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Startup

HomeChow- Find home cooked food near you

Hey Rodinhooders,

Let me introduce you to HomeChow. It is a platform for Foodies to find home cooked food around them.

Inspiration

Working in corporate India I have heard many complaining about dearth of Home cooked food and snacks. Many North Indians complain of not getting the right kind of Roti or mathri in southern parts of India while I have heard many south Indians complaining about lack of good sambhar or murukku in Delhi.

On the other hand I have met many awesome cooks who are ready to start their own business but face the question of how to sell. One of those is my MIL who cooks awesome north Indian fare but is not the selling type.

Hoe does this work?

I am still in the developing phase so the points below might change.

1. Foodies/Buyers sign up for free and can search the portal for food providers in their vicinity. Buyer signup is automated.

2. Sellers pay a fee for signup and are enlisted only if their listings are approved. Each seller is provided a shopfront which includes menu, quantity, pricing and ordering process.

3. For the first version order and cash process will be kept off site.

4. Buyer reviews are enabled so that seller reputation can be supported.

How Do I make money?

Currently I am looking at monthly subscription fees from the sellers to fund the project. I am not interested in opening advertisements yet.

I am thinking of advertising to sellers only which may include supplies equipment and delivery services.

I am currently validating my idea and any comments, suggestions and signups from the community are welcome. 

Here’s the link

http://homechow.blogspot.in/

Thanks Again,

Parul

EDITED TO ADD

Considering all the suggestions here I have devised a membership structure and would like to get your opinion on this as a seller and as a buyer.

Buyers

Free Membership
pay for home delivery as applicable
Can avail pickup for free
Review the business
Gain points by ordering through site for a chance to redeem these for future orders.(1 point=1Rs / 2 point/100Rs spent)
5 Recurring orders

Upgraded earned free membership
Membership earned after publishing 25 authentic reviews following orders.
All feature same as free members except
(1 point=1Rs / 5 point/100Rs spent)

Premium buyer membership (300-500 per month)
Free unlimited local delivery (outstation deliveries as per actual. All deliveries as supported by the seller membership)
30 recurring orders
Free Pickup
Review the business
Gain points by ordering through site for a chance to redeem these for future orders.(1 point=1Rs / 10 point/100Rs spent)
Access to Seller contact information

Sellers

Each seller no matter what is the membership status gets a shop with varying levels of customization. Basic shopfront will contain 
1. a header image with shop name
2. Introductory video for the shop (optional though highly recommended)
3. Menu/catalog of the products being sold (Random for free memberships while paid members can choose feature products)

No upfront membership fee charged from sellers. The site makes money only if they do.

Free Membership
Upto 10 product listings with 1 image each
No delivery support but Local delivery agency contacts provided

Level 1 paid membership
Customization options for the shop
Upto 25 products with 3 images each
Delivery support
10% commission on orders
Access to Sellers only offers and advertisements from equipment and raw material suppliers.

Level 2 Earned membership
All features same as Level 1
Membership earned after a turnover of 15000 achieved continuously for 2 months.
Reduced commission of 7%

Featured Members
Hand picked sellers who get all previous benefits but have to part with only 5% of income through Homechow.

They should be able to show around 20,000 in revenue for two consecutive months.

Reviews can be written only after a buyer places an order with the seller. this way we can limit spams (I Hope). Plus by the time a buyer starts getting higher returns for her/his investment we would have had at least 25 orders placed by the buyer.

