more operational. Making sure everything is consistent across customers, making sure the food is what the customer wants.

How did you first go about raising funds for Holachef?

Initially, the co-founder and I put in money. But we were fortunate that quite a few people had our food and were keen on the idea. That’s how India Quotient came on board.

How did Ratan Tata hear of Holachef?

I was fortunate to meet him at one of the events Kalaari had organised. We got talking. Given his experience in the hospitality industry, he had an amazing level of insight and asked us great questions on how we were planning on taking things forward. The conversation lasted close to 45 minutes. After that, we heard back from his team that he was interested.

Did he order any food?

He did check out the website at the presentation. But he hasn’t ordered food. I did take oatmeal cookies and some delicious South Indian condiments for him for the meeting, but I don’t think he ate it (laughs).

Has Ratan Tata sat in on any meeting? To what extent does he provide guidance?

With a person like him, it is more about the small interactions you can have with him. It’s not like he needs to sit on the board or attend meetings.

What is the best advice you’ve taken away from conversations with him?

That companies are built with a lot of effort and thought. He said while there is a lot of strategy, there should also be passion. Transferring that passion from the top to bottom is a priority.

Who would you like to call over for dinner?

Rahul Dravid. I would not make anything because if I cook, he would run away. I would have our chefs serve him authentic regional cuisine — food from Bihar, Maharashtra and so on. I will also be glad to host Ratan Tata.

Who are the startup entrepreneurs that you will be looking out for?

We have to look for real problems with our customers, not just a buying habit or trend. I look forward to startups in healthcare. There are a few in the personal nursing space and I think that is a phenomenal idea. Simply because we all have elders at home — personal healthcare is so difficult to find. If a startup like this succeeds, it will make a tremendous improvement in people’s lives.

What one must know before wanting to join a start-up

(This post was first published in Business Standard. You can read the original article here.) 

Holachef founder Saurabh Saxena wrote this email to a prospective employee. After reading it, he decided to join — more than ever

Dear Enthusiast,

I am glad that you have shown interest in joining Holachef. However, before you come on board, I want to be 100% sure that you have set your expectations right for working in an organisation like ours.

Holachef is a start-up; full of many dreams and uncertainties. As a start-up, the only thing that matters for growing in the right direction is the attitude of our people, our team.

The willingness to get hands dirty, the ability to be a good team-player, the enthusiasm to learn something new with every challenge, the competence to build and mentor a team, the maturity to deal with frustrations, the intent and the thought that patience is the key, the acceptance of the fact that people make mistakes and that no one is born with perfection are some of the most important qualities you must have before you step into the start-up ecosystem.

There will be times when things won’t go as per the plan, disappointments will be at an-all time high and criticism will surround you. There will be times when your ego will be hurt. It’s the ability to digest all of it and still move forward that defines a start-up. Agility and flexibility need to be ingrained in our blood. Learning from every disaster is the only way to exist. And let me remind you, there will be many disasters along the way.

Team goals become individual goals and vice versa — that’s the kind of environment we need to create. Personal whims and fancies play absolutely no roles. Mediocrity is unacceptable. And there has to be a way to improve on a daily basis and strive for excellence.

Short-term business needs may not sync with the company’s long-term vision. Processes may be vague or may not exist at all. Hiring can be a painfully long and frustrating process. Budgets may sometimes be tight while there may be moments when the only thing on the mind would be ‘survival’. Expect to be the most crucial screw in the organisational structure once in a while; and sometimes be prepared to feel that your role is not a priority for the company at all.

‘Trying’ may not be an option – it’s only ‘getting sh** done’ that matters.

Limits will need to be stretched and midnight oil may have to be burnt. At times, you will have to explain things to someone who doesn’t understand it at all. Perseverance is another virtue you will need in abundance.

Rome wasn’t built in a day nor were the greatest that exist. It takes time and sweat. It takes fights, bruises and blood baths. It takes courage.

Please be sure of what you are getting into beforehand.

Neither me nor Holachef has proven anything to anybody yet. We aren’t big, we are just a tiny blip on the radar. Where we go from here is entirely in our hands and depends on our attitude.

is founder and CEO of, a food-tech start-up where professional and amateur chefs can sell their meals

Saurabh Saxena talks about IIT, Holachef and more

This article was first published in Asian Age. You can read the original story here. 

What’s cooking today?

Conceived as a solution to this daunting everyday question, Hola Chef brings you culinary delights from a different kitchen every day of the week

At 16, Saurabh Saxena, the founder of Holachef, found himself battling a choice between academics and his passion. What followed was four years of studying metallurgical engineering at one of the most coveted institutions in India — Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.

