Most people, at some stage of their life, have aspired to become chefs. Others just want to break the monotony and eat restaurant-style food at home. But the whole process of selecting ingredients and spending money can leave you at a loss. Thirty-year-old Altaf Saiyed also experienced this while he was trying his hand at cooking; hence, he came up with the idea of Built2Cook in July 2015.
Built2cook is a Hyderabad based ingredient delivery startup, which started with a vision of “making great food convenient”. With its cook box, customers receive fresh ingredients in exact quantities, and a step wise process to make the most delicious food hassle-free. The process starts with recipes provided by five-star chefs (mainly from the Taj and ITC hotels). Once the recipe is selected, a tasting and photoshoot session is held before the ready-to-eat boxes are finalised. The start-up has also designed a ready-to-eat microwavable box which takes only two minutes to prepare.
We pasteurize and cool our products before packing it, this helps increase the shelf life of the product, plus it preserves freshness. The chefs are executive chefs in these hotels. They don’t charge anything from us, but they own equity in Built2cook. These chefs are a bunch of creative guys who love to craft new recipes every week.
Within a span of six months, Built2cook has grown to 40 employees, 10,000 customers and is currently operating in Mumbai and Hyderabad, with 350 to 400 orders and 125 to 150 orders, respectively. The average ticket size is Rs 180 for a vegetarian recipe and Rs 250 for a non-vegetarian recipe.
During the initial two months, the startup hosted cookouts in gated communities and at offices. On August 15, it launched a campaign – eat what you want, pay what you want. The campaign had two goals-1. Let new customers try our product. 2. What would be perfect price for our product?
There were many customers who decided to pay us Rs. 1, but there were customers who actually paid Rs 150 and above. It was an interesting experiment to run, we managed to deliver 200 orders with a kitchen team of four,” avers Altaf.
Altaf holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He spent six years in the real-estate industry working in an industrial park and in affordable housing construction projects in Gujarat and Maharashtra. He was also part of the delegation that represented the Gujarat government in Taiwan and Korea in 2015.
Altaf states that they primarily procure ingredients only from brands recommended by the chefs. However, they recently hired a procurement manager (who has 12 years’ experience in the food industry). The startup has three vendors for procuring vegetables. Seafood is sourced directly from processing plants and all meat products are sourced locally.
“We have a daily supply chain to keep our product fresh and at the same time reduce inventory wastage,” states Altaf.
Today, startups that deliver measured ingredients and recipes that allow home chefs to indulge their creativity are popping up all over the country.
Founded by two IIT Kharagpur graduates Jani Pasha and Afsar Ahmad, Halfteaspoon is a Bengaluru based provides customers with hand-picked recipes that have been tried and tested by them, and the exact amount of ingredients required to cook the dish.
Gurgaon-based InnerChef offers meals in two formats: Ready-to-Eat and Ready-to-Cook. The startup has raised Rs. 11 crore in pre-series A round from investors across the globe.
Built2cook, being a new entrant in the market, has also joined the race and has recently secured a seed fund of Rs. 1.5 crore. Though it is too early to measure the success of this startup, the traction numbers indicate positive signs of growth.