Conceptualized with an aim to provide young professionals with healthy and global cuisine at pocket friendly prices, Gurgaon based Foodport is a fine combination of food and technology.
Founded by three enthusiastic foodies – Aman Gupta and Prateek Soni guided by Mr. DK Soni, a veteran in the food industry having over 25 years of experience with Taj Group of Hotels, Foodport recently completed a year of operations. Here are excerpts from an interview with two of its co-founders Aman Gupta (AG) and Prateek Soni (PS).
How did the idea for a food start up come up?
The idea for Foodport came up over a phone conversation while we were discussing our respective lunch options – where one of us (Aman) had to choose from the limited options offered at his office canteen and the other (Prateek) had access to a lavish gourmet meal. This disparity in lunches, and lack of quality and variety available to people dependent on canteens made us realize the need for a ‘Foodport’ offering a choice of delicious, healthy, fresh and affordable meals to working professionals. Given our combined areas of expertise – knowledge of food industry (Prateek) and technology (Aman) we thought why not start this ‘Foodport’ ourselves.
What have been your learnings over the past one year and what according to you is the biggest challenge faced by food tech start ups?
AG: I’ve learned so much that it’s hard to put it into a sentence. However, I would say the most important thing I’ve learned is to not give up! Given how relatively easy (when compared to other sectors) it is to enter this industry, I believe the main challenge faced by food tech start ups is over competition. However, as the industry matures and companies start building mindshare and competitive advantages it will become hard for companies without sufficient capital and unique service and product offering to survive and compete.
PS: The last year has been a great learning experience for me. In fact, it will not be wrong to say that it has changed my attitude towards even the most mundane of tasks. I have realised the importance of being involved with all aspects of the business, specially daily operations. I have learned how to get things done, resolve problems and also enable others to do the same.
Considering that currently there is tough competition in the food tech sector, how do you differentiate your brand from the others in the segment?
We differentiate ourselves from the competition by our continuous efforts to build expertise in both food and tech. These efforts coupled with a quality product at pocket friendly prices helps us provide better customer experience compared to either a plain restaurant or a tech platform. Since we are vertically integrated, we can optimise each part of the customer experience – from preparing the food to delivering it to the customer.
Any insights/trends that you have noticed about the food habits of the young professionals that Foodport caters to?
We’ve noticed that people are now open to experimenting with food and trying out different cuisines. They are also less hesitant to try out new restaurants or food joints and order dishes which were earlier available in fine-dining restaurants from these new places. And, we love this change.
As far as general food choices go, young professionals or millennials prefer ordering easy to eat but healthy items like sandwiches, rolls, wraps and salads. North Indian dishes are also a top favourite amongst our regular customers.
Currently Foodport operates only within Gurgaon, are there plans to expand to other cities?
We are planning to expand to Delhi and Noida, and are in talks to raise our next round of funding for it.
Which cuisine – global or Indian, according to you allows chefs the maximum freedom to add their personal touch to it?
We believe Indian food allows a chef to add his personal touch to it. We love experimenting in fusion cuisine. Indian spices always help in adding an extra flavour to these dishes.
What are your favourite dishes from the Foodport menu that are a must try for customers?
AG: I love the butter chicken biryani, so much that I even wrote a blog about it.
PS: Banana Wrap Fish with Ponzu Sauce; Hummus and Shish Touk Sandwich are my favourite items on the Foodport menu.
We would like to hear your views on Foodport via comments.