Saurabh Saxena

However, it turned out to be a period in his life which he likes to remember fondly and thinks is the reason for whatever success has come his way so far. “I was very much interested in sports, but in my final year of schooling, I had to choose between academics and athletics. I chose the former,” recalls Saurabh.

Hailing from Udaipur, the city of lakes in Rajasthan, Saurabh has built a successful food start-up, Holachef that offers different menus from different kitchens every day. Based on pincode locations, Holachef provides customers with food from their closest kitchens, adding to the variety and options since each has a distinct taste. The kitchen could be that of a professional chef or a homemaker.

Although he was confident of it becoming a successful enterprise right from the time of its launch in last September, a recent 20 crore investment from Ratan Tata has certainly been an icing on the cake, feels Saurabh.

“I was very fortunate to get through IIT. With so many aspirants applying for Joint Entrance Examination, I think, one needs to have certain amount of luck to get through as well,” he says.

Telling us about how Holachef came to be, Saurabh says, “The idea came from a very personal crisis. We realised that food is a big problem for working people in Mumbai. If there’s no food at home, then we have to order from somewhere, and you cannot have restaurant food everyday. You either need to make it on your own or hire someone to make it for you,” he points out.

For Saurabh, the years at IIT were his most defining years where he got exposed to different people and ideas. “Some of our role models were my seniors,” he says, but cites the young entrepreneur Kashyap Deorah as his mentor.

After graduating, he took up a job at a law firm working on intellectual property rights. “That was a very interesting chapter in my life. I learnt a lot while I worked within a small set-up” he recalls. But it wasn’t until 2006 that he came up with his first venture. “The wish to do something on my own was always latently present. But after a point I realised that I had to take that plunge.” In 2004, he founded his first company, Aakar Knowledge Solution, which provided products and services for schools. “At that point we realised that a lot can be done in the education sector, where there was a wide gap in the methods of teaching. Our efforts were to bridge this gap in whichever way possible. A lot of my batch-mates collaborated in that venture. But then it was acquired by Mexus Education. After that I worked with them for almost five years,” adds Saurabh.

It was at the tail end of his tenure with Mexus that he finally found a new idea to work on — one that he would later name ‘Holachef’. “The problem was genuine, and we figured that not many people have done anything about it. The idea was to primarily an answer to the dreadful question we ask daily: What’s for food today? So we decided to introduce a service where one will get quality food made with ingredients and methods that they would use for their own food,” he says.

“The biggest challenge for us was to convince the chefs to work with us,” he adds. But thanks to the appeal of the idea, it wasn’t difficult to lure them in. “From the very beginning when I heard of Holachef, I wanted to work with them. They are giving opportunities to new chefs and one gets enough independence to work in their own small kitchen set up; we also get enough space to experiment, while keeping the dishes less complicated,” says chef Shahzad Variava, a dessert specialist for Holachef.

After recently lunching services in Pune, Holachef’s trajectory seems to be gaining upward momentum.

“Currently, we are focusing on going deeper in Mumbai, because this is a genuine and more rooted problem in a city like Mumbai,” explains Saurabh.

Meeting with Tata:

We were in talks with him since June and finally things fell into place. Meeting Ratan Tata was, needless to say, quite an experience. The fact that he acknowledged our endeavour is a boost in itself. Though it was never quite informal, the kind of questions and points that he raised during our meetings were an impactful learning experience for us. He is a man who has spent so many years in the hospitality sector, so with every statement, he shared his years of experience.

Giving lessons to young guns:

“The only thing that I have realised from my experience is that there is no such thing as the right idea, right time and right place. One needs to take the plunge, and only then will they find their way. Ideas that are in your mind are much different than the work that you have to do at the ground level. And ideas will keep evolving and this is the school of thought that I come from,” concludes Saurabh.

Consumer is king. And rightly so!

When we started Holachef, it was to provide a great solution to a very basic problem in our household – what to eat today and where to get it from? Being a working couple, we ended up ordering food from outside very often (4 days a week, to be precise). While it was a convenient option – we knew we could not sustain it for long. After all, who wants to eat restaurant food every day – it wasn’t doing any good to our health conscious mindset.

The idea to start Holachef was exciting and since day 0 my vision for the brand was very simple – we can serve to others only the food that we can eat – on a daily basis.

I am a finicky customer and that was the whole premise of building Holachef. As Confucius had said, “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you.” Our customer service philosophy could not be described better than that.

