If you’re a foodie then you’re surely going to love our pick for this month’s ‘App of the Month’. Started back in 2017 as a Facebook group, Foodmario has evolved quickly to become a well-established platform for food enthusiasts in Nepal. The CEO and Founder of Foodmario, Mr. Rohit Tiwari was also enlisted in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2020 for his work with Foodmario.
Here’s the complete story on our App of the Month: Foodmario
The Story Behind Foodmario
Mr. Rohit Tiwari, CEO and Founder of Foodmario, was always into exploring ideas from his early days with him having worked on a number of enterprises before Foodmario. He started off supplying LED lights in the market while he was in his final semester in 2012. Although not being a typical student in the business field and having studied Electronics and Communication Engineering, Rohit was always engaged in entrepreneurial ideas. The enterprises he built before Foodmario did decently but never quite measured up to his expectations. Therefore, he was in search of something to take it to the next level.
While in search of the next entrepreneurial venture he encountered mentorship of Mr. Ananta Saurabh, the CEO of M&S WORKXpro at an entrepreneurship boot-camp. They discussed the fastest growing business ‘global food delivery process’ and how an impact could be made in the food market of Nepal. Innovation was always something Rohit preferred so rather than establishing a normal food delivery enterprise that would deliver food from restaurants to homes he wanted to do something new. He knew there were many people passionate about cooking but who weren’t exactly chefs in restaurants.
Moreover, he was thinking about home chefs like his mother who had quite a lot of experience in cooking and could make a great chef as well but for some reason or the other didn’t take it as a dedicated professional. They have the skill and experience for cooking so why not build a platform for these people to be able to cook and sell. Then, the idea of Foodmario arose.
Putting Idea into Action
Well, you can have the greatest of ideas but if you’re not able to put into action then it’s of no use. To put his idea into action and also to test the market Rohit started off slow yet smart. He created a group on Facebook named ‘Let’s Talk Food Nepal’ where he gathered a community of people passionate about food. Here, people would post pictures of food they cooked for potential customers. Mr. Rohit would then manage the price for the deal. The buyers and sellers also got to interact with each other regarding the ingredients used. The delivery and logistics department was outsourced to Mr. Rohit and the team and they would take full control of it by charging some amount.
Running a business isn’t particularly easy. You face challenges when it is not growing and then you face even more challenges when it grows. Of course, you’d probably welcome the challenges that come with growth though.
In the early days, when the concept of Foodmario was just limited to a Facebook group and the idea was new to the market, it was difficult to gather home chefs who were willing to believe in this idea and start selling food they cook at home online. The phenomenon wasn’t really heard of among the people and as exciting as it may sound it can be difficult to get people into trying something new and untested. So, initially, Rohit convinced his friends, relatives and other people who he knew were into cooking to get into this. He was able to gather some home chefs and the community slowly started growing further. Then, there was the problem of finding customers. At that time people were quite hesitant to order food online. It was also a big challenge to convince people to rather order online then eat from nearby restaurants.
After that, once Foodmario started growing and receiving a good number of orders in the Facebook Group itself, there was further a challenge to manage resources to cope up with the ongoing growth. Hence, Rohit decided to create a website and app and Foodmario was formed.
The Covid-19 Impact
Most businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and Foodmario is no exception. Their services had to shut down for quite some time. The number of people in the Foodmario team has also been downsized from a team of 30 to about half of it. Even after reopening, due to safety and hygiene is a major concern among people during this period; the number of people ordering food online plummeted.
According to Mr. Rohit, Foodmario has suffered a 60% decrease in orders due to this. Furthermore, it is now even more difficult to check if home chefs are maintaining the standards set by Foodmario and if they haven’t been infected by the virus which raises concerns among people. The number of home chefs currently offering their services on the platform have also been massively hit. There are now just a few number of home chefs left on the platform. Therefore, to tackle this Foodmario has been adding restaurants and delivering essential grocery items as well. This has helped the platform in limiting the damage and also introduced them to a new vertical. But still Foodmario is looking to find safe ways to reintegrate the home chefs to their platform.
Foodmario is a platform originally established in 2017 with a vision to connect home chefs to potential customers. If homemade and hygienic food is what you prefer then say no more Foodmario has got you covered. You can order what you like from food items placed by over 100 home chefs. Also, recently Foodmario has started catering food from restaurants as well to mix things up a bit and to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. Not just that but now you can get essential grocery items from Foodmario as well. However, Mr. Rohit has said that their main focus will always remain on the original concept of home chefs. After all, the main motive on which Foodmario was established was to empower people through innovation.
You can also choose a subscription and plan your weekly meal as per your liking. So, on Mondays you can choose to go vegetarian, on Tuesdays have a Meat Lovers paradise, on Wednesdays go for healthy food and so on. You can also make a custom package and plan your meal accordingly. The subscription feature allows you to have a set food plan. As per your subscription, Foodmario will deliver you your food. By this, you don’t have to worry about picking your daily meal again and again.
Be a chef on Foodmario
You can also be a chef yourself and post food items you’ve cooked for potential customers. For this, they have the Foodmario Partner app. Through the app, you can apply to become a chef on Foodmario by following a set of guidelines and procedures. As per Mr. Rohit, there are 5-6 enquiries per day to become a chef on Foodmario. The number of home chefs on Foodmario had also reached to a good number of over 100 people. However, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, there are only a few home chefs working on the platform.
There are various health and sanitation safety protocols that have to be followed by home chefs. Foodmario has hired a set of staff to ensure that these protocols are strictly followed and maintained. They send a representative to the applicant to examine proper hygiene of the kitchen and elements used to prepare the food. The price of the food items can be set by the chefs as per their desire. Foodmario also checks the food portion shown in photographs of the food items posted with the actual food so that the standard is maintained.
With this Foodmario has empowered a lot of people by providing them employment opportunities on their platform. If you have spare time and good cooking skills you can easily become a chef on Foodmario and earn some extra income. This in specific has been helpful to a number of housewives to make use of their experience and skills.
What the Future holds for Foodmario?
So, like us, most of you might also be curious to know what Foodmario plans for the future. For this, we asked the man behind Foodmario Mr. Rohit Tiwari himself his plans for the future of the company.
As per Mr. Rohit, the long term vision is to take Foodmario to a global level and cater its services to millions of people. But for this, they plan to achieve short time milestones set on a monthly and yearly basis to take the company to the bigger market. For as to when we can expect Foodmario to expand its services outside Kathmandu Mr.Rohit is optimistic about 2021 being the year for that. They have already added restaurants and grocery essentials to their services alongside their original home-cooked food services. They look to build on this further in the future and integrate them to build a wholesome platform.
Foodmario has grown to become one of the hot and innovative startups in the Nepali market throughout these past years. Our team at Techsathi wishes best for their future and hopes to see more up and coming startups in the market.