Staying away from home has its perks and pitfalls, especially for students and young professionals.
One of the drawbacks is surely the non-availability of home-cooked meals. After facing a similar difficulty during his stay away from home, Suraj Kumar Yaduvanshi founded Tiffilo in 2017, to help people get healthy and delicious homemade meals delivered at their doorsteps.
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Speaking to YourStory, Suraj says Tiffilo was founded at his rented apartment in Lucknow along with his Co-founder Shashank Chauhan. Suraj's friend, Shresth Mishra also joined the core team. It now caters to three cities in Uttar Pradesh, including Varanasi, Lucknow, and Alwar.
Suraj, who hails from Gorakhpur, understood the challenge while he was staying in Noida for work. He explains that with Tiffilo he not only aims to help people get homemade food but also empowers homemakers earn their living from the food they make.
The Lucknow-headquartered startup has developed three mobile applications — the main application that helps customer order their tiffin boxes, a vendor app that helps women enlist as cooks, and a delivery service app that helps people join as delivery partners.
It also offers a B2B service named ‘Tiffilo for Office’, where it has tied up with organisations such as Treebo Hotel, Indizel, and My Eco Energy, among others, to provide food in their office canteens.
“We have developed an app where users can order meals that are prepared by homemaker vendors. The nearest vendors enlisted on Tiffilo will show up on the user’s account where one can place the orders,” Suraj says.
The co-founder says that two major factors were taken into account while choosing Lucknow as Tiffilo’s headquarter. “Firstly, I see a lot of potential in Lucknow which targets people and students coming from Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad, etc., for study and work purposes. Secondly, I noticed that very few people launched startups or scaled it big from Uttar Pradesh. I wanted to break this notion and do something from UP,” Suraj explains.
The vendors require an FSSAI registration in order to enlist themselves on the platform. The homemakers, who began their journey as part-time cooks, have pursued it now as a full-time profession, earning up to Rs 75,000 per month, Suraj added.
Currently, Tiffilo has over 100 cooking vendors enlisted across the three cities and does over 1,500 deliveries per day which include food items such as roti, seasonal sabzi, rice, daal, poha, paratha, etc.
“Users sometimes don't like having the same kind of meal every day, so we have provided them with a ‘Switch Vendor’ option which allows them to switch cooks in between. We also have an option of ‘Skip Meal’ for users during their subscribed period for the times they are out, or would not like to eat tiffin meals. This will not only help the user save money, but also avoid wastage of food. They can also opt for non-delivery of tiffin meals during weekends,” Suraj says.
According to him, users need to subscribe to a particular vendor and depending on the cooking specialities they can opt for a period of seven, 15, or 30 days. The starting subscription rate is Rs 60 per meal with zero delivery fee.
He also explains that Tiffilo deducts commission from the vendors, ranging between 10 and 30 percent for connecting them with the clients and providing logistic services.
“Users need to add money into their Tiffilo wallets from where it gets deducted every time the meal gets delivered. The commission money is deducted from the price of the meal, and the rest gets transferred to the vendor’s bank account,” Suraj adds.
Suraj claims that the home-cooked food delivery startup is currently clocking an approximate quarterly revenue of Rs 20 lakh.
Speaking about its operations in the current coronavirus pandemic, Suraj says that the startup is experiencing a high demand amid the lockdown. However, Tiffilo is facing difficulties to meet the growing demands with its current, limited resources.
Scaling up and future plans
Incubated at Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow, Tiffilo had raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding from Abhijit Mittra, Director of AS Software Services (A3spl) in 2017.
The funding, according to Suraj, was deployed for manufacturing airtight tiffin boxes to ensure the food reached the users in hygienic conditions.
“The manufacturing of the tiffin boxes is extremely important to us for branding purposes and gaining their trust. Initially, the food was delivered in steel boxes with chances of food spilling out. With the airtight tiffin boxes, warm food is delivered in a hygienic way,” Suraj adds.
The Lucknow-based startup, at present, is looking to raise another round of angel funding from the same investor to scale up its presence in 10 Indian cities. Suraj claimed that Tiffilo has already started its pilot projects in Bengaluru and Mumbai.
(Edited by Suman Singh)
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