This husband-wife duo’s foodtech startup is catering home food to parties and empowering women
While running their IT firm in Kochi, Faizal M Khalid and Sunitha Faizal came across one pressing problem – the unavailability of catering services delivering home food.
“We had about 150 employees, and the large team regularly organised birthday parties, anniversaries, and project success celebrations. We would order food from hotels, which didn’t prove to be a healthy option. That’s when my wife suggested we launch a platform, which would comprise a network of women home chefs catering to small and big events,” says Faizal M Khalid, CEO and Co-founder of Celebees.
The husband-wife duo launched Celebees in 2019. The Kochi-based startup is a marketplace for home cooked meals, snacks, and beverages, and also provides party accessories to meet the celebration requirements. It is built on a collaborative economy, focussing on homemakers.
What does it do?
Celebees helps women take the entrepreneurial route without facing any major challenges like initial investment, marketing expenses, lack of experience, and so on.
The startup caters homemade and hygienic food in bulk to corporates, small, medium and large office parties like birthdays, anniversaries, success party, retirement, first salary, annual day, and all festivals. It also caters to home parties, pre-post marriage parties, and other festivals and get-togethers.
Apart from Faizal and Sunitha, the team comprises of Nizam MN, Nadeem Hussain, and Shinto Mathew, who were part of the parent company which was previously run by the couple.
The initial challenges
According to the founders, their initial challenge was to ensure it maintained the hygiene and quality, and provided variety and tasty food at the same time.
For that, the startup conducted auditions and invited interested homemakers to bring a variety of dishes for sampling and tasting, and a panel of Celebees authorised chefs evaluated the food and shortlisted the best out of them.
“This is happening almost every week, and there are some frequent house visits to the chef’s home to ensure quality check. At the same time, we are conducting classes for quality and hygiene. We also insist all chefs to take FSSAI certificate and other tests to be part of the network,” adds Faizal.
Another challenge was to ensure initial tractions, which they could get with the help of their parent company - Maplitho Solutions.
How does the app work?
The customers can book their orders through the Celebees app. Once the order is placed, the details will be automatically forwarded to the Celebees chef app with the order list to the chef and the Celebees support team.
The Celebees CSR confirms the order with the chef, and the app automatically starts countdown to both chef and the startup's team.
Close to two hours before the delivery, the order is created and notified to the delivery boy who coordinates with the chef, and the app will navigate the delivery boy from the chef’s home to the customer’s place.
“We started our journey on July 24, 2019, and we just finished our first quarter with a revenue of Rs 6.8 lakh with a monthly revenue of Rs 2.25 lakh. Our early tractions seem to be very promising with 1000+ app downloads, 100+ parties, 2500+ meals booked, 500+ home chefs joined in the Celebees network, 81 percent recurring users and four lakh plus user engagements through social media,” says Faizal.
Model and competition
The startup follows a B2B model, and each ticket size starts from Rs 2,500 and goes up to Rs 1 lakh.
A report by National Restaurant Association of India placed the market at Rs 4.23 lakh crore in 2018-19, and reported that the market will touch Rs 6 lakh crore by 2022. Of this, the B2B segment holds a large chunk.
Apart from Celebees, some of the other B2B foodtech players operating in the space include Hungerbox, which currently operates across 18 cities in India, including Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Goa, Gurugram, and Guwahati, among others.
Some of Celebees’ clients include Cochin Port Trust, Aabasoft, YM Automotive, SBL Corp, Toobler Technologies, Naico ITS, iHits Technologies, Britfort Academy, Spectra Infotech, Phases Technologies, and the High Court of Kerala.
"Our Motto is to generate at least Rs 15,000 to 20,000/month to every woman in each family, and we are planning to add more verticals to our business like homemade spices, fashion, etc.,” says Faizal.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)