As a food-tech company, we have focused on building a tech system through which all forms of feedback, queries, reviews, etc that we receive from our customers are collated and worked upon by our internal team and chefs alike.

For example, when a customer tells us that a particular dish was not great, it sets in motion a lot of things at our end – speaking with others who ordered the same food, speaking with the chef who made that meal, etc. This helps us pinpoint the exact issue and based on that our food team lists / de-lists that dish in future.

In the last one year of our existence, our spends on infrastructure, food improvement and tech systems have surpassed our marketing spends many times over. Our belief is that if the consumer experience is great, marketing will take care of itself; which is true since word-of-mouth has worked brilliantly for us.

As we turn one, our biggest learnings have been:

  • Everyone takes their food very seriously. If a consumer has a great meal, we make their day. So it’s not just food that we are selling, we are also responsible for their day-to-day happiness.
  • Like everything else, we are not perfect. No matter how hard we try and how superior we make our processes, we will be imperfect in a certain way. It makes us restless. The good part is that in pursuit of achieving perfection, we do the best that we can.
  • Hardwork is the only way to succeed – be it deliveries or planning the daily menu – one wrong decision can spoil the user experience at many levels. Hard work cannot be discounted even for a minute.
  • We are because our consumers are. Everything we do must add to their delight.

Good reviews, a positive tweet, a happy Facebook post or a cheerful image on Instagram is our daily dope. Since everything is closely monitored by our entire team, each positive feedback is applauded and cherished. A happy customer is always, ALWAYS a delight. That’s what we live for – that’s what we aimed for when we first began.

Personally, for me, the biggest joy is when my 3 year old daughter sees the Holachef menu and points to a dish and says, “I want to eat this, daddy!”

As for my wife and me, I am happy to share that being a half Maharashtrian and half Rajasthani family; we are just glad that today we have an option to enjoy a homely Puranpoli alongside a Daal Baati Churma even though we aren’t equipped to make either of it at home.


I would like to emulate every quality of Dravid: Saurabh Saxena, CEO & Founder of Holachef

(This interview was first published on FirstPost on July 6. You can read the original piece here.)

Success Quotient is a weekly feature that appears every Friday on Firstpost, which looks at the pains and joys en route to success for a head honcho – whether a CEO, MD or an entrepreneur. The column looks at the ideas that helped launch a company, its highs and lows.

Saurabh Saxena, CEO and Co-Founder of Holachef, the food delivery startup started in September 2014 that brings cuisines prepared by chefs to your doorstep — available in a few places in Mumbai so far — started off as an entrepreneur. His first venture got acquired, he moved on to work with two firms before starting up again. He is also an angel investor.

Saxena talks about his entrepreneurial dreams even as a student at IIT (Bombay) where he graduated after doing his B.Tech and M.Tech in Metallurgical Engineering in 2004. Along with his entrepreneurial dreams, he never lets his bucket list out of his sight. He shares how he made his dreams into reality and the efforts it took him to reach where he is now.

Excerpts from the conversation:


Did you always dream of starting a venture of your own?

Even before I graduated, I knew I would do something on my own. Before I co-founded AakarKnowledgeSolutions (which got acquired by Mexus Education), I had worked with Nishith Desai Associates (NDAs), a research-based international law firm, and Halliburton, one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the energy industry. My parents were quite surprised initially because they were not aware of my aspirations to be an entrepreneur. However, they were supportive from Day 1.

What is it about IIT graduates that most of them are in the startup eco-system?

It’s the culture that breeds inspiration for IIT graduates to start on their own. IIT is a closely related community where everyone is connected and willing to help out each other in every way possible. It gives real life role models.

How challenging was it to startup? How old were you then?

Starting up in itself is a big challenge. You are devoid of money, structure, knowledge, resources – everything needs to be put together brick by brick. It’s a great learning process and no two days are alike. I was 26 when I first entered the startup eco-system. It was exciting and gave me the confidence to venture again with another startup.

I took some time off to prepare myself for the next venture. This time I had more cushion with respect to money and network of people. Just as in a corporate job one gets promoted, in a start-up eco-system one evolves into a better entrepreneur with time and experience. However, each industry has its own challenges. From education sector to food, the transition was not that easy. I am still learning about the F&B sector.

How did the idea of Holachef come about? Tell us a little about it – how you met your co-founder, set up your food delivery startup?

