We have to eat food to survive, and it is our tendency to crave for luxurious experiences each time we order from a restaurant. But when you see the same menus repeatedly popping on the restaurant menus, you get into a boring relationship with food. And the experience worsens with delivery delays, lower quality of food, etc. What if you could get to experience a different menu each day, with freshness intact?
FreshMenu, the Bengaluru-based online restaurant and delivery service, aims to solve this problem by providing fresh food with great delivery. It offers a variety of cuisines with highly experienced chefs and a daily changing menu.
FreshMenu was founded in 2014 by Rashmi Daga. Prior to launching it, Rashmi headed the Sales at Ola Cabs and was the Founder of Afday.com. She is recognized with many prestigious awards such as ET Prime Women Entrepreneurship Award and ET Facebook Women Ahead Award.
FreshMenu began its journey as an app-based food-tech company in 2014 in Sarjapur, which is connected to Bengaluru’s IT clusters. The positive response led the startup to open a second kitchen in Indiranagar in early 2015. “In Indiranagar we rocked it from day one,” says Rashmi, which gave FreshMenu the confidence it needed to grow. The startup, along with Swiggy and Zomato, was one of the key survivors of the foodtech crash of 2016 that killed several startups like SpoonJoy, Dazo and TinyOwl, among others. However, it still has to compete with deeper-pocketed Swiggy’s cloud-kitchen business, which the company is focused on expanding further. The cloud-kitchen is entering the ‘farm-to-fork’ model similar to Zomato’s HyperPure.
FreshMenu operates on a Cloud Kitchen concept where food is cooked specifically for delivery, and home delivered. FreshMenu’s motto is ‘Believe in Good’ – it strongly believes in the goodness that good food leads to. FreshMenu keeps a low inventory. Staples such as rice and noodles are delivered twice a week, while fresh produce, vegetables and meat arrive once in two days. Special ingredients like lobsters and salmon are ordered in limited quantities, depending on upcoming menus.
FreshMenu keeps up with consistency with its special spice mixes which is sent to all kitchens. Chef Tilak Vel, Director of the team of chefs who form the New Product Development team at FreshMenu, says his team is “working at the pace of (creating) 60 new main course dishes every month”. This ensures the menu never goes stale. The company manages 99 percent of its own delivery, staying away from third-party logistics. Operating out of hyperlocal kitchens means its food and customers are always in a 4-km radius. Currently, the startup is serving Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and other nearby locations.
In the past three years, the company has grown to 27 kitchens with 18 in Bengaluru, 5 in Mumbai and 4 in Delhi/NCR. Its staff of 550 and another 700 delivery personnel (hired through an agency) together fulfil about 13,000 orders every day.
Over the past 18 months, the company expanded its offerings to include healthy packaged snacks and a range of spicy, traditional Indian food combos. Recently, it also included ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook food items on its menu, including fresh meats and marinated meats. During the Covid times, the company came up with its Quarantine Powermeals offering, which is low on oil and sugar, with high nutrition bites of goodness.
In the past year, FreshMenu has started a loyalty programme called FreshClub and a mobile wallet, FreshMoney. It also recently began FreshPass, a ‘meal pass’ that can be used for future orders while also getting discounts and cashbacks.
FreshMenu is set to add Rs 3.5 crore to its Series B1 round from Lightspeed India, Zodius Technology fund and Vistra India. The company would allot fresh shares to these investors, regulatory filings show. This is the maiden infusion in FreshMenu this year. Last year, it had raised Rs 17.33 crore from Lightspeed, Bunting Family, Ganesh Krishnan, Srinivas Anumolu, Zodius across two tranches. Overall, FreshMenu has raised a total of $25.8M through seven different funding rounds.
The company is working hard on streamlining processes, particularly planning menus ahead of time, and to keep the delivery personnel upbeat.
The FoodTech market in India was valued at Rs.289.36 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach Rs.1,868.19 billion by 2025, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39% during the 2021 – 2025 period.
FreshMenu is set to achieve fresh heights in its quest for food experience innovation.