Let me know

  1. If you as a buyer or seller will opt in?
  2. If yes what membership level will you choose?

Comments

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29 Comments

  1. hey parul,

    i love the name. (let me know if you’re looking for someone to do the logo – we have rodinhooder designers)

    i love the idea.

    i spent many years in a hostel/living on my own; my friends, colleagues and i always wished we had something like this!!

    i see you live in hyd. is this gonna be limited to hyd only?

    we have quite a few foodpreneurs on trhs – none from hyd though. you could reach out to them (use the search engine. i’ll ping as many as i can)

    perzen – bawi bride

    divyesh – just unjunk

    hitesh bhatia – the noodle guy

    tanul – eatopia 

    karan – veging

    vikram parekh’s wife is into cupcakes

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/what-s-cooking-dear-i-asked-p

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/traditional-foods-of-karnataka

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/starting-a-home-bakery

    perhaps some of them can give you an idea on what all you should include in your platform….

    feel free to connect with the rodinhooders of hyd here – http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/rodinhoods-chaimeet-hyderabad

  2. also, parul,

    pls go through posts in showcase! we have lots of rodinhooders who have “platform ventures” – they also might be able to help you validate your idea…

    mandar joshi wanted to do a food app.

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/a-mobile-application-which-will-help-to-eat-right

  3. Hey Asha,

    Thanks for replying and I am glad you like the idea and name. I do design works too this time I am taking the validation first approach so did not even buy a domain yet.

    I plan to start this with major Indian cities and then plan to expand it to major NRI hubs like US and Australia but that’s something I am not even thinking about right now. As of now I am working on getting businesses to signed up as within few hours I have decent number of foodie signups.

    Thanks for all the links and leads. Will contact people hopefully I can start developing it soon.

    Thanks Parul

  4. Hey Parul,

    Feel free to connect, and I’m happy to share our experiences.

    Regards,

    Vikram

  5. Hello !

    Why don’t you add the Freecharge layer on top of your service.

    Buy home cooked food worth Rs.100 and get coupon of Rs.100. (Basically if X is the amount paid by customer for food and Y is the value of coupon he gets, then X==Y)

    The coupon could be of any retailer, online or offline.

    I have worked extensively with these retailers, I know them and this is possible. The beauty is beyond Freecharge, no one has been able to replicate this model.

     

    Cheers!

  6. Hey Parul,

    Great idea on a food platform. I’ve been trying to use a couple of these before like Imly which is quite well-known in the food space but is going through a re-vamp right now and have also explored doing an FB shop type thing. While it’s a brilliant idea for the sellers (I don’t even mind paying the fee you mentioned) as it gives them a shopfront/online presence the major issue I’ve faced is with the repeat use of the platform by buyers. Once they are connected to a particular seller, it just becomes easier to call them and place your second order which means you as a platform are losing out on ‘official sales’. 

    And, if you can’t showcase how many sales you bring in for the seller then the seller becomes hesitant to pay the subscription fee. 

    I don’t mean to put you down – I love the idea and think there is a need for it but it needs some thinking on how this situation can be resolved in my opinion. Am happy to chat further with you on this and share my experience if that helps.

    Reach out to me on perzend (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. Sounds interesting, if implemented correctly it might resolve the short circuiting Perzen talks about below.

  8. Just sent you a mail. As I said right now my aim is to get as many people on board as I can get so that this becomes lucrative for businesses to join.

    My target buyer is a bachelor/bachelorette who are living alone or with friends and lives a busy life away from home.

  9. Hi Parul,

    I love the idea, something which I would love to do. You can watsapp me on +91-9699-246-444 also mail me on karan.pandhi@gmail.com

  10. Digg the concept Parul…

    #1)  Register Homechow.in before I do 😉 – its a great domain name!

    #2)  I understand you are just starting out the business, but in order for foodies or a food business to sign up, you need to give them some sort of incentive…looking at the site right now, it just seems like lead generation type site.  Maybe offering foodies their first order 50% discount and food businesses 1 month of free listing for signing up prior to launch date?

    #3)  Social Networks – Get your social’s in place – I see FB, TW and G+ on the site, but no links to them.

    Have added your site to buyfood.in:  http://buyfood.in/index.php?page=2
    If you would like to add a banner (300×250) or (120×600) – please send them over and we’ll make sure you get the exposure across the IndianAdvertisingNetwork

    Your model differs from that of Gobble.com but still may find some useful ideas there.

