You go to a fancy restaurant and muster the courage to order an exotic dish. But you have no idea how it will turn out. It is also embarrassing when you cannot get the right pronunciation of the glamorous dish you want to order.
In times like these, don’t you wish there were an easy way out to know how the food will look, what ingredients will be used in its preparation and how it will taste?
Well, your wish is a Delhi-based start-up’s command!
Founded by Monica Narula, Noopur Tiwari and Gunjan Mehrish, Idea Chakki Private Limited has come out with a new product Dash.menu. The objective is simple–to show customers short clips of the food before they place their orders.
Coined as ‘Fideos’ (Food+Videos), it is an evolution from the conventional food menus that display a picture of food items.
Speaking about their idea with The Better India, Monica says,
There is a gap between the diner and the restaurant. Even though customers are willing to try unconventional dishes, a lack of knowledge or hesitation to ask more restricts them. And those who dare to try something new are disappointed if the dish is not what they expected it to be.
Further elaborating the impact of this gap, she says, “This leads to the customer being annoyed and taking it out on the restaurant by giving negative feedback or depriving themselves of trying new dishes.”
Hailing from a content-driven professional background and sharing a common love for food, the trio always wanted to integrate their passion with technology.
In 2015, the founders, who were previously working with NDTV’s food programming and news department, came up with the idea and presented it before industrialist and investor Ratan Tata. Impressed by this one-of-a-kind initiative, he came on board as the seed investor.
Ensuring that the start-up doesn’t pull any strings or favours to establish its product in the food industry, their first pitch was before ITC Maurya Sheraton in Delhi, a rival of the Taj hotels owned by Ratan Tata.
Since then, they have collaborated with 30 brands, including popular restaurants and hotels like Marriott, Le Méridien, ITC, Gajalee, House of Nomad and Depot 48.
More than developing it as a business-driven model, the trio are focusing on empowering customers through the videos.
Before buying any gadget, a customer will Google it to get the best deal. We wanted the same concept in food. Under the pretext of ignorance, a restaurant may fool the customers. This app will eliminate that possibility for sure, Gunjan tells TBI.
Highlighting another positive impact of Fideos, Gunjan says, “The problem of the food wastage in our country is severe. If people order a dish without knowing much about it and dislike it when they eat it, they are likely to waste it. Fideos aim to eradicate this problem by showing the food exactly as it is.”
The revolutionary app is also helping restaurants present their specialties in a unique way.
“Some of our dishes got sidelined on the paper menu. But that changed once we introduced dash.menu in our restaurant. They were great dishes already, but the videos helped us hike the sale of our slow-moving inventory. Now, we can’t do without this app because it truly whets one’s appetite. We got two menu updates so far, and it has been seamless,” says Girjashanker Vohra, Owner of Depot 48.
What’s in store for you?
Timed anywhere between 10-30 seconds, the videos show how a food dish is prepared and where the ingredients have been sourced from. They are transparent and give the customers a fair idea of the sumptuous dishes on offer.
It gives you an option to choose your theme, ranging from ‘Vegetarian’, ‘I can eat everything’ to ‘Classification’.
Next, it showcases the types of cuisines served at the restaurant. On selecting the dish, a video pops up, giving details of the preparation time, ingredients used and a recommendation of the beverage that goes with it.
Take a look at one of their videos.
To make it more informative and interesting, the trio is currently working on adding other trivia about the food item, its anthropology, language options, and pronunciation.
In terms of expanding their model, the team is also planning to venture into Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Pune, along with dreams of going international.
To know more about the app, get in touch with the founders here.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)