In a telephonic conversation with Restaurant India, Sai Priya Mahajan, Co-Founder, Eatlo explains how difficult it is for an entrepreneur to decide on daily changing menu.
As you have raised second round of funding recently. Where can we see those investments being used?
We will use that money to grow the team, to make our platform better, hire more smart people who can solve problems. We will put this money in improving tech platform.
Eatlo operates with a network of about seven chefs from where it sources food. What is your expansion plan in terms of getting more chefs on board?
We are never going to bring more chefs as we are working on selected number of chefs only. In few months we may bring around two or more chefs only and will train according to our need. At present, there are nine chefs who are working for Eatlo.
As you have disclosed that with the fresh round of investment you will increase delivery locations to 20 from seven last month, what is the progress so far?
We are already in 18 locations and we are going to launch one or two by next week.
What is your view regarding the way people consume food has changed entirely in India?
People have become more adventurous in terms of type of food. Initially people use to eat mostly Chinese and Indian but now they have developed a taste for other cuisines like Mexican, Italian. People have become more aware about different cuisines like Thai etc and they even appreciate other cuisine and love to explore them. So in terms of taste it has definitely changed and they can differentiate things. Now the range has become wider.
How do you change your menu daily. What all is required in designing menu?
We basically understand that people don’t want to eat the same food daily. We are working towards recreating people’s kitchen. Consumer wants variation daily, like I can’t have the same Rajma Chawla even if you have 30 things in the menu. The food should be made in a hygienic place, not spicy, good quality oil is used are basic things that we ensure. We also maintain a sort of change every day to give something new daily.
We only have five to six options and we make sure those options are super tasty and healthy. And then we view people response, how quickly how many units got sold that helps us. We crack data; make most decisions from the data and the customer feedback. That makes it a very simple process.
What is the main reason that Bengaluru is turning into a food-tech hub?
I think people are much more aware here about whole startup and ecosystem. It gives confidence to others to start up. People here are willing to experiment new things. Bengaluru is an adventurous place, people frequently eat out. So, there is lot of demand. And there is also supply of people. People are early adopters of startups and even psychology you can start up like others.
What according to you is the top selling menu in Eatlo. What is the revenue generated out of it?
At Eatlo, not one is the winner. There are lot of thing which we make is very unique or regional special like Karele ki sabji, Halwa Kari, Dal Bati Churma, Makki ki Roti and sarson ka saag etc and that draws a lot of people to us.
These items sell pretty as much as others. People like to have simple food and in terms of revenue, these products are not different from other.
What are the new techniques and innovation in food you added to grab the customer’s attention?
We definitely make sure that all food is prepared fresh on demand unlike other restaurants, even are ingredient are fresh. We are also reducing wastage by not pre preparing and reusing things. We try to estimate things very accurately and it depends on data a lot and also uses techniques to make sure our predictions are accurate. We are also looking at automating things.
As we have seen lots of chef-driven startups in 2014-2015. What makes you unique from them?
We are trying to fall things in a very fundamental way. If a person can’t buy a food at Rs 200 daily, then we make sure that we offer him something which is buyable to us also. We don’t believe in burning a hole in their pocket. We believe in fundamental things like pack the food, best service that they can get. We are not trying to make a Business model. We ensure that they get food daily at an affordable price and delivered quickly.
What is the main challenge in operating this business? How do you manage it?
One of the main challenges is being able to predict what people want to eat today. The time when we try to predict, the food has been sold out and we can’t meet the customer’s demand. We can’t manage it till now.
What is your expansion plan in terms of locations and strengthening the team?
Team is growing and it will keep growing. And in terms of location, we are entering Gurgaon and Mumbai in next two months.
What is the number of orders that you get presently. And the target in next few months?
Presently, we are getting 1400 orders in a day. And our target is three times of this within a month.
In terms of revenue where do you stand today?
This is something I can’t reveal but we are doing really well.