Dil Foods: Constructing a more sustainable restaurant industry

DIL Foods uses underutilised infrastructure and capabilities of small and medium-sized restaurant

When it comes to everyday meals, Indians have a broad palate. It is extremely difficult logistically and operationally for a single-themed restaurant to cater to multi-cuisine requirements. As a result, restaurants either focus on a few cuisines and miss out on a huge target population, or provide a subpar specialised experience.

DIL Foods uses underutilised infrastructure and capabilities of small and medium-sized restaurants to cater to the palates of a much larger target population, while ensuring the entire value-chain is enhanced.

Ms. Arpita Aditi, please tell us about your experience as the Founder of Dil Foods
My journey in the food industry has been filled with opportunities to learn at every turn. Through my work at Swiggy as a National Partnership manager and after that as the co-founder of Nutnbolt, I had chances to learn the daily inner workings of the online food delivery space, along with entrepreneurial lessons that came in handy when I was setting up Dil Foods, my own venture.

Today, my dream of making the food business sustainable, along with helping small and medium-scaled restaurants grow their own presence is becoming real. All our experiments and ideas for the brand are tangible now, and the journey to get here has been rewarding for everyone.My personal learnings also come from interactions with our small restaurant partners.

Listening to their expenses, problems, and struggles were crucial to deepening our understanding of the the gap we are trying to address.It has been a pleasure to watch my idea behind Dil Foods come to life. My team is constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to bringing out the authentic flavors of diverse regions in India, while also raising the standards of our small food business partners across Bengaluru and beyond. I am eager to see our brand become the biggest name in Indian food in the online food delivery space.

How has Dil Foods transformed in the past 5 years, and how does it aim to grow in the next
5 years?

The past 5 years for me, personally, were spent in learning as much as I could about the food industry in India. My tenure at Swiggy allowed me to understand the inner workings of the online food delivery space in particular. After that, I co-founded Nutnbolt, which further deepened my understanding of the online space to work with FoodTech for entrepreneurs and innovative industry concepts.

These rich experiences have allowed me to envision and execute the Dil Foods idea.The idea itself is very simple – addressing a real gap between consumers in cities who miss the taste of their home-cooked food, and small restaurants and businesses that can provide exactly that. At Dil Foods, we act as facilitators in this gap, training restaurants to achieve the standards of quality that we set, and enabling them to better their revenue by addressing the needs of our consumers.

In the next 5 years and more, we plan on putting Dil Foods on the food map of multiple metro cities. While Dil Punjabi and Dil Tiffins are both live in Bengaluru, we are also launching 4 more brands in the city very soon. The earliest launch is that of ‘The Chaat Cult’, our sub-brand that offers chaat curated from diverse regions of India. Once these brands are established, we will be expanding to more cities. We aim to launch 100+ outlets by the very end of FY22-23. As of now,

Dil Food is live on Zomato and Swiggy. However, we plan to build our own tech platform to support orders across all our brands in the coming months. In this journey of growth, our vision has stayed clear – to make the online food delivery business sustainable for all players, while also offering authentic regional cuisines of India. Our goal is to build the biggest Indian cuisine brand in its truest sense.

How did you finance Dil Foods as a startup?
Since we started, we have received funding to the tune of USD 128,000 from angel investors. This funding will go towards our expansion plans not just in Bangalore, but in other cities as well. This funding will also be invested in enhancing our quality standards in terms of packaging, delivery, recipes, and upkeep.

What are your offerings, and what activities do you do to keep your audience engaged?
The idea of Dil Foods is to offer diverse Indian cuisines to our customers. We want to create a sustainable, shared market, where we partner with small food businesses to provide authenticIndian food to working professionals on a budget. Our position in the market is that of the go-to meal across regions of India.

Our audience consists of working professionals who would rather order a meal online than cook it, but are looking for original tastes that remind them of home. The goal is to have our customers return day after day as the best and most viable option for daily Indian meals. Engagement with our audience is crucial to us, as it lets us understand their needs and feedback much better. Engaged customers are vital to the establishment of a durable relationship, and we try to innovate in terms of our methods to engage with them.
Currently, a large chunk of our audience engagement comes through social media platforms, where we try to interact with our customers as much as possible. A great avenue for interaction with our customers is events and gatherings where we can talk to people directly and gauge their response to our work and our food. We listen to their feedback, analyze any issues that they bring up, and implement them soon after. Such insights are valuable to us, and can only be generated through an active and engaged consumer base.
What is the USP of Dil Foods?
Our USP lies in our brand compartmentalization and the recall of our brand. Currently, our model consists of coherent but different brands under the larger Dil Foods umbrella. Of these brands, two are already live – Dil Tiffins and Dil Punjabi, serving authentic South Indian Tiffinsand original Punjabi cuisine, respectively.
Such a clear division helps us cater to the very specific demands of each type of cuisine. We can also analyze the response to each brand individually to evaluate the overall growth of Dil Foods. In an industry where specificity can change the way a brand appears and is positioned, Dil Foods is poised to be the sole player in this space. With our mission to bring back the tastes of India to urban professionals, we have the advantage of specificity. The best part of our work is that it creates not just the availability of Indian cuisine, but also a shared economy, in which our restaurant partners can flourish. I envisioned economic sustainability for everyone under the DilFoods umbrella, and that has been our greatest strength.
How have you managed to survive with the evolving market trends?
Dil Foods has chosen to focus on filling a vacuum in the market – the need for original Indian flavours from regions across the country. We have chosen this model in place of trying to create a western-oriented menu because the demand for daily meals that taste of home is a visible and tangible space to work in.
While market trends might evolve to favor global cuisines, there is something unbeatable about the richness of authentic Indian food. Working professionals -our target audience – recognize the Dil advantage and choose to order out. Additionally, we focus on curating new recipes that cater to the everyday demands of our customers. We are continuously trying to come up with innovative ways to improve customer experiences through our food delivery.
To our partners, we offer automation in their kitchens, along with training and streamlining of their backend operations to optimize their capacity and capability. The ability to gauge and address specific needs in an ever-evolving market has put us in a position of being able to grow from strength to strength.
Quote: “We want Dil foods to become the platform that inspires the sustainable growth of small businesses, coming together to offer the truest, most authentic regional food to people in urban India. The goal remains to offer a solution for people craving the taste of their homes in a new city through our sub-brands like Dil Punjabi, Dil Tiffins, and many more to come. Our team is excited to work with the best tastes of India and bring them to your plate!” or “This growth phase of Dil Foods is very exciting for us. We have the opportunity to interact with our audience and understand their need for specific cuisines from across India. At the same time, our model is envisioned in such a way that we ensure the growth of our small business partners to provide
authentic Indian food. Both our goals have passed the ‘proof of concept test, and we are looking forward to launching more and more brands in Bengaluru, as well as launching in other cities very soon.”
This article is drafted by Prittle Prattle News in the form of an Interview.
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