Ordering food online is a great idea. But getting freshly made food at one’s door steps is even better. Faasos is one such online app, which home-delivers freshly made food. Kallol Banerjee, Co-Founder, Faasos Food Services Pvt. Ltd., spoke to BE’s Ankita Chakraborty about his venture of integrating technology with food delivery.
Q. How did you come up with Faasos?
A. I graduated from Jadavpur University in Mechanical Engineering in 1995. Then I went to Lucknow for higher studies. This venture was started by me and my partner Jaydeep Barman in 2003. It was more of a hobby for us and back then, we did not take it too seriously. After some years, we decided to take up this venture seriously and we needed to scale it up. That was when we needed the capital and money.
Q. What is the operational extent of Faasos?
A. We have 170 outlets and are present in 15 cities currently. We are in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and National Capital Region, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad. We also operate in a couple of smaller cities like Ahmedabad, Vadodra, Nagpur, Bhopal, Indore, and many others.
Q. How is Faasos different from other food delivery apps?
A. Faasos is not like apps such as Zomato or Food Panda. We set up kitchens, which are not on the high streets but are typically located in bylanes thus saving on rent. We actually make our own food. 100% of our orders are from our app or online. We don’t pick up food from restaurants but have our own food brands and run a pan-India supply chain.
Q. Tell us something about your app and products.
A. Faasos is an original concept and was basically started as a roll chain. We call that product a wrap. The primary ordering facility was the app and we wanted to serve something different. Along with our wraps, we serve many other innovative items. The moment you create an app, you have to make more and more occasions for the app to be used. We celebrate all types of festivals. We have the Navaratri menu, the Ganesh puja menu and many more. At the same time, we also run about five to six new brands from our kitchen. A brand called Behrouz Biryani comes from our infrastructure and is made in the same kitchen but it’s a different product altogether.
Q. What were your initial struggles when you came up with Faasos?
A. Although we were both from engineering backgrounds with no experience in the food industry we did manage to create that saw enough demand. The challenges we faced were more on the people front. We found traditional food and beverage professionals to be too rigid in their thought process and hence decided to hire really talented and driven management graduates. Today, these are the people who are running the company. I think we have been lucky because they placed their trust in us at an early stage of the company’s evolution
The business started in 2003 more as a hobby. The next phase of the company’s came in 2011 when we raised money from Sequoia capital and hired these guys mentioned above.
Q. Do you think capital is the biggest challenge for start-ups in India?
A. I think it is in a way good to struggle for capital in the beginning. You run a tight operation and get to learn. I dont think capital for us atleast has been a major problem. Start-ups should not be too flushed with funds in the first few years. That might lead them to take wrong decisions.
If you have a lot of money then you are not thinking enough and that is what the problem is. But the number of people who are trying to do more things now is much more than it used to be. Currently, the success rate of entrepreneurs is in single digits and is between 5% and 6%. However, there is enough room for everybody.