Manish Goyal, an IIT graduate who left his job in October 2013 to start his venture helping people to choose what to eat. Goyal who usually find it difficult to find what to eat while travelling, invented a concept of online platform providing photos of the menu to help people decide on what to eat. Talking to Restaurant India, Manish shares his journey at FoodiesCompass.
What made you start FoodiesCompass? How does it help customers decide what to eat?
Travelling has always been my hobby. On many of my trips I realised that finding out "what to eat" at local restaurants was difficult. While travelling to South East Asia, I observed that due to language barriers, most of the restaurant menus had food pictures. That is when I first thought of an online platform for the purpose of food photographs and user reviews. Few months later, I left my job in October 2013 and started working on this idea.
Once a user enters a restaurant, FoodiesCompass provides food pictures and user generated reviews of all items on the menu that provides a visual, mobile and credible solution to users to help them make an informed decision.
Do you think that eating with eye is more important than what you taste?
To improve decision making of the customers before placing any order, the pictures form an integral part of the decision. The customers will always form an opinion of a restaurant based on what they choose to eat, not the rest of the menu. FoodiesCompass simply helps them choose wisely. It is like a sneak peek into what can be expected if you order an item.
How many restaurants are presently listed with you? How do you categorise the listing process?
There are around 200 Delhi-NCR based (mostly Gurgaon) restaurants listed on our portal. Our only aim is to help customers find ‘Online Food Picture Menu’ of each and every restaurant.
What is the operation process at FoodiesCompass?
FoodiesCompass follows three processes:
Step 1: Cold Calling/Initial Pitch: Sales Team reaches out to the restaurant mangers/owners and explains them about the concept.
Step 2: Conduct food Photo-shoot of Menu: Most restaurants prefer to prepare dishes especially for professionally conducted photo shoots. Others take their own pictures and directly provide it to us.
Step 3: Restaurant Listing and Login Access: Restaurants are listed on FoodiesCompass and they are provided login details to access their photographs and also ability to edit/add new photographs.
For every restaurant to be highlighted on our portal, it takes an average of 10 working days with a team of photographer, sales manager and marketing manager involved in every deal with restaurant.
FoodiesCompass is self funded presently. Are you planning to take funding in recent times?
Yes, we are planning to raise funds in the near future to expand to seven major cities in India in the next one year.
What kind of challenges you faced in starting FoodiesCompass? How has been the journey in one year?
One of the critical challenges we faced in the early days was to convince restaurants to perform photo shoot of food items to be covered on our portal. With no prior knowledge or experience in this sector, it was quite a difficult task.
Another challenge was to get right people at the right time. For every startup, creating a good team in early days is very critical. We needed a team of photographers, sales and marketing people for each restaurant. Covering over 150 restaurants required resources to get it done and the entire team juggled roles to get the job done.
You are present in Gurgaon. What are your plans in expanding to other cities in India?
We are working to expand to Delhi in next couple of months. Expansion to seven major cities will be completed over the next one year.