FreshMenu - how the Indian foodtech startup serves up 12,000 orders a day

On a Monday morning, five chefs kick off their work week by abandoning their kitchens. They gather around a table at FreshMenu’s Innovation Kitchen and for the next few hours talk food. They dive into their memories, debate global food trends and discuss new dishes.

The Innovation Kitchen is where every fresh menu is actually born. Once tested and tasted, the best recipes are served to hungry customers across Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru. Chef Tilak Vel, director of the team of chefs who form the New Product Development team at FreshMenu, says his team is “working at the pace of (creating) 60 new main course dishes every month”. That’s a lot of freshness on the menu. But it’s these daily fresh menus that have helped food-tech startup FreshMenu get ahead in the online food-ordering companies’ race. One dish, seven minutes I meet Chef Purushotham Vadamalai on a cool Tuesday afternoon at the startup’s Domlur kitchen, one of its 18 kitchens across Bengaluru. Across the large space, staff is hot-footing around as lunch orders pile up. “The goal is to prepare each dish in seven minutes,” Vadamalai says. He received the menu for that day a week ago, and ordered his meat and vegetables two days ago. Late on Monday, he prepared marinades, tried out recipes and ran his team of 23 through the next day’s menu. FreshMenu keeps a low inventory. Staples such as rice and noodles are delivered twice a week, while fresh produce, vegetables and meat arrive once in two days. Special ingredients like lobsters and salmon are ordered in limited quantities, depending on upcoming menus.

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