How This Engineer is Helping Millennials to Have Healthy Meals

Cooking Made Fun: This Gurugram-based Bootstrapped Startup is Empowering You to Cook in 5 Mins

Shubham Maheshwari - Founder & CEO, Being Chef
Shubham Maheshwari - Founder & CEO, Being Chef

Being Chef provides a one – stop solution for your daily food requirement. Their Recipe kit empowers you to cook anything in less than 5 mins. This startup provides you with all the ingredients (chopped & processed) customized as per your taste with a simple 8 step recipe card. Apart from that if you want to have fully prepared meal which is healthy and yet cost effective, you can order that too from their portal.

They also provide subscription which can be easily managed as per your convenience. It was launched in 1st March 2014 through its Founder & CEO Mr. Shubham Maheshwari.

About the founder
It’s a solo founder company. Shubham takes care of overall management and growth of company. Shubham is a graduate from NIT Jaipur. He was working with a US based consulting firm post engineering.

One day he tried cooking with his friends, as cook was on a leave for 2-3 days. When they tried cooking, they made a lot of mistakes, and ended up cooking something which was not that great.

Though they were following the cooking video on YouTube the entire time, food was completely different from the one in video. That was the time when Shubham started working on the idea of easing cooking to make it fun and hassle free.

Shubham Maheshwari - Founder & CEO, Being Chef
Shubham Maheshwari – Founder & CEO, Being Chef

We are publishing an interview with Mr. Shubham:

Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve?
The main problem that we are trying to solve is the daily food requirement of millennials. Currently, they are facing a lot of issues when it comes to meeting their daily food requirement. Supply of cooks is much lesser than the current demand and time involved in cooking is much higher than what is available with them. Fully cooked food ordered from outside is always a concern as they are skeptical of quality, but they are bound to order it in the absence of an alternative solution. When it comes to cooking the hassle of procuring ingredients in the right quantity, processing them as per the recipe, making dough and wastage of un-utilized raw and processed food compel them to avoid cooking.

Q.: Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
Online food ordering is increasing at a CAGR of 10%. Most of the millennials are ordering food at least thrice a week, from outside which clearly shows that their daily food problem is unsolved. Also, if you will see the data of health department of India, diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart attack, etc. are increasing at an alarming rate in youth, because of the unhealthy food. Also, gym lovers doesn’t find a solution which is cost effective yet solve their hassles of eating healthy food daily.

Being Chef Logo

Q.: What is your USP?
Only we empower you to cook any dish in 5 mins and 8 easy steps, as per your taste preference, with zero hassles in entire process.

Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Our target group is millennials who are always short of time and want a convenient solution for their daily food. It includes people from 22-35 age group, who can be single, staying with friends, staying in PG or a newlywed couple. We have served 4,00,000+meals till date.

Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??
I started this venture when I was just 23. In Initial days, we used to be little rigid and afraid of taking bigger risks, because of which we lost a few opportunities in the starting 3-4 months. But, within an year we overcame that and took a huge risk of serving 17,000 + people in a single day at 5 locations simultaneously. It was a very challenging task as the operations were quite complex, but because of our fantastic performance, we were given the same opportunity for consecutive years too. So, I learned that you should never be afraid of taking risks.

How this Gurgaon based startup is making millennials healthy

Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Our product is economically priced. We are in volume game and are a brand for masses with the quality being served like that of classes.

Q.: How did you get your first customer?
We visited a mall and explained our concept to a few people. We were lucky enough to get the first customer within 3-4 mins. of starting of this process.

Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
We are a bootstrapped company. We have successfully and profitably bootstrapped for 5 years with 2 Cr of investment from friends and family.

Q.: Is there any interesting success story? If yes, please write about it. ?
There are multiple success story in our journey, but the best one was to turn this venture profitable. We wanted to create a sustainable and scalable business model. We kept on experimenting a few things and we finally achieved profitability. Also, our team of 25 people stayed together through all thick and thin in this journey.

Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
We will transform and disrupt the way millennials consume food. We are working on a few things which will solve the current problems on both the ends: consumer & producer.

Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? Please explain in details:
We have a run rate of 2.5 Crores and have served 4,00,000 + meals till date.

Q.: What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
Our company has a vision to make people healthy by managing their daily food. To make your body and mind healthy, 70% role is being played by food and 30% is by the exercise (70/30 rule). We want to take care of the entire 70% for you.

Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members.
Our advisory board is very strong. It consists of people from different background and experience which helps us in overall management and growth:

  • Mr. Rajeev Maheshwari – IIT Kharagpur, 1986 – Industrialist running various companies across the globe
  • Mr. B K Maheshwari – CA, CS, 1986 – Expert in audit & accounting
  • Mr. Sanjay Kothari – CA, CS, ICWA, 1986 – Expert in corporate advisory
  • Mr. Rajiv Pratap – IIT Kanpur, 1993 – Serial Entrepreneur & alumnus of prestigious IBM Watson Research Centre, US
  • Mr. Mrigank Pratyush – IIM Calcutta, 2012 – Expert in Sales & Marketing
  • Mr. Avinash Taparia – CFTRI Mysore, 1993 – Expert in food & nutrition

Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Right now, there is no direct competition in our space. Indirect competition is with cooks that we hire for our household. But our value prop is much stronger than what they offer.

Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months?
We have to scale up in NCR and create a model which is sustainable at entire city level.

Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Every idea is a great idea. What matter is the execution and perseverance. Sometimes all the things are right but the only thing which move against you is your luck. There are multiple factors which will decide your company’s future. Some can be controlled by you, but most of them would be out of your control. The only thing that you can do it is “To keep on doing it”. Success or Failure, both will evolve you as a person.

Q.: Any other information you would like to share?
We are a DPIIT, Govt of India recognized startup.

Thanks Shubham. Best wishes!