    Best of luck with the venture!

  11. Thanks for replying and awesome inputs.

    As far as the domain is concerned you can buy it I’ll think of an even more awesome name. 😉

    I am currently working on writing down my business plan. I am holding off any real work till I am convinced of the business model. Hopefully I get it done by this week’s end. As soon as I get that down and clear its the socials and branding that I plan on going to next. The page looks decent but not what I want.

    Thanks for the incentive suggestions. I am finding it quite difficult to get sellers on board as compared to foodies. Free listing seems like a great idea.

    Thanks for adding it to buyfood.in . Let me get my design in place and then I’ll send the banner over to you. 

    Thanks and see you soon

  12. Considering all the suggestions here I have devised a membership structure and would like to get your opinion on this as a seller and as a buyer.

    Buyers

    Free Membership
    pay for home delivery as applicable
    Can avail pickup for free
    Review the business
    Gain points by ordering through site for a chance to redeem these for future orders.(1 point=1Rs / 2 point/100Rs spent)
    5 Recurring orders

    Upgraded earned free membership
    Membership earned after publishing 25 authentic reviews following orders.
    All feature same as free members except
    (1 point=1Rs / 5 point/100Rs spent)

    Premium buyer membership (300-500 per month)
    Free unlimited local delivery (outstation deliveries as per actual. All deliveries as supported by the seller membership)
    30 recurring orders
    Free Pickup
    Review the business
    Gain points by ordering through site for a chance to redeem these for future orders.(1 point=1Rs / 10 point/100Rs spent)
    Access to Seller contact information

    Sellers

    Each seller no matter what is the membership status gets a shop with varying levels of customization. Basic shopfront will contain
    1. a header image with shop name
    2. Introductory video for the shop (optional though highly recommended)
    3. Menu/catalog of the products being sold (Random for free memberships while paid members can choose feature products)

    No upfront membership fee charged from sellers. The site makes money only if they do.

    Free Membership
    Upto 10 product listings with 1 image each
    No delivery support but Local delivery agency contacts provided

    Level 1 paid membership
    Customization options for the shop
    Upto 25 products with 3 images each
    Delivery support
    10% commission on orders
    Access to Sellers only offers and advertisements from equipment and raw material suppliers.

    Level 2 Earned membership
    All features same as Level 1
    Membership earned after a turnover of 15000 achieved continuously for 2 months.
    Reduced commission of 7%

    Featured Members
    Hand picked sellers who get all previous benefits but have to part with only 5% of income through Homechow.

    They should be able to show around 20,000 in revenue for two consecutive months.

    Reviews can be written only after a buyer places an order with the seller. this way we can limit spams (I Hope). Plus by the time a buyer starts getting higher returns for her/his investment we would have had at least 25 orders placed by the buyer.

    Let me know

    1. If you as a buyer or seller opt in?
    2. If yes what membership level will you choose?

  13. hi

    i would like to order a meal first 🙂

    checkout godwa as well – they do good home made food in borivali , kandivali in mumbai .

    this should really be done as many restaurants are not serving wholesome stuff .

  14. Thanks Karan,

    As a buyer I assume Free membership sounds great… If you know of any food business who would be interested to join do let me know.

    Parul

  15. yes .

    i think you should start calling up home chefs after getting their numbers from imly / just dial or through facebook .
    it also looks important to focus on a fixed radius location first .

    once you have x number of shoppers on your page – sellers will flock to you automatically .

    one of my friend started samaas.in  in vile parle.

    other ideas to get sellers :

    1) cold call / email / dm them

    2) give sellers a proposal that you will list them on all other sites for free if they list with you .

