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  • Manika Gupta

Home Cooks in Delhi, NCR offer diverse menus & business models

Updated: Mar 1

From inventory to delivery, home cooks have to watch for many things due to very thin margins

 



The pandemic brought about a paradigm shift in the way people chose to eat. Home cooks surfaced because people wanted to eat `ghar ka khana’ presumed to be clean and hygienic. Pandemic over, home cooks have evolved into a big business with cooks offering various kinds of cuisines, the sheer variety of which could put the best restaurants to shame.


Business models

The business models they follow are diverse. While some outsource marketing and delivery to companies like Homefoodi or Conosh, others share their daily menus on the residential colony WhatsApp groups, to operating entirely out of the social media channels like Facebook and Instagram.



Mayuri, a home cook operating out of sector 21, Noida, markets her food through sector WhatsApp group and specializes in Indian `khana’.





Nina Gupta is also a home cook who also operates from sector 21. She cooks Burmese food, coastal cuisine and specialises in Christmas cakes, fudge and cookies. She also does condiments, preserves and pickles.

 

She supplies to the entire NCR, but her major clientele is in Delhi and Gurgaon which usually have larger orders. Her Christmas goodies have a market all over India.


She said that a home cook does not stock, so they give absolutely fresh. She said, “I will give what I eat”. So I end up working on a lower margin as compared to a restaurant.


She, markets through WhatApp group, Instagram, and social medium, through word of mouth, which works the best for her. Also catering for small specialised events is what she likes doing the most.


Her delivery model is third party through Wefast, Borzo, and Porter. Nina said, "For me, it all started with the fun part of cooking but once economies of scale kick in you have to outsource the delivery part.


Atika Surana who has named her business as `Blissful Sweet Treats’ is based out of Sushant Lok Phase 1. She does pure vegetarian food, north Indian, south Indian, Thai, Gujarati cuisine, customised hampers for special occasions and caters for birthday parties, anniversaries, kitty parties, alongside Indian sweets. 

 

Delivery is still a problem

The Journey of home cook was difficult during COVID. It was very difficult to procure the inventories due to partial or full shut downs. Even the delivery was not easy, though even now deliveries pose a problem

 

For the home chefs who are restricted to the colonies, delivery is still a problem as they have to go around and deliver themselves Mayuri mostly delivers herself within the sector. But many of them who have to deliver to customers outside of their colonies, prefer to use the third party services including Wefast, Porter.

Atika delivers through an app whether Swiggy and Ola for closer orders and Wefast and Porter.


 Pricing


Sandhya Chaturvedi is one of the first home chefs at ATS ONE Hamlet said that pricing is usually a challenge as home cooks operate on very small scale.

Plus, cost of ingredients is much higher for them.  So they factor in the cost of raw material, packaging and manpower. Plus, what sets them apart is the fact that they use the best and most authentic ingredients that don't come cheap. Now overall cost of packaging has shot up. 


In the current situation, delivery cost and increased cost of packaging also add to the prices.





Competition

Another problem that the home chefs are facing is competition, with thousands joining the group. Competition has multiplied with everyone trying new things. Their challenges range from making the prices more attractive to improving the packaging. Some are even sending personalised notes to innovating on other things.


 Did you know even the home cooks have to have FSSAI number?

For home chefs who have a turnover of above Rs 12 lakh must have a Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) registration number. Failure to do so could result in a fine of ₹5 lakhs or face jail time. According to Sandhya Chaturvedi, they have been able to get the FSSAI license. And while most think it is difficult, it is not so. It can be done through a website by submitting a few documents and a nominal fees.

 


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