Like any classic story, ours, too, began in a basement; except that it wasn’t as much of a basement, but our dinner table. All we wanted was to have some good food delivered to us without burning a hole in our pockets. We were bored of the local restaurants in our vicinity: the pizzas and the rolls. Also, none of them exuded much confidence with their menu options or the quality of ingredients used. The finer delivery options were either too expensive, too far for delivery or not good enough to be considered as a regular ordering-in option.

We intend to provide many cuisines prepared only by the experts. Chefs prepare their dishes from their signature cuisines and it helps us serve a distinct platter every day.

Anil Gelra, my Co-Founder, and I graduated together from IIT. Since then we have worked together for Mexus Education and have always been in touch. In college, we were part of the team that organized a very successful tech fest together.

Tell us about the genesis of the name Holachef?

We wanted to bring out the element of chefs serving hand-crafted meals. Holachef implies – saying hello to the chef. Plus, was an available domain. This eased the process.

What did you plan with Holachef?

The time between when I moved out of Mexus to starting Holachef was spent in planning my next venture. It was also the period when I got to spend time with my daughter who had just turned a year-old then. I travelled, built my house and relaxed before I stepped into the entrepreneurial shoes again for Holachef.

What is your business strategy?

Our only strategy is ‘customer first’. Everything else revolves around that.

You have received multiple rounds of funding.

Team, efficient execution and time is important for any start-up. However, funding equips all of these to move ahead. Capital breaks barriers. Raising money in time is an important skill set that an entrepreneur should have, particularly in a B2C space where brand building takes time.

What are your future plans?

We will be fueling our infrastructural expansions that will enable better preparation and delivery of food. This will help us penetrate deeper into Mumbai as well as other cities in India.

Do you have a hero/heroes you admire and want to emulate?

Rahul Dravid. I would like to emulate every quality that he has exhibited. I saw him play for the first time I was in class 4. He was my hero since then.

You are an angel investor too. Tell us how you choose projects that you want to invest in.

I can tell you five things that I need to feel positive about when I consider a start-up to invest in. No research, no tons of reading up or number crunching, it’s primarily ‘that feeling’. ​ Besides that:

– My gut feel about the idea
– Whether I would like to be a part of that company/brand as an employee​
– The scale and my understanding of the industry
– Whether the time is right for that idea to enter the market
– The core team – should be exciting. Everything depends on the team

You are a loyal Royal Enfield rider. How often are you able to take a break and vroom off on your bike?

I wish I would get more time to take my bike out. However, I do go on short rides whenever possible.I like indulging in off-beat travel experiences. Be it kayaking for 15 nautical miles in Malaysia, bungee jumping or a back-pack tour across South India; I have, in my personal life, always been a fan of everything ​that requires more action and less planning. Once I left everything that I was doing to go watch Messi play in Kolkata. That was like ticking something off my bucket list!

You can follow Saurabh Saxena on Twitter here.

Get set for a heavenly experience at Holachef

(This story was originally published on You can read it here.)

For all those who are abreast of the hustles and bustles of Mumbai’s fast lanes, it’s quite pertinent that getting through a satiating food joint is indeed a cumbersome task. Here’s a one-stop-shop destination to solve your troubles.

We can say that Holachef has rightly set high standards for the food chains canopying all over Mumbai. Check out the nitty-gritties here:, a Mumbai based restaurant in cloud, 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. Launched in September 2014, offers a fresh menu every day and one can place the order through their website or mobile app.

The restaurant in detail

From Mexican to Middle-Eastern and from Kashmiri to Chettinad; caters to many palates with food made from the best quality ingredients in state-of-the-art kitchens. Their stellar chefs have impressive culinary skills and experience which reflects in the food being served.

Currently, operates in Powai, Chandivali, Vikhroli (West), Bhandup (W), Andheri (E), Sakinaka, Marol, Chembur and JVLR. It will expand its reach and services to the rest of Mumbai in the coming few months. Saurab Saxena, founder of the fine dine restaurant, said in an interview, “The idea is to provide a great mix of delicacies from around the world – but prepared with finesse by coveted chefs.”
Holachef is available in all areas of Andheri and Chembur, Malad, Mulund, Ghatkopar – Powai, Vikhroli and Bhandup.

Where all it is spread?

The restaurant is known for delivering food in spill-free packaging in a single person meal format. Known for displaying, new menu every day, the meals can be ordered from their online website and mobile app on Android and iOS.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise if we tell you that Holachef is active on almost all the social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. They are known for their excellent customer service. The fine dining restaurant is majorly planning its vast expansions all over Mumbai and is intending for deeper penetration into at least 4 more Indian cities in the next two years.