    3) you will give them 3 customers in a week at no marketing cost

    4) Free training for sellers about FDI / trends / marketing etc

    5) Free flyers , newspaper ad for sellers of limited area

    6) google , fb ad for sellers .


    go for a fixed radius in location first 🙂

    all the best

  16. by FDI i meant – food regulations , certifications 🙂

  17. Hi Parul,

    The idea seems to be very interesting as I was also discussing something on the same line with my colleague last week.

    Something very similar exists with the name http://www.langhar.com so may be you can get some good insights from here.

    Thanks

    Anuj

  18. Hey Anuj,

    Thanks for the link and lead. I find it something that a lot of IT bachelors and Expats in Hyderabad can use. Biggest challenge right now for me is to find sellers. Do help me spread the word and get a few signups.

    parul

  19. Oho.  You stole my idea while I was sleeping.  🙂

    This is totally brilliant.  Let me tell you what I wanted to do and maybe that will help in refining your idea

    1. Create a platform where anyone who can cook can create an account and upload their items.  Focus is on stay-at-moms who are looking to make extra income.  Restaurants etc keep out (for the moment at least).  

    2. No specialized store front for individual providers.  All items are listed like on ebay with a seller rating and reviews.  You can filter by provider or by menu item or by location. (Nice to have: geo aware web app, Will need sooner than later: companion phone app – start with Android)  Sometime in the future each individual provider will get their own page and they can pimp it to their heart’s content.  I want to get out of the gate as fast as possible so we’ll keep it simple, as simple as possible.

    3.  Quality control: Since this is food all providers have to follow guidelines on hygenic cooking and packing.  Provider should be open for random checks by our internal health inspectors.  People who get bad ratings get kicked out and banned.  Packaging will be provided by us and providers will need to buy the packing materials from us.  This is essentially to drive the brand image and top of mind recall.  Probably have some logo and website address on every pack.  We guarantee home cooked, wholesome nutritious meals.  If a customer is not satisfied, we refund the customer and either recover it from the provider or swallow the loss.  At some point in time we also take out insurance cover for the worst case scenario where a really lousy provider falls through the QC cracks and somebody gets food poisoning.  Like AirBnB’s insurance cover for homeowners.  

    4. Logistics and delivery: We should own this to ensure timely delivery but initially we can let them figure it out for themselves.  

    5. Moolah making: Will be free to buyers, we take a commission off each sale.  Later we introduce listing fees and other retail “rip-off” pricing schemes and grandfather in the early bird providers at the old rates as a way of saying thank you.

    Since the primary providers are homemakers, there are going to be very few who will stick to it as a full time service, mostly we’ll have a revolving door of high activity and low activity and the ones who are stars will keep rotating.  Our job/mission is to provide a meeting ground.  “Great Cooks. (deliver) Hot Home Cooked Meals. (to)  Ravenous Foodies.”

    And am so glad you are doing it Parul.  This idea is, in-my-totally-seat-of-the-pants-no-research-view, a great opportunity to create a vibrant community of passionate producers and consumers and make money in the process.  

    Feedback on your game plan above:

    Kill all the subscription ideas/monetization for now other than the barebones, earning commission off sellers.  Each subscription idea creates a coding and management layer that will introduce friction into the transaction flow that will slow you down and push your launch window further out.  Plus there is the bigger danger that you may set up a pricing scheme that is not workable or will be too complex to manage efficiently at your size.  

    Your mission is very simple: create a platform where great cooks can find ravenous foodies and vice versa.  Somewhere in this exchange you make money.  

    At the moment you have no way to know what is the best way to make money.  

    Focus on getting the community in touch with each other.  The rest will follow.  Look at the Facebook lesson.  He had the first version of the site up and running in 2 weeks (am not saying that you should do the same)  and for nearly 5-6 years they had no clue as to how to make money off it.  

    The question to focus on right now is this: What is the minimum that I should do get these cooks and foodies on my platform.  

