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August 20, 2007

Catering start-ups that are going places

Businessworld columnist Rashmi Bansal profiles two start-ups that are creating waves delivering quality lunches to office goers. Not unexpectedly, the article is titled "The New Age Dabbawalas".
Mom’s Kitchen’s USP is simple, no-frills food and ‘no repeats for 30 days’ — all at an affordable price. The service caters to a clearly defined segment — value conscious bachelors, students and the elderly. Meals cost Rs 30 each, with a Rs 25 budget option.

But just as it is with airlines, so it is with lunchrooms. Although there is a huge market for low cost carriers, a lucrative little segment still prefers business class. Take Calorie Care, India’s first customised, calorie counted meal service. At Rs 150 a meal, you get health food dressed up in a range of designer recipes, from various cuisines.

...Of course, Calorie Care is about more than weight management. While 20-25 per cent of the customers are looking to either shed some pounds or gain muscle, around 5 per cent have medical conditions like diabetes, which require special meals. But the majority simply want a balanced, healthy meal. Calorie Care’s core client base is the financial services sector — Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and the like. “We’ve found success with well-paid professionals pressed for time, willing to pay for health and convenience,” says Calorie Care’s CEO Cyrus Driver. Currently, Calorie Care serves 300 individual customers in Mumbai, and a similar number of corporate lunches, which take the form of healthy buffets.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.