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Logistics Is The Most Important Factor Of Any Food Tech Startup: Anshu Raj, Founder, Caterspoint

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Chef Anshu Raj, Founder, Caterspoint talks about challenges he has faced during initial days and more.

According to many findings, the food and eating habits of the people have inclined towards healthy foods. COVID-19 too gave a reason to be healthy.  

The changed in eating habits of working professionals has given many food-startups to cook that way. Founder by Chef Anshu Raj's Caterspoint is one of such outlets that deliver Hand-Crafted comfort food, a wide range of guilt-free food and beverages to your doorstep in Delhi NCR.

Established in 2016, Caterspoint was started by this young entrepreneur whose objective was to create and serve food that is nutritious, innovative, has low calories and is tasty at the same time. 

In the world of so many different kinds of food, Caterspoint brings out options that are made up of high-quality ingredients and prepared with proper hygiene kept in mind.

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Chef Anshu Raj, Founder, Caterspoint talks about challenges he has faced during initial days and more.

What made you start Centerpoint?
Caterspoint is a futuristic online food-tech startup that has been brought in to the market to give the customers a whole new experience of fine dining at home. The food industry has numerous ways in which it can experiment, and Caterspoint has ensured that a unique concept is implemented. Multiple factors inspired the inception of the company, especially the aspect of food delivery. Most of the apps continually offer a myriad of offers and coupons to attract customers but tend to fall short when it comes to presentation.

Caterspoint is working to ensure that the quality of food delivered is exceptional while also assuring orderly presentation. They emphasize upon the packaging of the products being intact while avoiding any spillage. The firm also intends for the product to look presentable when the customer receives it while also containing high-quality ingredients.

I have observed the market with proper research and development. He then deduced that an ideal company needs a more reliable system to cater to clients and corporate. This is where the concept of Caterspoint struck, which would manage both the principal aspects of B2B and B2C. But this had to be done without disrupting the quality or hygiene of the products. To fill the gaps between the customer and the company, he decided to lower the packaging costs while maintaining the cost of the consumables. The company was started to provide quality with bulk orders meant for family occasions, birthdays, corporate clients, and more. It turned into a novel concept to transform popular yet familiar dishes into something extraordinary. The company caters to diverse cuisines and food products that people tend to choose. This provides plenty of options for every foodie, with 250 types of dishes while also preparing for gifts and giveaways. All the orders delivered to the clients have multiple offers that have built up a loyal customer base.

How different or difficult is it to run your own company when you have already worked with top-notch brands?
When I compare my company and the top brands I have worked with there is a vast difference in the system they follow. Popular brands like ITC, Oberoi are very famous among the people in the market. They have their own rules and regulations which every member of the company has to follow. Etiquettes and communication are well maintained by the staff of the company. I as an individual have learnt a lot through the entire journey of my working days. The hotel industry is very different from the delivery industry. The learning’s and growth is not very exposed. They are mostly fixed on the same menu and not many innovations are welcomed. And while working with a Food tech start-up I noticed a different aspect of the food market. This was based on the only delivery concept. It had its own challenges and drawbacks. I worked as COO [Chief Operating Officer] which made me understand the problems that this industry could face. Presently I have built a company of my own and have inbuilt a system in it. It is not easy to run a start-up. Now I am in charge of the entire operations of my company. I have to understand the customer psychic and their needs to which my company is now working on. It has been tough at times but I was keen to find solutions to all the problems. The difference is that now I am responsible for all the calls in the organization and team building. This will help the start-up to transform itself into a brand and company in the market.

What challenges and hurdles did you face during the initial days?

It is no surprise to learn that owning a startup comes with its fair share of responsibilities that require you to be on your feet. And although it may seem like a dream come true eventually, a food startup owner initially has to go through several months of constant designing, overlooking and perfecting every little detail that comes hand-in-hand with the project.

Amid the numerous challenges that we’ve faced, here are a few that especially take the forefront for entrepreneurs during the teething phase of every project:

Financial

Many new restaurant owners underestimate the startup capital they require to open and run a new restaurant. New owners need large sums of capital to cover the leasing of a building, hiring new staff, stocking the kitchen areas and buying furniture as well as decorations. Most new startups do not turn a good profit for several months, even years, after opening. Established food startup owners can also suffer financially, especially during recessions when they have fewer customers. We have invested our own funds and no investment has been received yet. Still, we are doing a good business in the market though sometimes it seems to be a little challenging.

