Nepal’s entrepreneurial domain is a voyage. This voyage will bring the enterprises to the widest yet direst sea of opportunities. Tumbling and learning through the opportunities, Nepali entrepreneurs impart their success stories in the domain. Visualizing their stories is an inspiration to stride, a will to cut through the dusk of discard and a way to innovate through the ideas.
Mentioning Rohit Tiwari, CEO/Founder of Foodmario is parallel to the above description. Rohit Tiwari is an engineer by academia and an entrepreneur by passion. There is nothing he has set aside to do for following his passion and unraveling his story will definitely kindle nothing but inspiration.
Based on a foundation of ‘home cooked food’, Foodmario is an online platform that connects home cooks to their customers. According to Rohit, “Foodmario is not only delivering the homecooked foods but weaving a community of emotions through the food we sell. Spreading homely feeling is our motive.”
The Beginning of Online Enterprises
A student of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Tiwari mentions he was always into doing different things since college. As he was advancing in his final semester of the last year in 2012, he started supplying LED lights in the market, venturing on ‘Solar lights’. He pulled of the idea of solar after working on it for two years and launched a business that was based on rearing goats. These enterprises were all online based with a notion of doing something innovative but were not scaling to the level he had assumed.
The Inspiration: Foodmario
With ample ideas in his midst, he took his enterprises to good heights but was not able to scale them efficiently. Intending to learn about scaling his entrepreneurial idea, he attended an entrepreneurship boot-camp ‘Udhyami Seed Camp’. There he met Ananta Saurabh, the CEO of M&S WORKXpro with whom he conversed and learned about the fastest growing businesses- ‘global food delivery process’. Getting acquainted to the ongoing value chain of the food market in Nepal inspired him to transform it.
“We are all following the optimized value chain since a long time. We have pioneer eateries and online food portals but they present customers with commercial foods. The touch of homely feeling is slowly disappearing. It was high time a new value chain needed to be created which vows to people with opportunities. Foodmario is based on this foundation. I really wanted people to utilize their own restaurant, i.e. their kitchen to create new opportunities,” cites Tiwari.
What is Foodmario?
Foodmario is inclined to a womencentric phenomenon as their cooks comprise of women who seek to gain a social market through their food. Retrospective of his mother’s food he indicates: “My mother has an experience of more than 50 years in cooking. She has gained the values of cooking throughout these years because she cooks food every single day. Her values could have adorned themselves by getting a position in the market place.” Foodmario intends to bring people like his mother in order to give home cooks a value in the marketplace.
The home cooks have to follow the protocol set by Foodmario while preparing the food items. From maintaining hygiene in their individual kitchens to using standard oil in the food, the home cooks can set the price of the food according to their will. Foodmario asks them for the photograph of the meal portion so that they could maintain the standards of the food items as showcased in their official site.
In order to be selected as a home cook of Foodmario, the cooks have to qualify the obligations specified. One of the representatives of Foodmario visits the kitchen of the interested cooks to inspect the hygiene, elements used to prepare the food and basic standards of his/her kitchen.
Rohit connoted, “Foodmario is incomplete without the core team of eight members. Babin Poudel manages the customer and cook relationship while Roshan Kalauni contributes to Foodmario’s digital marketing. Our delivery boys are doing an efficient work.”
Rohit specified that in average 15-30 percentage of profit is utilized for Foodmario’s operation and marketing. Rohit shared one of the most interesting experiences of the initials. “Once we had food delivery orders from more than three hundred customers. To complete the compact orders, every one of us had to rush from the office to deliver food. Though we made it a bit late to the customers, our team was satisfied that we could drop the orders.”
The Inception of Foodmario
Before Foodmario, Rohit utilized Facebook to create a group named ‘Let’s Talk Food Nepal’. It was a community of food enthusiasts which restrained the outsourcing of the price and selling the food items home cooks posted in the group but let the customers and home cooks communicate on the recipes they used.
Foodmario was also initiated by Rohit as a Facebook Group similar to Let’s Talk Food Nepal. The group of Foodmario let home cooks post the pictures of their food items in the page. Rohit managed the logistics(price) of the food items and the only investment they did was upon the remuneration of the delivery person. Now, a group of eight Foodmario delivers food to more than 100 customers with a total of 10,000 deliveries since its inception.
“Nepal has a tribe of people who believe in entrepreneurs. Ninety percent of our customers are the entrepreneurs of the country who have initiated their own start-ups. They are the ones who can adapt the entrepreneurial ambience and spread positive feedbacks about the enterprise.”- Rohit Tiwari (CEO/Founder-Foodmario)
Currently, Foodmario faces hurdles in the logistics and timely delivery of their food items. “Before Foodmario I have never seen any person so keen to appreciate home made food. Instead, I have observed their inclination towards fancy food items. Some of the stereotypes of home cooked food not being tasteful enough and home cooks facing fears of mockery for selling cooked foods from home is the major problem we are facing,” asserted Rohit. Most of the times same customer asks for the various food items from different cooks.
Tiwari is precise about the future of Foodmario. In the coming 3 months, Foodmario wants to increase the number of 10 cooks to 200 cooks and delivery orders ranging from 100-150 per day to 2,000 orders per day. With optimistic hopes for future Tiwari indicated that “This is an absolute insane target. But I believe we can do it!”
To the Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Many of us might surmise that startup is a very enticing phase in anyone’s life but it’s the exact opposite for me. It’s been five years I have stepped in the entrepreneurial sphere and these failures have absolutely taught me many things. Sometimes it’s okay to fail. I just want people to know that patience is the key to creating opportunities. Among all my ventures, Foodmario is the finest.
Startups For Better Nepal!
Presented by: Prashant Bhandari& Kabita Sen