Chennai’s latest food delivery app is for low budgets

Living away from family in a new city, the hardest transition to make is giving up home food, for either regular cooking or ordering meals from outside. If it’s the latter, Tovo founder Arun Prashanth B hopes to makes things easier with EAT, a new food delivery app that connects customers to home chefs (or as Arun prefers to put it, homemakers who cook).

The app went live a month ago, after a month of pilot testing, and is serviceable in areas like T Nagar, Saidapet, Guindy, Velachery, OMR, Mylapore, Royapettah, Adyar, RA Puram and Besant Nagar. “By December, we aim to cover the entire city,” he says. During its launch they received registrations from about 135 home chefs. “We have selected 14 so far, based on their talents,” he says.

The menu offers cuisines from Theni, Thanjavur, Madurai and Karaikudi among others. New brands Veetu Dosai by Anusha, Ninaithale Pasikkum by Madhuri Ramesh and Mom Made Chutney by Shyama offer a variety of idli, dosa, uttapam, pongal at prices as low as ₹30. Even the non-vegetarian dishes, like Homely Chef’s kal dosai mutton salna, and Meenatchi Bhavanam’s idli with meen kuzhambu, start at ₹58, and extend upto ₹90.

Need-driven market

Clearly, low prices is how EAT hopes to win over customers. “We are looking at a target market that is very need-driven. People who order because they are hungry, and not just because they want to eat outside,” he says. Which is why, according to him, competition from players such as Swiggy, Zomato and Uber Eats should not be a problem. “Their audience is different, people who use those apps have higher budgets and are choice-driven.”

Chennai’s latest food delivery app is for low budgets

The menu is mainly designed to attract those with lesser disposable incomes and with roots outside Chennai. Currently, they have options such as NRI kitchen by Pradeep Solomon and Between Breads by Rushika Kapoor. Soon, they will be expanding to include menus from each quadrant of India: North, South, West, and East, apart from Oriental and English.

That said, the menu still lacks the large variety that we are used to seeing on food delivery apps.Arun shrugs, “Look, I’ve noticed this: the variety is just to attract people. Ultimately we all end up ordering the same dish from the same place that we like,” he says. He hopes that EAT’s customers will become regulars who depend on it for everyday meals rather than the occasional splurges. Moreover, “these are your home chefs who have their distinctive style of cooking depending on where they are from. Even if the dishes are the same, the taste won’t be,” he adds.

And what about their quality assurance? “We have a team who audits the chefs, helps them get FSSAI certification, and design the menu. Even after a day’s cooking, they have to send photographs of the kitchen so we can check if everything is kept clean,” he says.

As demand grows, the EAT app may find it difficult to keep a tab on the prices, a problem Arun hopes to overcome by connecting the home chefs with the right B2B suppliers, so they can keep their expenses low. As for delivery, EAT right now provides them with packaging material, about 75% of which is recyclable. These costs are also bound to rise, given EAT aims at single meal deliveries.

Arun is optimistic though. Only three months in, he is full of ideas for experimentation. For example, “In the future, we are also thinking of starting order pooling: where you can order from multiple kitchens at once,” he says.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 10:38:21 PM |

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