This Bengaluru-based home chef is using WhatsApp groups to popularise home-made food
She studied fashion, but fate had other designs. When Sital Garodia moved to Bengaluru from Kolkata in 2009, little did she know that she would be running a successful business as a home chef, less than 10 years later.
Today, Sital runs Homestyle Food mostly through her two WhatsApp groups where more than 300 people have joined to have a peek at the delectable menus for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner that she broadcasts every day. Those who wish to order can do so through private messages to her WhatsApp number.
“My friends used to compliment me a lot on my cooking and on a whim, I started catering homemade food in my apartment complex in Cooke Town, four years ago. Little did I know that mostly through word-of-mouth, my WhatsApp would be flooded with orders,” she says.
Being the only person in her apartment complex to cater homemade food, she had a distinct advantage. She turned it into a viable business opportunity, communicating with her customers over WhatsApp, and four years later, she manages over 60 consistent orders every day, with more during the weekends.
Starting with a basic roti, dal, sabzi meal, Sital has gone on to introduce various items for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks – all vegetarian. Her daily menus rely heavily on seasonal ingredients and she places emphasis on both quality and nutrition.
“I understand customers have diverse tastes, so I don’t repeat the menus often. Moreover, I try to include a lot of seasonal vegetables and offer dishes like makki ki roti and sarson ka saag, and gajar halwa during winters. During summer, I make sure I use mangoes,” she says.
Shital majorly depends on WhatsApp for her menus, orders, and to facilitate delivery.
Multi-tasking for business
Sital cooks these dishes from her home kitchen with the help of three staff who help with the meal preparation. She sources the ingredients herself and spends the entire day cooking and catering to orders via WhatsApp. Her husband also chips in with the cooking process and with taking photographs for Home Style Food’s Instagram page.
Her dishes are quite affordable starting at as low as Rs 50. She claims to have profit margins of 30-40 percent every month and says business has grown by over 10 percent since it was launched.
“I am happy when I get messages from customers saying that they loved my food and when they keep ordering again and again,” she says.
The pandemic has seen orders go up with people opting for nutritious, homemade food.
“While I do cater for small parties and gatherings, I would also like to scale my business and partner with ecommerce platforms like Swiggy, which I plan to do after a year,” Sital adds.
(This story is part of a series spotlighting extraordinary, inspiring women from different walks of life for the See Us, Hear Us campaign powered by WhatsApp for International Women’s Day. You can read more such stories from the month-long campaign here.)
Edited by Diya Koshy George