Deliver Chef, a start-up by two women Aditi Kapur and Ankita Tandon has made ordering food and bringing it your doorsteps as easy as clicking mouse a few times and eliminated the need to keep dozens of brochures at your place and phone numbers of restaurants in your contact list.
In an interview with Aditi Kapur, she shares her journey and experiences with Delivery Chef.
1) Delivery Chef is a great idea that brings awesome food easily at the doorstep just by the help of a few clicks. How did you come up with the idea of Delivery Chef? What was the first place from where you started?
I’ve always been fond of eating good food and visiting new restaurants. When I moved back to Mumbai from abroad, I kept wanting to order in, but all the paper menus were always scattered around the house or had food stains on them, and half the time, I didn’t know which new places had opened in the neighbourhood, etc. Ordering online is a very popular concept abroad, and I really missed it here. I noticed that here too, people tend to order in a lot and it would be so convenient for them if they could find a list of all the places that delivered to them online, see all their options, see the menu online and simply click to order. Once we started food, we begin expanding into cakes, cupcakes, gourmet foods and even ‘mithai’ seeing the demand.
2) While trying to expand Delivery Chef to more restaurants and cities, what was the biggest challenge that you faced?
Starting out fresh was challenging, but at the same time, a lot of fun. I had to work really hard and long hours in the beginning to get restaurants on board and make the platform go live. But I enjoyed every minute of it, and now the excitement of seeing it actually grow is great.
3) What is the approximate number of orders placed through your website every day? How fast has the number been growing?
We currently process between 150-200 orders every day. We have been seeing really good traction, over 100% Year over Year.
4) Google’s Helping Women Get Online (HWGO) program was meant to make more numbers of women from India technologically advanced so that they can understand basics of internet. How important do you think that is in regard to your venture and also with respect to women of India in general?
I think the HWGO program is a great initiative. Google has always been a leader in setting trends – Internet penetration in India is higher for males than for females. Google was quick to spot this – understanding technology, computers & the internet is a huge boost to the morale of women, especially in the more remote parts of India.
5) Two women starting up a venture in India is quite uncommon and Delivery Chef is indeed an inspiring example for many. Even though some of them are gearing up to become a part of the start-up world, what are the biggest challenges that they face?
Starting up is not easy. Starting up as a woman is even tougher. Most of the industries are male dominated. Trying to get your foot in the door as a woman does come with many challenges – customers, suppliers, agencies, etc. may not take you seriously. Investors look at you with constant doubt trying to gauge whether you are looking at this from a long-term perspective or whether you plan to get married, have children and stop working. It does sound awkward, but people still think that way. The only way to overcome this is to keep at it. Keep working hard, and let your work showcase your seriousness and passion for the business.
6) You have done your degree in Finance from New York University and Ms. Ankita Tandon has done it from Warwick Business school. How immense according to you is the role played by the educational background when you think of starting up? Does studying from a foreign university give you an edge?
Education is a very solid building block. That said, you don’t need to be educated to be successful – there are tons of success stories of college drop outs such as Steve Jobs, or some that didn’t even make it to college like Dhirubhai Ambani. However, for the most of us, education still gives us a boost – A good education gives an inroad to a good job – which may provide good learning opportunities and experience before starting up – it also teaches you how to think, analyse, assess and research – the field of education is not important – I switched from Finance to E-Commerce, but know how to learn & implement your learning is what is important. Studying abroad helps in giving you independence – it throws you into unfamiliar territory, so you learn to fend for yourself, establish your ground. Starting up is similar. When you decide to start-up, there is nothing. No company, no revenue, no operations. You are thrown into unfamiliar territory, where you need to build everything from scratch.
7) One of your interview feature listed that your special offerings include cupcakes saying “I love you, I am sorry” on Valentine’s Day. What are other interesting special offerings at Delivery Chef?
Lol, yes! That was for the day AFTER Valentine’s Day in fact! When customers forgot Valentine’s Day, (I guess, got an earful from their partners) and decided to try to make amends. Another interesting one we have this year for Valentine’s Day is I Love You More Than Cake.
8) With how many restaurant chains have you tied up so far? Can you list few popular ones for our readers?
600+ McDonald’s, Subway, Pizza Hut, Bask in Robbins, Faaso’s, Copper Chimney, Bombay Blue, Bercos, Smokin’ Joe’s, Torrp it Up, Brijwasi, Brownie Point, Mad over Donuts, Haagen Dasz and many more.
9) What has been your biggest satisfaction/happiness with Delivery Chef?
Our biggest accomplishment is our satisfied customers. Most of our customers swear by the convenience we offer to them while they order food online, and that is exactly what we wanted to do. It gives us great pleasure to give our customers access to food faster, quicker and easier! In addition, we have the top most restaurant brands on board with us – Pizza Hut, Subway, McDonald’s, Copper Chimney, Baskin Robbins & 600 more.
We are one of the largest players in the country. We have won several awards such as the E-Commerce Site of the Year, the Hottest E-Commerce Start-up and we even featured in the Top 100 Start-ups to watch out for in 2014.