Foodmario is nothing new to Kathmanduites but they have moved far beyond their initial mission of just helping people order their favorite food with just a touch on their devices. They are now into creating communities that come together for socializing over food and to empower each other. Unlike other online food portals, Foodmario delivers homemade foods to your doorstep. Household chefs can now showcase their healthy, home-cooked fares, tweak their recipes on the basis of feedback received, work according to schedules that suit them, expand their market in line with their capacity and discover the entrepreneur within them.
Rohit Tiwari, CEO/Co-Founder of Foodmario, is an engineer turned passionate entrepreneur. He began his entrepreneurial journey while in his final semester in 2012, by supplying LED lights to the market and then ventured into ‘Solar lights. He then got into another business of contacting goat farmers on an online platform and making money out of that. However, every time he started something new, he would inevitably end up getting into something else, since he found running a business a bigger challenge than starting one. Finally, it was when he attended an entrepreneurship boot-camp ‘Udhyami Seed Camp’ when he learnt more about the food delivery processes that helped him decide to give it his peculiar zing to it.
When asked about the inspiration behind the startup, Rohit says, “My mom has been cooking for me since I was a child and her food is no less than a professional chef’s and that’s because of the passion and love that she puts into the food she cooks. She has skills, experience, does her work, but she has never contributed financially to the family or probably she never got a chance to do it. With Foodmario, many other women like my mother will be able to make their own financial contribution to their family right from their homes.”
However, he also believes that as an entrepreneur, it’s very important to understand the perception of other people as to what they think of your plan since different people have different ways of responding to your ideas. He used a Facebook group called ‘Let’s Talk Food Nepal’ which was a community of food enthusiasts which would restrict the revelation of the price and selling of food items that household cooks posted in the group. But it let the customers and home cooks share their recipes. Foodmario was also initiated by Rohit as a Facebook Group similar to Let’s Talk Food Nepal. The group of Foodmario let home cooks post pictures of their food items on the page. He personally managed the logistics (price) of the food menu and the only investment involved was the cost of hiring someone to deliver.
Today, anyone who cooks food can be a Foodmario partner, all you have to do is download the Foodmario partner application, click the pictures of the food that you want to sell along with your preferred price. This way you can in fact start your own food business without the pressure of start-up investments and other hassles. Rohit guarantees quality: “Customers can be fully assured of the quality of food they order from Foodmario as we send our food inspectors to every partner’s home to audit the kitchen and assess their hygiene standards, and only after approval from the team, is the partner approved.”
Talking about the challenges he faces, Rohit says, “It was very difficult to convince people to become a Foodmario partner in the initial stages as they were hesitant, worrying about what their neighbors and relatives would think. However, we solved this problem quite easily by telling people that it’s not just about money but also about discovering the entrepreneurial skills hidden within them. In fact, one of the chefs from the company was also included in the prestigious category of ‘Top 7 women entrepreneurs in Nepal’ last year.”
Today, Foodmario has completed 100,000 orders and has received a number of positive reviews and they’ve improved with every step. With more than 150 registered chefs, Foodmario covers a large variety of food items on their menu. There have been occasions when one of the chefs has also earned as much as Rs.1,19,000 in a month. Home cooking has surely been a success as an enterprise and all it took was for Foodmario to string them together.
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