A few days back, I was browsing the website of Powai Lake Ventures when I came across a startup called Bite Club. The name seemed familiar. I realized I had read some ‘negative’ reviews about it on a group called Gurgaon Foodie.
There was a time when I loved eating out but over the last few months, I have severely cut down on eating out, primarily on account of reducing unhealthy eating.
Plus with the recent spate of ‘food startups’ in India, I was inclined to give Bite Club a miss. However, the negative reviews got the better of my curiosity and I decided to check it out.
While browsing through the website I came across a variety of pre plated meals by local chefs near my location. I was about to exit when I chanced upon ‘Bihari Dal Pitha’
For those of you who may not know what a Dal Pitha is, it’s the the UP / Bihari equivalent of a momo…it’s kind of a steamed in boiling water patty made with rice flour and filled with a spicy dal filling and served with green chutney. Pretty healthy stuff and not a dish you will find in restaurants.
I decided to take a chance and order it. I also noticed Appam and stew and added it to my cart. Bite club’s website was buggy so I downloaded the app and my order was placed in 4 simple clicks.
The order arrived within 30 minutes and the cost of my meal was a grand Rs 220. (Yep, including delivery)
It was a fantastic experience and solved a very specific problem for me – Eating a variety of stuff without the unhealthy experience and individual sized portions.
The next day, I ordered Dal, Bati Choorma (a popular Rajasthani dish) – It too was perfect and I was hooked. My wife wasn’t very happy though 😉
It almost became a ritual to daily check Bite club for “aaj naya kya hai khane me”..No, I didn’t end up ordering daily.
I loved the experience so much that I got 3 friends to try out the app…Not like send them a link but pull our your phones now and install the app. They too loved the concept.
While Bite Club positions itself as “WHOLESOME MEALS FROM TOP CHEFS AROUND YOU” I think it has the potential to become really huge while benefitting all stakeholders.
Here is how it works:
1.) It ties up with local chefs (in an area and they are approved only after their food quality has been taste checked by the Bite Club Team
2.) When a customer places an order, the BC team collects the order and delivers it.
Most of the ‘chefs’ are homemakers who are passionate about cooking and this gives them a platform to not only do what they love doing but also make money.
For customers, they get home cooked food at very affordable prices.
Bite club provides the platform and takes a cut.
It’s a win-win-win for all three stakeholders and I think it has immense potential to solve a specific problem and make the world a better place, especially for the chefs, users and itself.
Not all is hunky dory though.
- Sometimes, the food can be a bit bland / or very oily – We ordered multiple dishes for lunch one day and the chicken dishes didnt have salt (The irony of this is that the dish was cooked by a ‘Professional Chef’) and keema as floating in oil
- Portion Sizes are ‘small’ compared to take out orders from restaurants – This is where a majority of the complaints are from users. However, for an individual, I felt the portion sizes were just about right.
- Since products are produced in limited quantities, a lot of meals get sold out pretty quickly.
Since they startup is less than a year old, hopefully they will sort out the teething issues
And here is some unsolicited advice for BiteClub if someone from their team is reading it:
- Your website and app are both a bit buggy, especially the website.
- Communication – One of the reasons I check Biteclub everyday is to check what’s new on offer. Maybe you can do a better job of featuring different meals from a variety of cuisines to get people to try different stuff. E.g. your fb page could be more visual with meal photographs
- Add calorie counts to your meals if possible. You can use this to justify your smaller portion sizes by saying that a smaller portion is healthier for you.
So how can they make the world a better place ?
It’s like Uber – which started out making cab services cheaper for users but the bigger beneficiaries were the drivers who started making more money and seeing a better quality of life. See how much some Uber drivers are making in India here >>
Similarly with Biteclub, while users like me get home cooked food at affordable prices, I think the real winners will be the home chefs who will get an independent identity of their own while earning money too.
of the week!!