Popularising homemade food

Ahmed Shatil Alam writes about an online platform that is showcasing and selling homemade food at affordable prices

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With the advancement of technology, all of us are seemingly connected through the internet leading to the increase of online-based startups. Through ventures like UBER and Pathao in Bangladesh, we are now easily using someone else’s car or motorcycle for our transport.

On the other hand, across the world, Airbnb has been allowing us to use someone else’s home without any hesitation. These ventures are not only making our lives easy, rather the service provider and receiver can communicate with each other directly via using these platforms now. Similar to these initiatives, a new online platform has emerged in the city that can act as a bridge between people who want to buy and sell home-cooked meals.

The service is named ‘Foodpeon’. It has already allowed thousands of customers to taste various home-cooked dishes from cake to biriyani to fried rice.

A customer can order food from 30 kitchens located in Uttara, Malibagh, Badda and Mirpur area in Dhaka through the website- foodpeon.com. At foodpeon, one can find the traditional cuisine like beef curry, biriyani, various pithas to western cuisine like chocolate filled cookies, cheese cakes etc at very convenient prices ranging from Taka 15 to 900. Interestingly all dishes are prepared by non-professional cooks, mostly housewives who have good cooking skills.

While talking to new Age Xtra, Mohammad M Hasan, one of the founders of foodpeon, shared that foodpeon is aiming to provide healthy and tasty homemade food items to foodies from all walks of life. Therefore, affordable prices are being maintained as opposed to the cost of similar dishes on other online based homemade food supplying platforms, says Hasan.

In order to become a cook and food seller in foodpeon, one does not need to give any registration fees or monthly fees to the platform, explains Hasan. ‘Foodpeon wants to empower and provide an earning to the housewives of the city who are skilled in cooking,’ he says.  All the 30 kitchens of foodpeon are run solely or partially by the housewives.

A private university student Maimuna Meem, who is running one of the popular kitchens at foodpeon, ‘Moni’s Kitchen’, along with her mother shared that they began to serve food through the platform since the beginning of this year. ‘We have looked into the procedures of other online platforms, but foodpeon provides better facility to food-makers. This is why we became a part of it,’ she says.

The consumers, who have ordered foods through foodpeon and tasted the homemade dishes, shared their satisfaction about the service and food quality. A customer of foodpeon, Adeeba Risha says that the food quality was good but they should work on improving their delivery time.

In this regard, Hasan pointed out that the delay is most likely due to the fact that foodpeon contacts the kitchens after the order is received by foodpeon. ‘Once the kitchen confirms the orders, they need to cook or prepare the items. We also need some time to deliver to the address of the consumer,’ he says.

‘There is hardly any delay when a consumer orders from kitchens near to his or her location,’ he says. He also divulged that for the delivery, they charge Taka 45 to 90 depending on the location of customers.

At foodpeon, consumers can order food from multiple kitchens, a detail not offered by other platforms, he mentions.

While explaining how foodpeon came about, Hasan says that they initially wanted to establish an online venture where they can engage the housewives of the city. At the beginning they were planning to make a platform for women who make different household items mostly boutique and handicrafts from their home. ‘The idea was that through the platform these individuals will sell their products,’ he says.

Later, the team narrowed down the product range to homemade food items and launched the site around September 2016.

Although, Hasan is not satisfied with the progress of the venture, he hopes that soon the name ‘foodpeon’ will be synonymous of homemade food in Bangladesh. Currently, foodpeon has 12 part time and full time employees who are delivering the products to the consumers within the shortest possible time.