Homely: ‘Spicing Up’ the Food Delivery Service the ‘Indian Way’ – On Demand Stories
India has emerged as a potential market for many start-ups and opportunities are growing each day with its economy growing at an average of 7% per year. One such industry is the food service worth $48 billion, of which the organized food service market valued at $14 billion and is sprouting at over 25%. The young urban population plays a crucial role in the growth of the foodservice market, and why not? The youth is living a busy and fast paced life and time is a scarce resource to them. So to save any time they can; they either eat out, hire a maid to cook for them or order food from restaurants. They get food, but what they don’t get is the healthy, hygienic and homely meals.
This is where Homely steps in and delivers a healthy solution. With Homely, people have an option to order authentic home cooked meals, which are healthy and delivered to them within their neighbourhood in 45 minutes. Homely also ties up with homemakers, who are passionate cooks and love to cook for others, giving them a chance to showcase their culinary skills, get appreciated and earn a decent income as well. With both these worlds existing in urban India, the time is right for Homely to be there for both of them.
We asked Vikrant, CEO of Homely & Siddharth, CTO of Homely to share their experiences of building the food delivery service business for Yummakers (that’s what they like to call the homemakers who work with them). With Homely, Vikrant & Siddharth have created the quickest and the simplest way to order incredibly delicious “mommy-style” meals. In our conversation with them, They also contemplated on how the mobile platform technology developed and helped their business grow. Without any off-peak hours, which were prevalent in the conventional form of meal deliveries, Homely has its Yummakers preparing food during the peak hours itself. Thus, food is prepared and delivered simultaneously. Hence, the freshness and the quality of the food are never compromised.
Below is the conversation we had with Vikrant & Siddharth about their motivations and the factors that led them to where they are.
Q1- Tell us about Homely and what problem did you hone in for solutioning via your On-Demand platform?
Company Name: Tenilo Revolutions Private Limited
CEO: Vikrant Shitole
CTO: Siddharth Naik
Homely provides the perfect platform for customers to find their ideal home chef or cuisine, within their neighborhood and order a perfectly prepared ‘homely meal’ on a hectic day. Customers will be able to find and order that delicious meal, which they have been craving for, in their locality.
So, how are we different or unique?
Disruption of food industry, instead of mass production & mass selling, our food is prepared in very limited quantity and is much more personalized cuisine of the home infused with Mother’s warmth. Yes, it’s authentic homemade food, the same food what our homemakers cook for their own kids – so you get warmth of home in every meal you receive. Our food production is distributed across 10-15 homemakers in a region or a locality, instead of one person preparing food in bulk. So food is delivered fresh directly from Chef’s or Yummakers kitchen within 45 mins.
We implemented the concept of shared economy and distributed manufacturing which help us replicate successful business model to other regions.
Q2- What is the story behind starting Homely and its journey in India?
Tenilo Revolutions is an early stage innovation startup founded in Mumbai, India. Tenilo means Mango in Esperanto. Mango a seasonal fruit, also means common in Indian context, simply put it’s a common man’s revolution. It is by the Mango, for the Mango, to the Mango. Mango Revs plans to re-evolve the way we move, the way we transact, interact and the way we consume in our day to day lives. We’re set out on a path to re-evolutionize many Mango lives.
Tenilo Revolutions plans to explore, incubate disruptive ideas & technologies that will simplify user experience in domains of food, social, automotive and more, with a vision to become a Mango Revolution one day – because we believe we can. We will travel half the world to ensure that our innovations ultimately serve the Mango people, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line.
To embark on our journey, we have launched this platform – Homely. With Homely we want to redefine how we access, experience and consume food in a whole new way. We want to constantly evolve, learn and sometimes unlearn as to how we could do it better, before we foray into other innovations. It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
Q3- Could you shed some light on Homely’s Business Model?
This is a question whose answer we’d like to keep confidential.
We are using Tookan to have our delivery boys receive their order details immediately once it’s placed on the website. Tookan helps our customers as well as our team to know the delivery status of the orders in real time.
Q4- What are the challenges that you’ve faced in your business so far?
Ensuring timely deliveries has been a challenge since the day we started. Earlier we used to outsource our deliveries. However there were issues.
1. The delivery boys would do orders within a given range of KMs only. At times they would not even go beyond a 3 – 5 KMs when the agreed range was 8 KMs.
2. Constant follow up was needed with delivery boys. At times they would not pick up the orders on time, wrongly update status, do other merchant’s orders and our orders would not be on priority, etc.
3. The internal developments and policy changes of the delivery company towards their delivery team at-times resulted in their delivery boys not performing optimally and thus affecting our business.
Due to the above reasons, we had to do deliveries ourselves costing us with respect to time and money.
Second challenge has been making it easy for our Yummakers to list meals on Homely and list with variety of options.
Q5- How did you overcome the challenges during your journey of getting Homely to where it is now?
For the challenges faced during deliveries, as mentioned above, we have our own delivery boys and using Tookan to keep the system simple and efficient.
To make it easy for our Yummakers, we now provide them the option to mention the preparation time and during which hours they want to list. Plus they have an option for listing for Tomorrow, Day After and a Pre-Order section where the specialties of each Yummaker is available for ordering couple of days in advance. This helps them to get confirmed and planned orders.
Q6- What makes Homely stand out against other competitors (if any)?
In Mumbai, no one yet provides authentic and genuine home cooked meal. There are other online home style food ordering platforms. Both of them work on Hub & Spoke model and provide their users with home style menus either by making it in their own central kitchen or crowd sourcing from home chefs and aggregating at their hub before dispatching to users.
The drawbacks of both are,
1. Customers do not get freshly cooked authentic homemade meals, as they are stored in the central hubs.
2. Their home chefs do not have the freedom to curate their own menus and experiment.
3. A fixed quantity of meal is always collected at the start of the day, from the home chef, with the risk that an order may not come for the given item. Thus there is wastage of food for that item.
On Homely, the menu is curated by the Yummaker and host respective to what they are preparing on the given day for their family for Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, etc. When a customer places an order, the meal is dispatched from the Yummaker’s residence and delivered directly to the customer. It is ensured that the food is served fresh from the kitchens of their homes.
Yummaker’s can mention the preparation time needed for their meals also. Thus, if there is any meal they can prepare fresh with the ingredients they have at their homes, they can serve it on Homely.
Secondly, our Yummakers do not mass manufacture food like other food services. It’s produced in a very limited quantity and is more personalized. In fact, they serve quality over quantity. Yummakers serve the meals to their customers in the same way they would have served their families and guests at their homes. This ensures quality and minimal food wastage.
Q7- How do you see Homely evolving in coming years?
To re-evolve the way we move, the way we transact, interact and the way we consume in our day to day lives.
Q8- A word of advice you would like to give to Startups who one day aspire to be where Homely is today?
I believe it’s too early for us to answer this question. We have just started off.