The food joint’s demand is increasing per day since its inception in September 2014. From just 5 orders in a day, the company has successfully achieved to get over 150 until previous months.

Explore the best of the services and experiences the restaurant has in store for you. Happy Ordering!

Holachef is all set to launch in Thane

(This article was originally published in ZipNews. You can read it here.)

Holachef has satisfied the taste buds of food lovers in Andheri and Powai region by bringing the best chefs and amazing cuisines to its Mumbai based cloud restaurant. Now with a bang Holachef is all set to start its dinner service in Thane from May 30, 2015.

Starting out with only dinners in Thane, Holachef is planning to start its lunch and evening snacks section very soon. It promises to serve tasty, homely and hygienic food, that too at a great price. Holachef will be launching in Thane with a variety of cuisines by the most popular chefs in Mumbai.

Holachef was launched in September 2014, by its founders Saurabh Saxena, CEO and Anil Gelra, CTO, with their passion for food and the idea of connecting the best chefs with foodies. Speaking about the foray into Thane, Saurabh says, “We had been receiving a lot of demand from Thane since the last few months. We were keen on starting our services there as we already have a huge set of customers waiting for our arrival in the vicinity. We hope for a positive response from Thane, similar to the other localities in Mumbai that we serve.”

From Mexican to Middle-Eastern and from Kashmiri to Chettinad; Holachef caters to many palates with food made from the best quality ingredients in state-of-the-art kitchens. Their stellar chefs have impressive culinary skills and experience which reflects in the food being served.

The menu at Holachef is dynamic and changes every day. Top-notch city chefs serve their signature cuisines ensuring only the best in taste and quality. Orders can be placed only through their mobile app (Android and iOS) or the website. The food is packed and served in reusable and recyclable material; accompanied with biodegradable cutlery, and delivered wherever you are.

Holachef has already gained huge popularity in Mumbai. Owning to which, it is now ready to step into other areas. Currently, it operates in all areas of Powai, Chandivali, Vikhroli (West), Bhandup (W), Andheri (E), Sakinaka, Marol, Chembur, BKC and JVLR. It will expand its reach and services to the rest of Mumbai in the coming few months.

How Holachef is catering to the foodie needs of Mumbaikars

(This article was originally published on Zipnews. 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, 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.

Founders of Holachef: Anil Gelra (left) and Saurabh Saxena (right)

“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.

Expansion Plans:

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.

Ordering-in Tonight, Mumbai? Say Holachef!

This article was originally published in on You can see the original feature here.

Delicious, Hot meals just a call away
How many times have you found that eating out can become a not-so-great experience simply because either the restaurant was too far or the prices didn’t sit well with the food quality? Too many, I’m sure. Ordering in would mean only a certain restricted dishes and that can get extremely dull over a period of time.
Stepping in to bridge this gap between superior quality and better variety in food were Holachef founders Saurabh Saxena, Co-founder, CEO and Anil Gelra, Co-founder, CTO. With their passion for food and the idea of connecting the best chefs with foodies, was launched in September 2014 for consumers. enables the user to place an order for a meal right from their desktop on or from their mobile app which is available on the Android and IOS platforms. “It is a restaurant in cloud that delivers meals from varied cuisines at a pre-determined time slot, as selected by the customer” says Saurabh Saxena. Holachef encourages meal planning, i.e. they encourage you to plan your lunch and dinner meals ahead of time; it’s not a 30 minute delivery goal which can compromise the quality of the food being served.
They have a new menu each day with cuisines from Rajasthani to Malwani, French to Oriental, Thai and Russian, etc and what makes ordering from Holachef even better is that they deliver it in spill-free, recyclable and biodegradable packaging in a single-person meal format as well. It’s amazing that you get such a wide variety to choose from even if it’s just for one person and with the environment friendly packaging to boot, Holachef is definitely setting the bar high!
The chefs on board with Holachef not only have professional experience but they also have expertise in certain cuisine. As Saurabh Saxena puts it, “The idea is to provide a great mix of delicacies from around the world – but prepared with finesse by coveted chefs.” To be a chef at having professional experience is not enough, one must have a passion for cooking as well as be able to design a new menu each day.
Currently, they are delivering to Powai, Chandivali, Vikhroli (West), Bhandup (West), Andheri (East), Sakinaka, Marol, Chembu, Goregaon, Juhu, etc and are focusing on expanding to the rest of Mumbai in the coming few months. Holachef has raised Rs. 2 crore funding from India Quotient and are now looking to raise Rs. 25-30 crore to fund their expansion across Mumbai and 6-7 cities across India.