As authorities continue to crack down on unhygienic eateries across the country, HomeFoodies.pk aims to be one solution to the problem. The website clubs 'good quality' and 'clean' home-cooked food with the convenience of home and office delivery.
The start-up — currently operating only in Lahore — is connecting foodies looking for 'ghar ka khaana' and women who are passionate about cooking and baking but are unable to reach consumers directly.
HomeFoodies.pk was founded in Lahore in early 2015 by close friends, Rana Waleed Asmat and Adeel Noor. Since July, the entrepreneurs have been a part of Pakistan’s largest tech incubator, Plan9.The founders say their experience with Plan9 helped pave a roadmap for the company, which includes the roll-out of their operations in Karachi in the coming months.
The founders are enthusiastic about the potential of their business and growth opportunities but are navigating a highly competitive market, making the most of the expertise that Plan9 has to offer.
So how does HomeFoodies work?
Many women have chosen to share their culinary creations with consumers in specific localities, mainly through interaction on Facebook. What Home Foodies is looking to do is host all the best home cooks on a single, easy-to-use platform for web and mobile users.
As their tagline promises: The idea is simple: “you cook food, we do the rest!”
All that is required of aspiring chefs is to enter their contact details and ‘favorite food to cook’.
Home Foodies will then contact that person for verification and additional details relating to the chef's output capacity. It will also dispatch a quality assurance team to assess the aspiring chef's kitchen in order to ensure hygienic conditions. Each chef will be given a unique identity on the service.
For consumers, the service lists out all chefs available who can cook a particular dish, along with prices. The start-up employs its own delivery team in order to ensure timely food delivery, and relies on their own mapping system to estimate the time required to pick up an order from a chef and deliver it to the consumer.
Literally anyone can register as a chef on Home Foodies although the company primarily targets women in order to empower them to generate incomes. There is no restriction, which is somewhat worrying as some may look to game the system, and even a quality assurance team may be tricked.
As with any start-up, the first year of operations is critical and whether Home Foodies will be able to offer their ‘chefs’ enough incentives to continue operating under an umbrella brand beyond a point, without defecting to a competitor, is entirely up to their monetisation strategy and how well chefs are compensated.
There is no doubt about the potential of entering the food delivery market in Pakistan, as evident from Foodpanda’s impressive growth and success. In order to remain competitive against pre-existing big players, all vying to win over consumers appetites, Home Foodies plans to educate the consumer and encourage healthier eating habits. This model has fared well for health conscious start-ups around the world.
In view of global trends, if Home Foodies attracts enough users in Karachi and Lahore, it could become the next Pakistani start-up to successfully raise funding and expand.
Food delivery start-ups have attracted billions of dollars in investments from Venture Capitalists across the world, last year. Many of these VCs now consider Pakistan to be a high potential market, owing to its high rate of mobile penetration and the recent roll-out of 3G and 4G networks. Let's see how Home Foodies fares.