Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Between work, exercise, eating healthy, sleep, socializing, and maybe even raising a family, it helps to have something taken off your plate. With exactly that in mind, NoshyCircle was launched.
We talked with Subha Ganesh, Founder and CEO, to understand what UK-based NoshyCircle is about.
NoshyCircle is an online food-tech platform. It’s a marketplace for passionate, experienced home-based chefs/cooks. It’s similar to Uber Eats or Deliveroo in the way it operates. We have an innovative approach to providing healthy, wholesome, home-cooked meals.
I’m no different from any other working parent. I used to work as a marketing consultant. After finishing work on a typical day, I’d come home at 7-7.30pm and have to prepare dinner for my children. It was always a challenge to have the energy to provide healthy, wholesome food for my family. I often ended up ordering a takeaway. But it made me feel terribly guilty.
With COVID-19, came even more pressure on account of homeschooling and remote work. I wished there was a platform where I could order home food instead of restaurant food every day. That’s where the idea for NoshyCircle came from.
In the United Kingdom, we have certain regulatory requirements to guarantee food quality. There are two aspects to it – a hygiene inspection of the premises and a food handling and allergen certification. The Food Safety Authority (FSA), in collaboration with the relevant local authority, requires all cooks to be registered with their local council, which means their premises will be checked by the hygiene enforcement officer.
All premises need to fulfill the hygiene requirements and then businesses are given a score from one to five based on these criteria. All cooks on our platform are scored three and above – scores three, four, and five correspond to “satisfactory”, “good”, and “excellent”.
Also, we’ve built an in-house framework to conduct our own due diligence on hygiene as well as taste. We undertake our due diligence process before recruiting any home-based chefs onto the platform. Every quarter, our officers also make home visits to ensure the regulatory precautions are maintained.
From a taste perspective, we carry out a taste test for all kitchens. First, our internal tasting team and some food bloggers and influencers conduct a tasting session. We use their scores and feedback to select and improve meals.
Once the chefs are live, we ask for constant feedback by calling up our customers, food bloggers, and influencers. We also carry out frequent “secret shopper” tests to make sure the taste and hygiene standards are maintained.
They can fill in a form on our website or email our community team to register. Once registered, our community team will help the chef through the business registration and Level 2 Food Safety certification process. After the regulatory part is complete, it’s time for our due diligence to take place. During this step, our team can also demonstrate how to access the cook app, add menus, schedule times for work, and more.
After all these procedures are complete, they can finally get online. So, it takes anywhere between 20 days to a month to onboard a new chef/cook.
There are no off-limits ingredients, but we’re clear that we don’t want anyone to use tinned food. Ingredients should be fresh, and everything should be freshly cooked. We don’t add any preservatives to our meals.
So, the food is purely what our moms would have cooked in their kitchens. We don’t do batch cooking, it’s freshly cooked food every day. People start to cook dinner around 5:30 for the 6:30 delivery time.
All ingredients are of good quality. We know where all our chefs/cooks buy their ingredients – this is one of the principles of the Level 2 Food Safety Certificate.
From a home-cooking perspective, there are one or two competitors, which are in their very early stages, as this idea is very new at the moment. But there’s also related competition: you can say UberEats, Just Eat, and Deliveroo are competitors as well.
Other than the fact that we offer home-cooked food, we also differentiate ourselves through some technological enhancements.
One of the key things is our multi-kitchen, single-order proposition. Typically, people order from one restaurant at a time, whereas our platform’s structure makes it possible to order from multiple kitchens in one transaction. For example, you can order Italian food and Thai food in the same order and it gets delivered at the same time.
Also, all our dishes have ingredients listed, so that customers know exactly what has been used, and we have nutrition labels including the caloric value and amount of fat, protein, or carbs. This enables us to offer a nutrient-level filtering option. Customers can also highlight allergies and intolerances in their profiles and talk directly to the cooks to make required changes in their meals.
We launched in November 2020 with eight home chefs/cooks in Harrow. Now we’re in four micro-markets in London (Harrow, Watford, Wembley, and Aylesbury). We have plans to launch in four other micro-markets this quarter, and by the end of this year, we should be live in at least 10% of UK cities. We aim to go global in 2022, so watch this space!