Team Building
Successful startup owners know the importance of having the right employees; an organisation must be sure to have a good team in place to make it in the hospitality industry. Placing greater emphasis on hiring and training staff can help meet this requisite and will also reduce cost over time.

This often starts with sourcing high-quality candidates, having not just advertised open jobs, but also detailed job descriptions that include specific responsibilities and requirements. Take advantage of the interview; ask candidates suitable questions that allow for assessment of their knowledge and skills, it can provide powerful insight into whether or not he or she will make a good addition to the team.

It is important to keep in mind that once the proper employees are both hired and trained, keeping turnover to a minimum should be a top priority. I have been very rigid in building a strong team and manpower stability is indeed an important task for all of us.

Logistics
The food-tech startup is solely dependent on logistics. This is the most important factor of any food tech startup. As the startup has no dine-in facility the delivery time and lead time is limited. The hiring of riders should be very smart. The riders should be well dressed, presentable and proactive. This has been a challenge in the system because they are the ones working from the front end in a startup. They also have to be updated with proper technology with time.

Marketing
The two unicorns in the market like Zomato and Swiggy have a great hold in the market place. Competing with popular brands is a big challenge and regular marketing is required with well-planned strategies. Hence, marketing is very expensive and it becomes a challenge when you work with your own funds in a startup.


How much investment any food startup needs?
The investment of any startup can’t be similar for all. The capital invested in any startup depends on the vision, cuisine and planning is that is decided to be implemented. Compare to brands that serve regular food, healthy food startups requires more funds to initiate in the market place. High quality and top-notch ingredients, specialized chefs, and separate areas to prepare and pack the food simultaneously. Understanding the breakdown of average restaurant start-up costs can be extremely important, ensuring no stone goes unturned in the process of starting your business.

While some business owners choose not to draw a salary while getting started, you will eventually have to pay yourself – after all, the goal of opening your own restaurant is intended to be an investment that supports you financially. However, the amount you choose to take can affect the money you’re left with and, subsequently, the amount you have to invest in your business.

There are end numbers of food paradise in the area, what stand you apart?
The food industry is a growing industry and every day we see new restaurants coming out to serve the people. When Caterspoint entered the market place it was obvious that I have to make Caterspoint stand out of the crowd. We were sure that we will be serving experience to our clients that are unforgettable. Assured hygiene and top-notch ingredients were the first and most important aspect that we wanted to start with. Apart from taste, it is important that the food that we are consuming is hygiene assured and of high quality. Secondly, our menu that stands out in the market. We have improvised the Mom’s recipe and given it a fusion touch which will make our customers nostalgic. We have innovated recipes that are healthy, tasty and can be consumed by people of all ages. There is something for all. The packaging and presentation of every product are made convenient for the customers. It is easy to carry and deliver without spillage.

We are focusing on the entire health market, though we understand the market itself is small right now and soon it will grow in the coming days. People are becoming more health-conscious and are switching to healthy eating these days.

Have you raised funds from the investors?

As of now, we haven’t raised funds from the investors but always had support from my family and friends in 3 years of our journey.  

What makes your Cloud Kitchen different from others?
Our cloud kitchens are well planned and the set up is strategically decided so that it can be differentiated among the staff. Our kitchens are divided into the hot and cold section. Every section is separated from the other so that there is less confusion. Keeping other factors in mind the Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian sections are kept separated for the convenience of the client’s needs. This also avoids the mixing of orders while the process of packaging is performed.

Being from a Hotel Industry we have maintained a standard in the cloud kitchen keeping in mind the hygiene and quality of the products. The instructions of all our clients are followed and our labelling is so strong that there is an assurance given to all our clients. The Kitchen is designed to create and innovate new products when required. We also bring out a curated menu for all the events and festivals of the year to which our kitchens and staff can easily adapt to changes made in the system. These factors make us different from others.

What are your future plans?
Our future plans are to expand to other cities like Bangalore and Chandigarh. Delhi NCR is a huge and potential market and we haven’t explored it yet. We are planning to capture Aerocity and Noida that has a great capacity of health market and B2B clients.



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