[Startup Bharat] Guwahati-based Fooppers promises doorstep delivery of fresh meat, seafood
In 2015, Guwahati-resident Hirak Jyoti Das startedas a restaurant discount coupon platform, but the initiative wasn’t successful.
Later in 2020, Hirak, along with his childhood friend Rahul Anand Kalita, converted Fooppers to an online home delivery service. On offer were groceries, vegetables, and meat.
However, the duo soon realised that groceries and vegetables weren't a promising segment as consumers preferred to buy these products from the local market. However, fresh meat was a category that had the potential to grow, given that good quality, hygienic fresh meat and seafood products were hard to come by in the city.
“The meat that we are having is extremely unhealthy and unhygienic. We think this is the only thing that we can focus on and serve the people with the best quality meat. So we started to deliver raw meat and meat products only from August 2020,” Hirak tells YourStory.
Based out of Kahilipara, Guwahati, the word Fooppers comprises of two words – Foodie and Shoppers.
The startup takes orders via Facebook, WhatsApp, as well as its website.
The co-founders, friends for some 22 years, combined their skills to get the startup rolling.
Hirak, a commerce graduate from GCC Guwahati, has experience in digital marketing and SEO. He worked on the website design and its ranking on Google.
Rahul, a BE graduate in electronics and telecommunications, comes with over four years of experience in customer engagement and customer satisfaction. At Fooppers, Rahul helps to build the relationship with the customer and to create a strong base of trusted users.
Guwahati is a tough market to crack. Hirak says that although people love to order food via Swiggy or Zomato, online meat shopping is a relatively new idea for most consumers.
“During the pandemic, when people had to spend their days without eating meat items because of non-availability in local areas, their only hope was online meat delivery startups like us. Many people of Guwahati, who have never ever tried ordering meat online, gave it a try. Most of our customers were newbies,” says Hirak.
“We started our journey by doing the deliveries ourselves. With Rahul's 10-year-old Honda Unicorn and my Activa, which was borrowed from one of his family members, we have been doing the deliveries from morning 7 am to 7 pm,” he says.
The demand for home delivery skyrocketed during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We both were unable to handle the load, we started to get 30 to 80 orders per day. We asked some of our friends to join us to fulfil the delivery demands. We are now a family of 10 people. Both we founders still do deliveries if there's any need.” Hirak adds.
Business model and growth
Good quality, fresh meat is the startup’s top priority. Speaking about the business, Rahul states that the startup does not store raw products.
“We take the raw meat from GMC (Guwahati Municipal Corporation) certified vendors who maintain the quality as we want, which is hygienic and clean. Once we receive an order we take products from the nearest vendor and deliver it to the customer,” Rahul says.
Apart from meat, the startup delivers seafood and also has a ready-to-eat section with products such as fries, frozen peas, frozen corn, chicken salami, chicken nuggets, chicken popcorn etc.
For seafood, Foopper has seafood vendors in Guwahati. The company's vendors also source these products directly from Orissa, Mumbai and Andhra Pradesh.
Their products are FSSAI certified and the startup is an authorised Vendor of "Assam Livestock and Poultry Corporation".
“On a daily basis we receive 30-50 orders. 60 percent of the orders are placed on WhatsApp, 30 percent on websites and the rest 10 percent on call. Also, in most cases people place the first order on websites and after that they start to order on WhatsApp directly,” he says.
On the startup’s growth during the pandemic, Rahul says that initially, the average order volume was around 500 grams to a kilo, with ticket sizes ranging between Rs 100 and Rs 200.
However, as more people became comfortable with ordering meat online, the average ticket size grew to Rs 500 – 600 and volume has increased to around two-kilogram per order. The startup claims to have more than 680 repeat customers and the founders say "it is increasing every day".
“Now, after building one year of loyal customer base, our average order value is around Rs 2,000-3,000. At the very beginning, per day total sale was Rs 2,000- 4,000, but the second wave of COVID-19 has really helped us to achieve Rs 20,000-50,000 per day sales. We are successful in building trust among people and as a result, some of our customers' average order size is minimum Rs3000 to Rs 12,000,” the co-founder claims.
Competition and road ahead
With a personnel investment of 5 lakh, Hirak says that the startup is still in its early stages and trying to expand its delivery service to all corners of the city.
“Still, we have many parts of the city to cover. We are expanding our service area after area and we are hopeful to cover the entire city by the end of 2021,” Hirak adds.
India’s meat market was at Rs 330 thousand-crore GMV in 2019 and is expected to grow to more than Rs 460 thousand-crore by 2024, according to data from a RedSeer report. Top players in the segment include Licious, Zappfresh, TenderCuts, FreshtoHome, but they do not operate in Guwahati yet.
Hirak believes that newer startups in the segment will only help Foopper grow.
“If some startup with the same idea is doing good and building trust with the customer then it is indirectly helping us. Because customers will trust some more startups like us. Our real competitors are those who enter the mark and spoil the trust we are building by giving the worst experiences,” says Hirak.
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Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti