Over the past few years, clean eating has become the new mantra. People are more conscious about their health and the food they eat. This has given way to people preferring home food over restaurant food, choosing to have food that is light on the stomach yet packed with nutrients and not food that is loaded with oil, butter, cream, and other taste enhancers.
It is this trend that inspired Parvathy and her husband Rakesh to conceptualise and start Tastejet, an online platform bringing healthy, homemade food products to the people of Kochi. Tastejet was set up taking into consideration the demand for healthy food and an eagerness to bring the comfort of home food to the public, and ever since its inception around a year ago, there has been no looking back.
On what inspired her to start this unique venture, Parvathy says, “There are a lot of deals and offers for dining out. However, this brings a decline in the quality of the food provided. Food adulteration is high and there is large scale inconsistency when it comes to taste.”
The need to bring a change to this was the main motivation and along with the blessings of her parents, who used to run a small catering set-up and the support of her husband, an entrepreneur himself, Parvathy started this venture with one home-chef and subsequently increased the strength to where it is now with twenty five home-chefs.
All the orders are taken through the website, www.tastejet.in – a very simple, user-friendly portal. The products are divided categorically depending on the meal type. Veg and non-veg meals, Chappati and curry, and flavoured rice are a few lunch options while Dosas, Kappa with Fish Curry/Beef Roast, Chappati and curry are a few dishes that are available for dinner. You also have Cutlets, Burgers and such as snack options. They also sell various miscellaneous food-related products like pickles and spice powders. Apart from these, different varieties of salads are also available, which Parvathy says, have a huge demand and is very popular among the client base.
Special care is taken to source pro-organic vegetables and specific instructions are given to the home-chefs to use only homemade masalas for the food preparation. Customer feedback is given high priority and the home-chefs are given ratings based on this, which ensures that the chefs maintain a particular standard and keep up the quality. Random food checks are also done to ensure there is no compromise made on the quality and quantity of the food and everything that goes out is up to the mark. The home-chefs are also provided training on improvising the menu, packaging and quality maintenance. Yet, the home-chefs are given a free hand when it comes to innovations and experimenting with ingredients.
The food is prepared solely based on the orders for the day, which ensures zero wastage of food. Orders are to be placed online, and once the order is received, intimation goes to the respective home-chef regarding the quantity and the meal type ordered. All the orders need to be ready within a specified time frame, which is essential for ensuring that the food is delivered on time.
The site and the app are hugely popular, especially among the student crowd that stays away from home and craves for home food, and non-residents working abroad who place orders for their aged parents back home. If required, bulk orders are also taken. They also have Ayurvedic meal options and other special diet meals, which too are in high demand, with even a few Ayurvedic hospitals placing bulk order for such meals.
When asked about her expansion plans, Parvathy shared her thoughts on widening the business to include non-perishable food items that can be packed and couriered to various places, with a long-term dream to set up the same model business in other cities as well. There have been requests for franchisees too to start the same in various other cities, but for now Parvathy prefers to concentrate on the smooth operation of the business and her immediate plans of expansion.
What started as a medium to connect home chefs and people craving for home food, Tastejet has indeed come a long way in empowering housewives to earn and stand on their feet, and ensuring that reasonably priced homely food is accessible to those who stay away from home. Now, within a year of its inception, Tastejet has captured the true essence that its tagline stands for – “Best home-cooked food delivered near you”.