In focus Foodies in the city have less reason to worry about traffic jams and crowded restaurants
For those of you who haven’t yet discovered that one Chinese take-away place that you will never grow tired of, ordering food home involves some tough decision making. A decade ago, having food delivered to our doorsteps was a luxury but the perfect consumer in us demanded more variety, accessibility and convenience. In providing these benefits, the internet has made picking and choosing what to eat a task in itself. First, you decide what you want to eat, and then you pick a place which delivers that, place the order and wait hungrily for it to arrive. However, most places don’t deliver round the clock and to every area. What’s more, once you place your order, you realise you need to make a trip to the ATM to pay for your food. Yes, it’s a tough life but FoodAsura.com; a website that was launched earlier this week aims to make things a little easier for you.
FoodAsura.com is an online food delivery portal, which allows the user to order and also settle the bill for food directly from the website. Furthermore, it also allows you to pre-book tables in your favourite restaurant. In co-founder and foodie Varun Bandi’s case, necessity was, in fact, the mother of invention. “I used to live in the UK where ordering food online was the cheapest and most convenient option. So when I moved back here in early 2012, I felt like something was missing. This was before sites like Khana Express were launched,” he tells us. An MBA graduate, he worked for a similar website in the UK from which he has borrowed a few features.
The website acts as a link between customers and restaurants that already have home-delivery facility. As in the case of the Dominoes or Subway websites, the restaurants are filtered by location, items you pick are added to your shopping cart after which you can complete the order and pay online. Right now, they have over 140 restaurants from all over the city listed with them.
“Our aim is to get all the restaurants on the site but most of the major areas have been covered,” says Varun. The wide choice in restaurants, he says, is the USP of their website. “We also don’t burden the customer with any delivery charges and we have restaurants that deliver for a minimum order of as low as Rs.250 and you also have the option of ordering below the minimum charge with a nominal fee,” he adds. The site operates from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. “We are adding a pre-order option next month so one can place an order an hour before the restaurant opens for business,” informs Varun.
Booking tables is another feature the website offers. “Popular places like Coco’s or Tabla are always full, and once you set your mind on food from Tabla, for example, you only want to eat from there and not anywhere else. For a small charge of Rs. 30-50 depending on the restaurant, the site lets you book a table. The money is reimbursed to you when you pay the bill or cancel the booking,” explains Varun. Why not call the restaurant directly? “Listed restaurants have at least three tables on hold for us so the chance of getting a table is higher if you book through the website. We also have offers according to the season,” he replies. In return for this, the restaurant benefits greatly from exposure to a new client base through the website.
To add to the foodscape of the city, Varun, along with his brother and co-founder of FoodAsura.com Vamshi Bandi, plan to launch a food and wine magazine.