Way before Swiggy and Zomato, this Mumbai startup replaced your dabba with customised options
If there’s one thing that tops most favourite lists, it’s ghar ka khaana. But busy routines and crazy deadlines often edge homemade food out from our workdays.
Enter Yummy Tiffins, a Mumbai-based tiffin service that allows you to plan your dabba every single day.
The bootstrapped startup was founded by Pratik Jain, Chirag Purohit, and Vivek Kawar in 2009 in Mumbai. The founding trio, who met through common friends, decided to differentiate their tiffin service by making it customisable.
The platform gives consumers the choice of deciding their meal combination, based on preferences and budget. The menu is different every day, but includes some standard items such as vegetables, dal, soups, salads, sandwiches, and snacks. All meals are cooked in rice bran and olive oil.
During his MBA days, Pratik and a lot of his friends used tiffin services from local neighbourhood aunties. Meals would become boring eventually with the same sabzi, roti, dal, and rice combinations.
With Yummy Tiffins, Pratik tried to find a middle ground between a restaurant and a tiffin service.
“In three months, we were serving almost 70 customers every day,” Vivek says. The trio, who have finance and MBA backgrounds, started off almost immediately after college.
Coming from a non-catering background, the biggest challenges were finding manpower and setting up the kitchen.
“During the initial days, Pratik tried the traditional way of hiring like advertisements in the newspapers and through various agencies. Once our initial team was set up,we used to get references from existing workers and their friends and families,” Vivek says.
Today, the team runs a central kitchen in Andheri, and works with its own staff hired through references. The team has now grown to 30 people and uploads monthly lunch and dinner menus. Customers have the option to place orders for as many days as they want.
The delivery is handled by the in-house delivery team in Andheri and Powai currently; Yummy Tiffins has also tied up with Mumbai’s famous dabbawalas.
Initially, the team also started taking corporate orders and events to get volumes.
The catering startup now has over 800 customers, and has catered to companies like Ola, L&T, Bentley Motors, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Maruti Suzuki, TVF (The Viral Fever), Dr Batra’s, and Montana International School among others. The orders, however, are predominately B2C.
The numbers and market
The Yummy Tiffins team refused to share revenue details, but the average order value is between Rs 100 and Rs 150 per meal.
The need for a quick, on-the-go meal is being addressed by many foodtech startups now. Swiggy launched the Pop service in 2017, and Zomato followed suit with Eazy Meals. These offer affordable one-person meals that reach you faster than regular orders. Both cost about Rs 250.
A RedSeer report says the share of dinner orders has dropped from 55 percent to 45 percent in a year. This is expected to further drop as people prefer quick food when they’re not at home.
In 2017, the average order value (AOV) was Rs 400; in 2018, it was Rs 300; and in 2019, it touched Rs 250 - showing a 25 percent dip. However, the quantum of volumes has increased.
Menus are usually curated, based on choices of users in that neighbourhood. For foodtech players, this requires a nuanced understanding of customer demand, trends, and preferences at a hyperlocal level, along with working with restaurant partners.
However, Yummy Tiffins is focused on customisation and differentiation of menus.
Speaking of future plans, Vivek says, “We are keen to expand our services in other cities. We have been approached by many people for franchises and are working on that. We are also coming up with a premium health food service by mid-2020.”
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)