Neel Shah — A Serial Entrepreneur and Founder of HobbyCook
Open the website, click a few buttons and — voila — within an hour, lip smackingly delicious home-cooked meal shows up at your lunch table.
That’s the premise of Ahmedabad-based HobbyCook, one of the many startups trying to change the way we eat. Its aim is to deliver healthy meals cooked by home chefs and to hungry users within an hour.
In this latest episode of D’Podcast, HobbyCook founder Neel Shah talks about his life, his previous and current startup.
Neel Shah is a serial entrepreneur with Engineering and MBA Degrees. He has more than 10 years of experience including 4 years in Food & Nutrition industry. He was responsible for Business Alliances & Growth Strategies in his previous organisation.
A few excerpts from the conversation:
Abhishek: Would you like to tell something about HobbyCook?
Neel: At HobbyCook, we aim to be the home food market for the Indian customers who are based in India or outside. We try to give them access to all regional within. A Gujarati residing here or a Tamilian residing here would not get authentic Tamil food or a Hyderabadi food so we trying to connect them to these ladies who make it at their own home and these are all very interesting food items they can get access to.
Abhishek: So you are talking about home chefs?
Neel: Yes. HobbyCook stands for home chefs. We give them a platform to showcase their skills. A lot of home chefs don’t get platform to market themselves. We do the sales, marketing, delivery all for them and they just have to cook at their own home.
Kuntal: How can anyone join HobbyCook as a chef? What is the approach? And How does it work?
Neel: It is a very simple model. We have link of “Become a Chef” on website. They just have to enter their name, contact no. and few other details there. We call them up within 10–15 days and go and meet them, check their kitchen then try out few meals and then finish the formalities and get them on board. So there is no charge as such we take from any of our chefs. We got inquiries from 160 to 180 chefs but we only got 40 on board.
Kuntal: How do you ensure the quality of the food?
Neel: Before getting home chefs on board, we do our own checks and for lunch typically for a month we retain one of their meals out of the total number of meals. It is like a quality sample we retain just for checking whether everything is fine.
Abhishek: Which is your favorite dish?
Neel: Nachos and Salsa! We serve that to lot of people now.
Abhishek: It’s called Mia Kappa right?
Neel: Yes. We have now changed the name to Quicky. It will be all the cup and dip option.
Abhishek: What is your competition right now and how do you differentiate yourself?
Neel: Anybody who cooks food and supplies food is actually a competition. We are focusing on quality and that is our entire pitch.
Neel: “Making money is fun but building a community is an asset”.