Cloud kitchen chain Rebel Foods serves fresh and nutritious meals to the needy during the pandemic
In March, right after the nationwide lockdown was announced, India saw a mass exodus of migrant labourers across the country. Every person living from hand-to-mouth was rendered jobless in metro cities, with no food, water, or shelter.
Amidst all this, a foodtech company saw this unfortunate, yet urgent opportunity to do what it does best. Rebel Foods, popularised by its cloud kitchen brands, including Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, The Good Bowl, Oven Story, Sweet Truth, and others, immediately rose to the occasion to distribute meals among the migrant labourers.
With about 320 kitchens operational and delivering across India, Rebel Foods could deliver food across the country even under the current circumstances. The cloud kitchen chain is taking every effort to eliminate hunger among the underprivileged during such bleak times.
“We were fortunate to be classified as an essential service at the beginning of the lockdown, so we were one among the few who had the opportunity to help,” Sagar Kochhar, Co-founder of Rebel Foods tells SocialStory.
Food for good
Rebel Foods, through its food drive initiative ‘Food for Good’ (also known as GiveSure), wanted to eliminate the hunger of the stranded workers and slum dwellers during the lockdown.
“Our team of volunteers got in touch with the Delhi disaster management team and figured a way to help these people,” Sagar says, as he recalls the initial response plan of the company.
Back in March and April, Rebel Foods served close to 86,000 meals under the initiative as a one-time activity with support from various state governments.
Currently, it is distributing meals in cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, as well as Kolkata. The company identifies and serves meals to the underprivileged sections, who have been devoid of the most basic amenities of life.
Providing nutritious meals
The cloud kitchens of Rebel Foods freshly prepare meals that contain a combination of rice and curry (rajma, chole, or dal makhani). These wholesome single-serve meals cost Rs 70 per meal.
“With the added privilege of being an essential service during the lockdown, we also had to make sure that our meals had an added nutritious benefit. Thus, we decided to execute it on a much larger scale,” Sagar explains.
The freshly prepared meals are picked up by the NGO partners or the state government bodies, and distributed and consumed within its shelf-life of three hours. The partners also ensure that the meals are distributed safely, while adhering to hygiene protocols.
Moreover, with additional support from venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital and Lightbox, the company has so far collected about Rs 60 lakh. Rebel Foods’ ‘Food for Good’ initiative is a 100 percent non-profit food drive, and the company aims to provide at least three lakh meals by the end of September.
To date, it has served about two lakh meals to migrant workers, slum dwellers, and daily wage earners, who lost their jobs during the lockdown. Every day, Rebel Foods serves anywhere between 2,000 and 4,000 meals, depending on the needs in a particular catchment area.
If you wish to donate to the cause or volunteer for the same, click here.
Enthusiastic team effort
According to Sagar, Rebel Foods never found the need to hunt for volunteers or additional help. Understanding the benevolence of the cause, many people came forward to volunteer, despite the obvious uncertainty and the susceptibility to the virus.
“Our initiative is completely led by a group of compassionate volunteers who are always on their toes. Our cause was loud and clear – people in dire need of food. So, the zeal and enthusiasm of our team members encouraged a great team effort. Additionally, we are completely transparent about the funds we’ve received, and have ensured that the people are aware of where the contributions are headed,” says Sagar.
Rebel Foods has also partnered with NGOs like Annapurna Movement for Mumbai, CHORD for Hyderabad, Rotary for Bengaluru, and Food Bank for Chennai, to kickstart this initiative across different cities in India.
“Rebel Foods is present in around 35 cities, and we plan to scale our efforts through this initiative. With more than 320 kitchens in India, we wish to expand our geography with the help of like-minded people, who drive the passion to scale up,” says Sagar.
In terms of distribution, the company wants to target people who have no source of income and aims to serve at least three lakh meals by the end of September.
“The core of our existence is to ensure that we are eradicating hunger, one meal at a time while maintaining quality,” says Sagar.
Edited by Suman Singh