This Kathmandu Based Startup Lets You Order Home-Cooked Meals

If you’re a major foodie living in Kathmandu, you must have ordered your food online quite a lot of times. But have you ever ordered a home-cooked meal?

When was the last time you ordered food online? You probably did recently as there are quite a number of platforms in Kathmandu that take your orders online and deliver the food at your doorstep. Now, when was the last time you ordered ‘home-cooked’ food online? Well, that might come as a surprise to you and you might wonder, “Why would I order ‘home-cooked’ food and even if I wanted to, how would I do so?” And that’s where Foodmario comes into the scene.

Among a number of food delivery services in the capital, Foodmario is pretty much one of its kind; that’s because it delivers home-cooked food and not the restaurant food like most of the others do. With the aim to build a platform that connects home cooks with the consumers, the startup was initiated in August 2017. Currently operating in a closed circle, the service is limited within the ring road for now. But that’s going to change soon as the team is planning to expand the reach. “Our ambition is very high, we want to scale to different parts of Nepal and even outside Nepal someday. And that’s, of course, step by step – first from ring road to outside ring road in Kathmandu valley, and then to different places in Nepal and then finally take it a step ahead to make it international”, said the determined Founder/CEO, Rohit Tiwari.

Rohit Tiwari at NEXT Growth Conclave in Kathmandu.

So, how exactly did Rohit come up with the idea of Foodmario?

That’s correct, the name came from our favorite childhood video game character, the one and only MARIO. “Someone was playing the game right beside me when I was brainstorming about the name for the startup. I thought, ‘why not Mario’ and tried registering the domain name, it was available”, said Tiwari. “Home chefs always have some special recipes of their own. For instance, my mom makes delicious paranthas that are never available in any restaurants. She has been cooking for last forty years, and such experience has to have some value.”

“I realized that every home chef has a food item that they specialize in, and each of them have something special to offer. I thought it would be incredible if I could collect such passion and experience from a number of people and give them a platform. While people might doubt why would anyone buy home-made meals instead of getting restaurant foods when they feel like eating from outside; I believe that the food cooked at a home has a special value. It is not cooked in a commercial space but in home with love and affection. That’s the foundation of Foodmario.”

With currently around a dozen of home cooks in the platform, Foodmario makes over a hundred deliveries on average everyday; and has already made over ten thousand deliveries in last few months. Priced between Rs. 25 to 350, it offers a menu with variety of different food items including regular dal-bhat, roti-sabji, pizzas, burgers, momos, chowmein, pulao, cakes and what not. “80% of our customers are entrepreneurs and different startups as early adopters, and we also do get orders from people from different fields. I have to say that the start-up community has supported us well so far”, said Tiwari.

It’s not the first venture of the 26-year-old entrepreneur who comes from an engineering background. “I have plenty of experiences failing”, he proudly answered when asked about his previous experiences. In last five years, Tiwari started and “failed” at many startups, including a solar company and goat farming. But this time, he is positive and that’s also because of the team he has built. “We have kept the team as lean as possible, balancing the work and the number of employees. Babin Paudel is our Communication Officer and we have two customer care representatives with three interns. As a startup, the structured hierarchy is still to be made, and we are trying to build it as we grow”, he added.

With the target of making over 2000 deliveries a day by mid-2018 and empowering over 200 home-chefs, the team has been working harder than ever. The startup, that currently takes orders via its website, is working on a smartphone app that will come out soon. According to Tiwari, “the app will be one of its kind.”

“The most important part of the startup is the emotional attachment that our customers build with the cooks. And it’s always great to hear the stories of our home chefs who have now got a platform that not only lets them earn money but also pursue their passion for cooking. The stories we are building are so good, that sometimes I get emotional thinking that we are actually doing something really good”, said Tiwari.

Well, Foodmario surely is one of the most promising startups to look forward to this year as it has already been doing wonders. Leaving behind over a thousand startups from the region, it was among the top 10 Impact Startups and top 5 scaleups in Asia Pacific.

And also, they surely know how to advertise as their online ads are always very witty and entertaining.

Oh, almost forgot; if you wish to be a part of the FoodMario team, you are welcome – if you can really cook. They are always looking for new home cooks who can put some new items on their menu. Connect with them on their website, Facebook, and Instagram.


Neeraj Pun (NEO)

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