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Rizwan’s Chefrome – Authentic Home-Cooked food for all

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Rizwan & Chefrome is a Kolkata based online Food-tech company with a mission to make Authentic Home-Cooked food accessible with ease to corporate and individuals.

Food, Women

Rizwan pl give us a Brief Note on Chefrome and its growth story?

Chefrome is a Kolkata based online Food-tech company with a mission to make Authentic Home-Cooked food accessible with ease to corporate and individuals. We promote Micro-Entrepreneurship especially amongst the women population of the country who have the passion for cooking but not the opportunity to get employment, education or financial independence.

We provide professionals and individuals an easy avenue to do SOCIAL GOOD online and contribute towards building a society with EQUAL OPPORTUNITY.

The idea of empowering women originated when I (Rizwan Zaman, Founder CEO) was a child, seeing my mother being dependent on my dad even for a penny. She would wait for breakfast till my dad would be back from his night shift office or for snacks in the evening. In my 10 years of corporate life, I have really craved for Homemade food as I didn’t like carrying tiffin and thought if someone can bring Home-Cooked food to my cubicle. Merging the two thoughts, CHEFROME originated.

Company started with simple objectives of:

  1. Women Empowerment
  2. Employment creation for Mom Chefs
  3. Promote Healthy Eating and Healthy Lifestyle amongst the working population.
  4. Encourage citizens to do social good online and progress towards a gender equal society.

We started with 1 chef in a small locality of Mominpore in Kolkata 5 months back and now we have more than 130 chefs serving more than 1000 customers in over 30 corporate offices in Kolkata. We are targeting a revenue of Rs 10 million in this Financial.

Rizwan, Tell us everything about your company, what does it do? What were the challenges of setting up and scale? How did you overcome them?

The greatest challenge I faced to set up this business was to convince myself to live with limited resources post quitting my job. Getting people to join a startup is tough. You literally have to sell yourself and a dream of the future to get someone to believe in your idea and work with you. Although I am still to scale my business, the challenge till now I faced is not funds but customer acquisition, uniformity in the taste of the food and its uninterrupted supply from Mom-chefs. We even call them Frome chefs. Being profitable was another challenge as there are a plethora of deep discount options in the market.

I have never lied to my team. Never show them a rosy picture. I have always kept things transparent with my team with regards to the growing challenge of the startup and its uncertain future. All they need is motivation to face challenges and a reason to fight. Currently we are a 5 member team. I wish to continue with the same transparency to build on a larger team.

I have been very choosy about finding my customers who will stick with me and non customers who can jump the ship hence Life Time Value of many of my customers are high with less cost of acquisition. This has helped me trade with a positive net margin and all set to scale.

We have a stringent Chef on-boarding process where chefs join us either part time or full time mentioning their maximum capacity to cook, their cuisine speciality, and other family and household information. This helps us in uninterrupted supply and optimum utilisation of committed Mom Chefs.

Give us a background of your core team Rizwan along with the total strength of Chefrome.

Many of my team members are MBA and Btech with little experience but a lot of strength. I try to leverage my decade of experience of working in Corporates and Startups with the aggression of my young team. I actually have a State level cricketer in my team and I wish to recruit someone from the army as well.

A lot of my seniors that I have worked with earlier and some from the startup ecosystem of kolkata currently helps me as Mentors and Advisors.

What is the business model of Chefrome and how does it work?

Chefrome acts as an aggregator of Home-Cooked food and works on a commission basis. Though we have our own Delivery Executives but we take help of 3rd party delivery services often. Since the 3rd party delivery option is a variable cost, it helps in a lot of cost savings. We take the onus of pick up from the chefs house and deliver to the customer’s doorstep.

Some of our milestones are:

Our greatest achievement is that in just 5 months into existence, Chefrome is now profitable.

Recognitions & Awards:

  • Chefrome was amongst the Top#6 in CONVERGE 2.0 – 13th International E-Summit organised by IIM-C
  • Chefrome was a Finalist in Start-O-Sphere – Annual Entrepreneurship Summit of IIM-K
  • Chefrome was amongst the Top#50 Startups in TiECon 2020 (There were 987 startups from more than 11 states of India participated in TiECon 2020-Kolkata)

What is the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors and what’s your revenue model?

The one thing that sets me apart from my competitors is my Dream. My Dream to build a platform that will help a huge percentage of the population (Especially Women) earn their livelihood, be financially included, build confidence in them and help them lead a better life in many ways.

Being an aggregator of Home-Cooked food, our primary source of Revenue is the Commission that we charge the Home-Chefs for delivering the food. Besides, Food stalls in festivals and events, workshops also add to our revenue.

What are the services offered to the customers?

We offer Healthy and Delicious Home-Cooked Food to customers at home, office, parties, events and festivals.. Besides, we also hold Cooking Workshops.

What is your Future plan? And how do you see your Startup in the coming years?

We soon want to expand the company to other metro cities of India. I could see a lot of challenges in coming years especially because established players are coming up in the domain of home-cooked food gunning down small players with deep discounts. My focus will still be creating my own set of customers and converting my non customers with higher LTV. Market is huge, everyone can have their share of the pie, but the biggest challenge would be retaining that market share with profit.

I could see my company with limited and satisfied customer base, high repeat orders and profit. Profit for my chefs, my people and my organisation.

Finally your advice for Budding Entrepreneurs?

Be personally involved in knowing and acquiring customers (do not ignore your Non-Customers), make profit (may it be very little),and  scale (by getting repeat orders). Make good use of your network. Always think WIN-WIN may it be for your customers, partners or employees. Remember…. you are the chosen one. Not everyone has the privilege to become an Entrepreneur.

Rizwan if there are any Additional Information’s that you feel that are relevant to describe about your work etc…

70% of the women population in the country doesn’t contribute to the workforce, Women are seeking financial independence but cannot leave home. They spend 40% of their day’s time cooking lovely food at home.. Interestingly 50% of these women do not possess a bank account even.

If we the citizens of India start buying from Home-Chefs, it can have a huge impact in the lives of these chefs, society at large and can lead to higher GDP of the country as well.

We can EAT, at the same time FEED these segments of society and ENJOY!

If you want to know more about Rizwan (or) Chefrome you can write into startup@hrdots.com

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