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“This may help the restaurants recover and turn some amount of profit”
Monday, 29 June, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
BroEat! is India’s first WhatsApp based “unbundled” e-commerce platform for restaurants and small food businesses. It is a menu discovery platform aiding restaurants, home chefs and small businesses to get orders from customers and can enable contactless delivery using the merchant's own staff or third-party last-mile service providers to handle deliveries. The company’s main purpose is to #SaveRestaurants and #SupportLocal.

The company is also seeking volunteers across India to help to spread the word for the good cause to save restaurants in every neighbourhood. This platform is the first platform in any industry that has been launched by the community, to fight against the Covid crisis. Talking about how the company supports #VocalforLocal, #SaveRestaurants and #SupportLocal, Pawan Shahri, founder, BroEat!, in an interview with Vijetha Iyer explained the autonomy to small and local food businesses, how they are not charging any fee from restaurants till August 30, 2020, and more. Excerpts:

Tell us briefly about your company.

Our company is India's first WhatsApp based home-delivery platform to discover menus & order food directly from your favourite local restaurants & support the community! The idea is to make sure restaurants, home chefs, and small businesses earn the margins they deserve and help save jobs.

How is your company different from that of competitors?
Our company is India's first community driven platform - for the community, by the community. By that it means that it is a platform built to help restaurants & the hospitality industry sustain and earn deserving margins by connecting them with the consumers directly. It also offers unbundled services that help restaurants take complete control of their business as they strive to provide the best service to their clients.

How did you come up with the idea to use social media as a medium across any industry category?

These days almost everyone is tech-literate. WhatsApp has a wider reach because almost everyone has it on their phones and it is already equipped with end-to-end encryption which solves the security worry. Also, keeping WhatsApp as our base platform, ensures that users now don’t need to download any apps, which is a big plus point.

How does your company support #VocalForLocal by supporting small businesses and homepreneurs?

Restaurants already have to bear the fixed and variable costs plus the massive commission that has to be paid to the delivery platforms, adding a big dent to the businesses. Using our channel, customers order directly from their local neighbourhood restaurants, avoiding any aggregators where they would have to shell out massive margins, hence helping them sustain during these times.

The main purpose of your company is #SaveRestaurants and #SupportLocal. Tell us about the same.

We are trying to craft business for a new type of supply chain to make sure the consumers get the experience and service they need. Simultaneously not hitting the pockets of the merchant partners and restaurants. When anyone orders from us, they help restaurants make deserving margins, which helps them save jobs &sustain business. That supply chain going forward supports a lot of local workers and vendors in the restaurant network.  

How is your platform giving autonomy to small and local food businesses?

This is a community platform and community decision is being made in every aspect. We are still at the initial stage but we are making a board of mentors for different categories i.e., bars and pubs, pop-ups, ghost kitchens, giving equal representation to the industry. We also have home chefs on our roadmap. A structure like this ensures enough representation from each side, that helps them in clear decision making for their own category, which benefits them massively in the long run.

Recently, it has been stated that in order to support restaurants, your company will be charging them zero-fee till August 30, 2020. Tell us about the initiative.

We're not charging any fees till August 30 to ensure that the restaurants get completely used to the platform and it also gives them sometime to help their customers know that they're serving via us.  This initiative will help restaurants take care of their back-end expenses. This time-frame may help the restaurants recover and turn some amount of profit.

How is your company affected by Covid-19?

The company has been launched in order to help the restaurants, small food business and home chefs due to Covid-19

What are the precautions taken while delivering food during the pandemic?

Our company allows restaurants to choose their delivery vendor or even user their own team for delivery.  All the delivery vendors understand the government issued guidelines in terms of hygiene and maintaining social distance. Every restaurant ensures that they take the most hygienic and safest measures while fulfilling their deliveries.

How much time do you think it would take to fully recover from the impact of the lockdown and the pandemic?

As hospitality sector is taking utmost care for delivery of food, taking precautionary measures in the kitchen & maintaining social distancing, we are expecting to recover with Covid-19 effect soon.

What are your plans with respect to expansion, diversification, and collaboration and so on?

We are beginning with Mumbai. Our plan is to take this initiative to all the metropolitan and fast-growing cities in the next six months. We want to reach out to as many restaurants as possible in the country to be able to use our platform and build a dependable home delivery channel for themselves. We will soon diversify into the category of home-chefs & home bakers which are in a serious need of a platform like this.

Tell us about the awards and recognitions.

I was felicitated with the 'Young Achiever Award' at the Mid-Day Young Achiever Icon Awards in 2017. I was also invited to be a guest motivational speaker at panels like TiEMashUp, Chef’s Connect, DY Patil College of Hospitality and few others to share insights on being a successful entrepreneur.
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