The food startup's new player: Rocketchefs

By: Amith Rahul             Dated: February 19, 2016

While the food start-up industry is facing tough times in India, shouldn’t this be a reason for deterring new ones sprouting in different corners? Definitely not! Learning from the mistakes of contemporaries and fitting in proper systems revenue and cost effectiveness, the next module of food start-ups will be through food trucks! Yes, understanding the need to be mobile, cost effective and time saving for the consumer, Rocketchefs - the world’s first food trucks on call sets up its first service in Gurgaon.

Rocketchefs is a first of its kind gourmet mobile delivery service that makes great food available immediately, through its mobile food bikes, vans and especially designed food pods. Food lovers can place an order through the easy to use mobile app or over a call, and Rocketchefs would deliver it piping hot, fresh and fast; sometimes even cooked right at your doorstep, giving you an unbeatable fresh food experience.

People residing or working should be quite familiar with the Rocketchefs vans as they might have spotted some on their way to deliveries. They provide lip smacking dishes such as stone oven thin crust pizzas and gourmet kebabs, Rocketchefs aims to expand the variety of food available and take it to the next level by providing them completely on demand.

Rocketchefs is headed by Ram Wasan, who has a rich experience in the world of hospitality and corporate industry, Rocketchefs aims to revolutionize the convenience of restaurant quality meals and home delivery. Having worked extensively with some of the biggest names of the industry such as The Oberoi Hotels, The Manor, Citrus Hotels, Westin (Hyderabad), Marriott (Bangalore), HVS International and Reliance Petroleum amongst others, it has always been Ram’s dream to rise about the competition to provide quality service that makes the customer feel cared for. He has always been mindful of the smallest of elements that goes into making any experience a rich one, and he definitely does not pull any stops when it comes to his first love of food!

1. What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture bringing changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?

Food delivery as a concept is fast gaining popularity in India; given the young working population and consumers' preference of 'eating out' while being comfortable at home. Taking cognizance of the obvious concern faced by consumers during food delivery, namely deterioration in food quality, we decided to work on a concept that addressed these very concerns.

Thus was born the idea of Rocketchefs in October of 2015. Rocketchefs offers stone oven thin crust pizzas with a ‘7-minute oven to table guarantee and aims to be a solution for this gap in the market. According to IBEF, the online food ordering business in India is in its nascent stage, but witnessing exponential growth. The organized food business in India is worth US$ 48 billion, of which food delivery is valued at US$ 15 billion. With online food delivery players building scale through partnerships, the organized food business has a huge potential and a promising future.

2. What has been your most successful form of marketing?

At Rocketchefs we strongly believe that our food quality is our core proposition that sets us apart. The fact that we deliver the food while it is piping hot and fresh, makes us the preferred choice of many food lovers. The word-of-mouth awareness generated by our loyal consumers is the best, and most credible, form of marketing.

3. What was your mission at the outset?

The Rocketchefs’ concept has evolved the combination of technology and fine Dining Cuisines experience at the consumer’s doorstep. It is formed on a strong technological backbone and back-end support. We aim to become an ecosystem of food vans and food bikes on call. We visualize that these vehicles are manned by independent operators which are able to attend to their local markets as true entrepreneurs. At present we have 3 of the specially designed food vehicles and 5 more are under production. We aim to build social entrepreneurship by entering into the franchise model, thus providing an impetus to budding entrepreneurs across urban centers.We have been operational for more than two months now and we are growing at a pace of 40%. From the second week of our operations, we received a tremendous response from customers and achieved operational breakeven. Driven by customer response, we aim to have around 25 vehicles in the coming year.

4. What service(s) or product(s) do you offer/manufacture?

Our inaugural menu includes lip smacking dishes such as stone oven thin crust pizzas and gourmet kebabs. We aim to expand the variety of food available and take it to the next level by providing our customers completely on demand. We shall soon be launching interesting options as korma sandwich, korma coffee, etc.

5. How do you advertise your product/service? How important do you think social media is in advertising your services?

At present since our area of operations is Gurgaon, we undertake focused below the line marketing activities that help us tap our target audiences better. Social media plays an integral role in reaching out to our consumers, and more importantly, engaging with them. The brand has a presence on social media through which we communicate our offerings, new developments, etc. and also seek active feedback.

6. What’s your company’s future plans?

We want to saturate Gurgaon first and then come to Delhi. In next three months we are trying to have 25 vehicles with us to expand our reach in other parts of Gurgaon. In couple of years we will be expanding our business to Mumbai, Chennai, & Bangalore, where we aim to have around 250-300 food vans on call.

7. What made you choose this type of business?

Before starting Rocketchefs ,I spent two decades of my career in the hotel management industry and have worked in key leadership positions. Often I think being an entrepreneur isn’t a neatly planned out decision, instead, the moment picks you. This certainly was the case for me, because being an entrepreneur can be one of the hardest things you will ever do. My love for food inspired me to venture into this business.

8. If you had one piece of advice for the beginners, what would it be?

It is very essential to understand the market that you intent to operate in, and conduct a need-gap analysis to estimate the potential of your business idea. And one must always remember that it is not just a novel idea, but a feasible business concept that would sustain in the long run.

9. Can you explain the working of “RocketChefs”?

Rocketchefs is a progressive evolution from food delivery to food being cooked at your doorstep! Our concept has evolved the combination of technology and fine Dining Cuisines experience at the consumer’s doorstep. Our easy to use geo location based mobile app enables consumers to look-up the food van closest to them, choose a dish, and with one click finalize the order. The differentiated experience of Rocketchefs is actually being able to locate a food van closet to them, along with the ease of placing an order for delectable food, which provides us with the edge over other similar food service providers.

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