    – Minimum site functionality

    – Minimum marketing

    – Minimum coverage area 

    In the Agile development jargon this is the barebones sprint or whatever it is called.  Yes, all those things, subscription fees, listing fees, buyer points (a buyer with more points will have greater weight for his reviews), etc etc, need to come in.  BUT… NOT NOW.

    NOW?  Now you need to get it out there.  Get ready to code and recode for the next 2-3 years before the core features and functionality of the site stabilizes.  

    All the best.  Feel free to ping me if you want to hear me yak enthusiastically about why this is such a great idea and bounce off practical issues that you need to solve to get out of the gate.  

  20. Hi Parul,
    This seems to be a very interesting idea. Pls focus on students living out of their homes also and try to keep the membership part simple.
    Would definitely love to order some home cooked food from homechow in the near future.

  21. Thanks for taking out time and responding to my idea. Great to know I have a buyer in queue 🙂

    I am working on getting this out asap and believe me it will be as simple as I can keep.

  22. Hi Parul !

    A great idea indeed … I would just like to tell you about a few things , which I experienced  as an user of a similar service.

    Last few months I have been helping my mom set up a ” home- kitchen”  using imly.

    My experience /learnings –

    1) Today’s buyers are pampered- they always ask for home delivery. For a seller , who has just stepped into this new venture, and is not sure where he/she is  heading to, having a dedicated delivery person from the start , is not economical….  are you planning to provide delivery support? 

    2) How does a buyer order today?- calls up X restaurant, asks for home delivery and food is delivered at the doorstep  within 30 mins to 1 hr. Where as  the “home- kitchens” have a minimum lead time of few hours ( if not days!) as , in most cases, the food is freshly cooked as per the order. Hence, even if you are trying to provide fresh home cooked food, the query to order ratio goes down. How do you plan to tackle this situation?

    3) As rightly pointed out by Perzen, there is a short-circuiting scheme going on – repeat orders are usually received on phone.

    I think if you are able to think from a sellers point of view and find  solutions to the above ,there would be no dearth of sellers….( I would be the first one to jump into) and believe me-  there is never any dearth of buyers.

    All the best from my side !!

    -Sanghamitra

    sbjayant(at)gmail(dot)com

  23. Hi Parul ,

    Myself and my wife Sridevi are  into Bakery and Creamery . Feel free to contact    – cremefraiche2008@yahoo.co.in

    Regards,

    Kiran N.Bolantkodi

  24. Hey Sanghamitra,

    Thanks for taking out time and replying to the post.

    I want to create a seller oriented service which connects them to their potential buyers. I have been working of these issues and have devised a system of sorts except for home delivery.

    1. I plan on partnering with local home delivery agencies and provide support to the home cooks but the costs will be recovered from the buyer at least as I start. My first aim is to tackle the snacks and similar foods which have longer life and do not have to be immediately consumed so that both seller and buyers are comfortable ordering and pick-up/delivery.

    2. To order home cooked meal (hot lunch or Dinner) I currently plan on making a week’s advance booking compulsory. this might reduce the number of buyers but it will also make sure that sellers have time to cook and with a  designated amount and location to deliver(if required) they can manage deliveries too.

    3. To take care of the shortcircuiting I plan on introducing a review and point system. Every 100 Rs the buyer spend on site she receives 1 point=1Rs which goes upto 5 when they have ordered and reviewed 25 orders. Sellers have the advntage of being reviewed which will not only add to trust but will also help them sell more.

    To be honest I am still working out the details and trying to get a beta version out. Hopefully I will eb able to take care of the issues .

    Parul

  25. Will sure do, thanks for replying to the post.

    Parul

  26. how are things at HomeChow parul….?!

  27. How r u differentiating from letseat.in or similar sites?

  28. hey happy b’day parul! how’s homechow doing??!!

  29. Hi Parul, did you try to move fwd with your idea? Sites like http://holachef.in and https://mealtango.com are doing something of the sort. Worth checking out. Cheers!

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