[Startup Talk] Interview with the founder of TastyKhana.com

Are you a foodie, like me? Do you like to try different food from different places? We have found something for you! You can order your favorite food from your home using laptop or mobile and food will be delivered to your doorsteps in next few minutes! Yes, TastyKhana.com is a portal for all foodaholic people like me. We took interview of Shachin Bhardwaj, founder of TastyKhana.com to know more about their portal. Here is an excerpt from the conversation.

Who is Shachin Bhardwaj?

Shachin Bharadwaj
Shachin Bharadwaj,
Founder, TastyKhana

Shachin holds a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E) degree from the Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Pune. Before building his own entrepreneurial project, TastyKhana.com; Shachin was associated with Synergy India.

An aggressive entrepreneur and a people person, Shachin founded TastyKhana in 2007. TastyKhana.com has emerged as one of the leading online food ordering portals in the country and continues to grow by the day. TastyKhana.com is headquartered in Pune.

Shachin is a first generation self-motivated entrepreneur and is always striving to deliver quality service to his team and customers. His dedication and sheer persistence has helped TastyKhana to reach where it is today. Shachin is a firm believer that no idea is good or bad and it is the execution that finally matters.

The aspects of his personality that reflect truly in TastyKhana today are transparency, honesty and high standards of work ethics.

Who are faces behind this startup?

Shachin Bharadwaj and Sheldon Dsouza are the founders of TastyKhana. Based on a personal need, Shachin decided to start this service in late 2007. Sheldon, who was his classmate during engineering days, also loved the idea and thats how it all started. Their roles are currently split as CEO (Shachin) and CTO (Sheldon).

About Sheldon

Sheldon holds a bachelor of engineering (B.E) degree from the Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Pune. He previously worked with Azingo software and then moved on to join Shachin to start TastyKhana.

Sheldon is techie at heart and is the key person behind the entire software architecture of TastyKhana. His focus always has been on how automation can help scale the business faster. As a technology company, his vision is to ensure seamless ordering experience for customers and restaurants.

What is TastyKhana.com? What’s the idea and concept behind your startup?

TastyKhana

TastyKhana.com is an online food ordering service. The idea and concept was based out a personal need for Shachin. In 2007, there was very little information about restaurants on the internet and Shachin was a regular at ordering food in office. So every time you wanted to order food, you need to hunt for numbers, menus, offers etc – this activity was very cumbersome and manual. So Shachin started building an excel sheet, which had complete details of all the restaurants around his office. This excel soon became popular among the office staff and everybody started using the same for ordering. Very soon the excel started floating outside office and thats when Shachin realised that, this information if published on the web, would be really helpful. Next step was to accept orders online and this is how it all evolved. So from 10 odd restaurants in Dec 2007, with 3 people, today TastyKhana is present in 8 cities, with 4000+ restaurants and has catered to approximately half a million customers till date!

How much time and money did you invest in this venture?

The seed capital was Rs.200,000 of which we spent around 1 Lac for buying laptops. This was our full time job and hence the time investment was all hours of the day in which we were awake.

Tell us about the revenue model of your startup.

Primary revenue model is the commission we charge from restaurants for the business that we generate for them. Some other sources of revenue are via advertising and subscription fees.

What’s the stats of your startup?

Above 5 million orders delivered till date, 4000+ restaurants, presence in 8 cities, will generate business in excess of INR 10cr for financial year 2013.

Which challenges have you faced while converting your idea into reality?

When we started TastyKhana we had no clue on how to run a business. Right from building a website to getting a business account was new to us.

Especially in our line of business we needed to be available all seven days from 10 am to 11 pm to provide customer support.

Now, we being just a 2-person team, the challenge was immense as we had to manage everything in parallel. Apart from operational challenges, the other difficulties we faced were lack of support from friends and family.
The fear of failure runs so high in our tradition that, everybody wants you to be in a so called ‘safe job’. So you work against all odds to ensure you survive. Finally monetary constraints were always there, for the first 3 years we were always 1 or 2 months away from bankruptcy.

But the pressure to pay your dues by end of the month, makes you deliver wonders!

Which is the major challenge you are facing right now?

Scaling with great operational efficiency is our biggest challenge

What is failure according to you? Have you tasted it? If yes, share your failure story.

Failure is when you decide to give up without a fair fight or effort. There have been numerous failures in our journey. When we started off, we had this dream of being a big hit from day 1 and why people will love our service and restaurants will be more than willing to pay us money to make us rich :). Within six months of starting off, we had made zero revenue and were one week away from bankruptcy and shutting down. So we had the option to shut shop or decide to live another day. We had some luck on our side and we managed to survive to tell this story today :).

So from my definition of failure, we have not failed at TastyKhana because we did not give up and gave it our best to make this work. This has luckily worked and we continue to work on this with the same passion.

What’s your future plan?

We want to be the clear market leaders for food ordering in India. If you want to order food, you will think of TastyKhana.

What’s your success mantra?

Perseverance!
If you put sincere and dedicated efforts to achieve something and have the perseverance to handle the highs and lows, success will not elude you.

What is Entrepreneurship according to you?

Entrepreneurship for me is making people’s life easier in anything that you build.

Which message would you like to give to upcoming entrepreneurs?

Believe in what you do and don’t get swayed by opinions. The more number of people label you as a fool, the better you are doing. Nothing is an overnight success, if you are driven by glamour of an entrepreneurship tag, then stay away. It will take you years of non-stop grind to achieve a small level of success.

Next time you order food, try TastyKhana.

Well, sure. Our readers would definitely love to try out TastyKhana.com. We wish you all the best for your all future endeavors.

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