Many enterprises came to a standstill when the Covid-19 and the following lockdown turned the country’s economy upside down. At the same time, the situation has contributed some jobs to the economy. One among them is ‘Home chef’. When hotels remained closed in the lockdown, many have made the living by selling home-made food. Now, after the lockdown, they are turning it into a business.
About 2,500 people have entered the industry in the past six months. Majority of them have taken the FSSAI license to officially run the business. About 1,500 people have registered on ‘Yummy Idea’, a platform to find home chefs, in five months. Another platform ‘FoodCloud’ received thousands of licensed home chefs after April. The number of platforms such as ‘Foody Buddy’ and ‘Home Foodi’ is growing. It is estimated that there are home chefs in the food cloud who earn up to Rs 2 lakh per month. The Ghost Kitchen platform enables women entrepreneurs to start professional delivery brands. It helps home chefs across cities with brand building, technology, standard operating procedures and capital. Taking orders through local advertising and social media platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook, they are turning their small kitchens into a big business empire. Payment is done through online while they depend upon Dunzo, Swiggy and Wefast for delivery.
‘Kerala Food’ is the speciality of Spice Belly in Pune where Payyoli Chicken Curry and Thalassery Biriyani are hot selling items. Kerala Meals is charged between Rs 60 and Rs 400 depending on the dishes. The Marwari Khana in Gurugram serves traditional Marwari food. There are many such names. The COVID period has helped home chefs establish themselves on a large scale not only in metro cities like Kochi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru but also in other cities. As work from home is the new mode now, the number of people buying food from outside has increased.
For those who used to dine outside during work hours and on weekends, food delivery is now a great relief. According to RedSeer report, the Indian food delivery market is expected to grow to $ 36 billion by 2020. In 2016, it was just $ 15 billion, which indicates the pace of growth. Though not an alternative to the traditional hotel industry, home chefs are set to become an area of great entrepreneurial potential in the years to come.