Like other start-ups, Food Tech companies need to manage scale

rajesh sawhney

Rajesh Sawhney, Co-founder at InnerChef & Founder of GSF Accelerator talks about the rapidly growing food-tech business vertical and how technology is shaping the food habits of Indian consumers.

TA: Dining and food delivery were traditionally focused on convenience and cost. How are the online innovations disrupting this focus?

RS: InnerChef is focused on providing an awesome food experience: High quality food made from the best of the ingredients, a differentiated packaging experience, timely and efficient deliveries, a suburb ordering experience from our highly rated apps and website are some elements of this unique consumer experience.

TA: How big a role would health-consciousness, dietary restrictions and distribution channels play in the food delivery and logistics sector?

RS: Indian consumer is evolving in food habits. They want to eat better. Eating better is a mega trend that is picking up momentum across different cities in India. InnerChef’s mission is to upgrade the food experience of millions of people. We want to make high quality food both affordable and accessible. People can order from our apps and website, we deliver fresh, delicious and wholesome food to their doorsteps.

TA: Other than the challenges mentioned above, according to you, which are the other major challenges?

RS: Like other start-ups, Food Tech companies need to manage scale. Every industry poses unique challenges when scaling up. In food business, creating a consistent food experience across different kitchens and geographies is the biggest challenge. Attracting great talent is also a big challenge for start-ups.

TA: Recently, Zomato became the first unicorn startup in India to go break-even in different major markets. What pointers can new startups pick up from the success story?

RS: Advertising led models like Zomato require huge scale and longer long term horizon to break-even, especially in India. Start-ups need to manage their costs and unit economics and not lose sight of these while chasing growth.

TA: Communications and collaborations were big last year. Will the food sector continue to witness the amalgamation of logistics providers & product brands on a larger scale this year?

RS: Food is a big business. It is inevitable that technology will disrupt this business in a massive way. We will see flight of capital from brick and mortar based restaurant models to “Cloud in the kitchen” models in 2016 and beyond.  2014- 2015 saw lots of investment in restaurant aggregation companies, where the consolidation has begun.

TA: What plans do you have in the pipeline to explore the unexplored avenues in the industry?

RS: InnerChef is a rapidly evolving platform. We have a unique business model: For food, we have “Cloud in the kitchen” model and for desserts, we have a marketplace model that aggregates home bakers. We are launching kitchens and operations across select metros in 2016. With InnerChef, you can expect surprises and innovation.

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