[Startup Bharat] Jaipur-based SaaS platform FUDR is enabling restaurants and F&B brands ride the digital wave
Restaurants in India still majorly rely on traditional practices — physical menus, manual ordering, and ad-hoc marketing.
For smaller players, these limitations pose further challenges in reaching and retaining customers. Even last-mile logistics aggregators charge hefty commissions and prevent restaurants from opening their own direct-to-consumer routes.
Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic proved that running an F&B brand today is far beyond just managing a kitchen and a restaurant. Brands need a strong presence on social media and a robust digital infrastructure to gain deeper customer insights.
Realising a business opportunity in these gaps, brothers Aayush and Akshat Khandpur, along with Prem Lokesh and Shobhit Marwah launchedin late-2019.
Based in Jaipur, FUDR is a SaaS startup that helps businesses engage with customers through multiple digital channels. This also helps F&B brands learn more about their customers and run data-driven marketing.
“This structured approach is mostly limited to big chains like Dominos and Starbucks. We are bringing the same level of technical sophistication through a no-code platform for small and medium F&B outlets in India,” Aayush tells YourStory.
Building a ‘Shopify’ for Indian F&Bs
Aayush, Co-founder and CEO of FUDR, says, “We often say we are building the Shopify for F&B. Our platform allows restaurants to build their own direct to customer channels, know them better, build data-driven retention and retargeting programmes, and outreach new customers through targeted digital marketing all through a single no-code platform.”
FUDR’s suite of tools aims to help restaurants grow online. Restaurant owners start their onboarding journey on the platform by providing basic details through an online form. Then, the startup configures their menus, building a digital version of the restaurant.
Business owners can share the link to their online restaurant with customers on social media, Google Maps, and WhatsApp, and start receiving orders from these channels. For restaurants with dine-in options, the startup also sets up QR code-based digital ordering.
FUDR aims to build an ecosystem around how restaurants interact with customers. This involves four key steps.
- Digital Ordering: In the first phase, it is helping F&B brands build and own digital D2C channels.
- Guest Insights: FUDR is bridging the information gap between restaurants and customers, providing data-led insights for better understanding.
- Retention: The startup helps businesses grow their loyal customer base by building data-driven loyalty/membership programmes and retargeting campaigns.
- Outreach: It helps brands reach out to new customers through digital marketing.
Through omnichannel digital ordering and QR-based table ordering, FUDR enables businesses to generate more orders and winning repeat customers. The startup claims that it has also helped restaurants increase their average ticket size.
Further, it has helped these outlets in rightsizing the staff, saving money on menus, and reduce average turnaround time.
Revenue model and audience
With a team of 15 members (including the four founders), FUDR’s revenue model is a combination of transactional plus subscription fees. It offers three key plans — Basic, Plus, and Supreme — ranging between Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 per month.
The Basic plan helps restaurants create digital restaurants; the Plus plan allows businesses to add services to help with knowing the customer better and start data-driven retention and retargeting programmes; the Supreme plan further adds services to build the restaurant's brand and outreach through targeted marketing.
Aayush states that the startup’s GTM strategy is 100 percent digital, and FUDR is currently focused on inbound requests and marketing campaigns on Google, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook to acquire customers.
“We are also building active connections with bloggers and influencers in different cities and doing partnerships with POS systems and restaurant associations. We are on track to add 300 restaurants per month,” he adds.
Statista data reveals that the Indian restaurant industry has seven million players in the organised sector and 23 million in the unorganised sector, providing FUDR with a substantial market to work in.
Aayush claims the startup doesn't have direct competitors in India. Instead, it considers US players Chownow and Olo as its competitors, while domestic players Dineout and TAGTALK offer some services similar to FUDR.
At present, the startup is working with 800 restaurants across 80+ cities. It claims to be clocking $3 million in annualized restaurant sales on its platform.
FUDR works with restaurants in Tier I cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Tier II and III cities like Jaipur, Nagpur, Chandigarh, Saharanpur, Siliguri, J&K, Pondicherry, among others.
“Even outlets from remote places at 12,000 ft near Kedarnath, or small towns like Kekri (Rajasthan) and Thekkady (Kerala) are using our platform. It goes much beyond the metros. Brands Like Golden Tulip, Radisson, and Playboy, to famous mom-and-pop outlets, are using FUDR as their digital backbone,” says Aayush.
Funding and road ahead
In September 2021, FUDR raised a funding of $280,000 in its Pre-seed round through US-based accelerator programme Expert Dojo. The round saw participation from angel investors such as Aditya Sanghi (Co-founder and former CTO of Punchh Inc), Shashank Deshpande (Managing Partner, Pentathlon Ventures), and Dilpreet Sidhu (CEO of Mind Merchant and Co-founder of Lawrbit).
Commenting on FUDR joining Expert Dojo, Brian Mac Mahon, Founder CEO, Expert Dojo, said,
“As an American growth accelerator, we have firsthand seen how this model grows and we will bring this playbook to FUDR’s strategy. We believe that FUDR will grow to become the go-to digital link for F&B establishments in India. The founders have a proven track record and their GTM plan is flawless. We look forward to being an important growth partner to FUDR.”
“We have more than doubled the number of restaurants on the platform in the last two months. By the end of this year, we are targeting 2,000 brands, and are chasing 50,000 in the next few years,” adds Aayush.
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Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta