Over the past 12 to 18 months, on-demand services have seen rapid growth, right from delivery of food to accessing services of plumber, beauty professionals, tailoring and drivers all via the web, and through apps. The rise of consumerism and increase in disposable income, and busy schedules are becoming major drivers of the food tech industry in India.
While some startups are trying to solve ancillary problems like logistics and chef aggregation attached to the food tech industry, a slew of them own the entire value chain to get rid of broken experience at the consumer end. One such platform is Mumbai-based BOX8. It’s an on-demand food delivery startup which takes control of every aspect right from sourcing raw materials to food preparation and delivery, by keeping operations in-house.
Our approach has always been customer first. What sets us apart is the fact that we own the entire value chain, which also may be the reason why we have over 80 per cent repeat customers.
Traction, USPs and growth of BOX8
The brainchild of Anshul and Amit Raj, BOX8 currently fulfills over 2,500 orders every day across Mumbai. Unlike aggregating food from multiple kitchens, BOX8 does food preparation at its delivery units. This helps it to ensure freshness and integrity of food. Amit adds,
The entire product preparation is broken down into multiple steps and designed meticulously to ensure consistency, scalability and great experience in delivery. For instance, only skilled independent processes are done at the outlet (which do not require any cooking on gas) to ensure consistency in each order.
The rest of the skill-dependent processes are done at the backend. All purchase and procurement of raw materials is also centralised to ensure consistency in quality.
The company has been consistently maintaining a growth of 25 per cent- 30 per cent on a monthly basis. Anshul adds,
What is most satisfying about this growth is that all of it has been organic, through word-of-mouth publicity. As of now, we have not put up any hoardings or done any marketing.
Hiccups on the way
General challenges of this industry are food inconsistency, late deliveries, broken experience while placing the order etc. Since BOX8 owns the entire value chain, it has better control on the overall length of every order. “We have used technology extensively to automate a lot of the fulfillment process. At present, we are able to monitor the entire life cycle of an order – from order placement to delivery. Going forward, when our new app is launched, the customer himself will be able to track this entire process,” says Anshul.
Data analytics help mitigate errors
The company analyses data to make process modifications that will further enhance the experience. Amit explains,
At present, there is less than 0.5 per cent error rate on service concerns; the idea is to bring it down to zero in near future.
What’s in the box?
BOX8 has designed products and processes to ensure food which reaches the customer looks appealing, tastes great and is piping hot. Amit adds,
We have a strong team of chefs for product development which ensures every food item tastes the best and will appeal to the preference of the masses.
The deliveries are made in designed boxes to ensure minimum spillage and good protection of the content it holds. On an average, BOX8’s customers transact three to four times in a month and it’s trying to optimise average transaction frequency to eight to 10 times per month in the near future.
Teamsize, funding and future plans
The company has a team size of 450 people, out of which 50 are part of BOX8’s core team, comprising IITians and also in-house chefs from ITC and Marriott. In the future, the company will foray into the top five cities - Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi.
In May this year, Box8 had secured Rs 21 crores in series-A funding from Mayfield Partners. Anshul concludes,
We will double our core team from 50 to 100 in the next two months, and add eight to 10 times the number to our field staff.
The company is looking to attain 10,000-order mark by the end of this year and also aspires to reach Rs 500 crore GMV mark in next 18 months.
Food is one of the biggest opportunities in India and if we look at developed markets there are multiple multi-billion dollar players in the food segment. Given the pace at which Indian economy is growing and the busy schedule of the working professional, ordering food is becoming the need of the hour.
At present, the food delivery market in India is worth USD 1.6 billion growing at 30 per cent every year. Besides BOX8, startups like Spoonjoy, Bengaluru-based Fresh Menu and Gurgaon-based FRSH amongst others are evangelizing the food tech space via their own kitchen.
BOX8 appears to have an upper hand over food delivery networks like Swiggy, Roadrunnr and Quickli as it keeps control on theentire value chain (from food preparation to delivery). Importantly, in-house food preparation usually helps food-tech startups to snap up a healthy margin over startups which focus only on the delivery part. Besides hyperlocal and e-commerce, food-tech space will be an enticing segment to watch out for.