What if your neighbour has cooked pasta for lunch while her neighbour has rustled up a Nizami biriyani and you had the option to order in both piping hot at your workplace?
That is no more wishful thinking now with ‘Million Kitchen’, a brand new mobile-based home food discovery and ordering platform that enables home cooked meals to be delivered at the doorstep.
“Say my mother has cooked amazing pasta today and your mother has cooked mutton curry. Anyone in a 5 to 7 kilometre radius looking for mutton curry today can just go and search and in three clicks order the pasta or the mutton. The app is available on Anroid only and the menu changes everyday,” says Vimlendu Jha, Founder and CEO of Million Kitchen.
The mobile application which operates on the principle of “hyperlocal homemade food on the cloud,” is an enterprise by the Delhi-based NGO Swechha and allows women hailing from various socio-economic backgrounds to earn money using their cooking skills.
The idea for the technology enterprise began as an idea for a program called ‘Lunchbox 17,’ where women in a specific slum of Delhi were approached and asked to cook meals, which Swecha, a city-based NGO would then help sell.
“We were thinking on how to organise a dabba system, which offers affordable home cooked food and developed the ‘Million Kitchen’ app, where my mother or your mother or aunt or household help can just click a photograph of what she just cooked and post it on the app,” says Jha, who also heads the NGO.
After the success of this idea, the NGO decided to scale up the venture on to a mobile platform that could be used in a number of other locales.
“The reason it is called ‘Million Kitchen’ is because anyone and everyone can be a food entrepreneur. Every dormant kitchen is a resource lying underutilized. Every woman who knows how to cook has a skill through which she can start earning,” says Jha.
For now, only users in Delhi can download the two-month old app and upload dishes they’ve prepared, which can then be purchased and delivered to other app users. The food has to be ordered one-and-half hours prior to the delivery time.
A central kitchen operating out the NGO’s office in south Delhi is tasked with checking for safety and hygiene of meals. The kitchen also offers space to women who do not have access to a good kitchen.
“We have around 20 independent sellers who are a part of the app and we do about 150 orders a day. So we have about 200 dishes listed till now. There are more and more women writing to participate with us and even men are talking to us to get their mothers, wives, aunts involved. We have generated a good interest,” says Jha.
In a month since it commenced operations, the venture is now selling about 100 units daily. Prices range between Rs 40 and goes upwards to Rs 220 and more.
“We follow a standard process where pre-ordered food is delivered to us in the morning and then orders are dispatched according to the demand,” says Jha.
Jha says the venture has spawned several success stories like Poonam Thapa, a professional cook employed at the home of a friend of Jha who assisted her in getting on to the app and helped her fix the prices for the dishes she cooks.
“She began earning about Rs 5000 extra per day but she earns it on her terms operating out of her own house where she is her own boss. Right now we only do 100 orders, tomorrow we can do 500 orders and so every month she can earn about Rs 30,000 or more,” says Jha.