FoodTong: From Home With Love

There’s a point in the week when even professional chefs get tired of going home and preparing their own meals. It’s even worse when you are a student, working individual or a couple and you have to come home after a long day and make dinner for yourself and your family. For all these people FoodTong, an online platform brings a unique solution. Through this service now you can order home cooked meals from your nearest local home cook at the most reasonable price.

So how is FoodTong different from the existing food delivery services from Bangladesh? Food delivery is still considered a luxury for most people. Food outlets that deliver, usually sell meals that cost more than a regular home meal. But FoodTong will not be connecting you to any fancy restaurants or carts. This platform will connect you to homemakers living around your area who make a regular meal of bhat, daal, maach, mangsho, shobji for their family everyday anyway. These cooks will now cook extra portions of the same items for the FoodTong consumers.

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The idea came to the CEO, Syed Mahir Tazwar back when he was a student and he always used to struggle with his meals.”My maid used to prepare my food and it was bland and tasteless and on the days she did not show up, I had to eat out which was either expensive or unhygienic if it was cheap.” He knew this was not just an individual problem and was something a lot of people face regularly in the urban areas.

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After sharing this problem with his childhood friend and the current CMO Inamuzzaman they came up with the idea of FoodTong. In Inam’s words, “We wanted to find a solution that was economic and FoodTong is exactly that.” That’s also a reason for using the word “tong” in the name because the word itself implies a place that is casual, informal and cheap to begin with. After hearing this idea Wahidul Islam Mehraz, Head of strategy, currently working in Singapore, jumped right on board as he was looking for a chance to do something for his people and his country. The same happened with Fahim Arefin-CTO and Tarikul Islam Rifan- COO, who instantly agreed to join the venture after they were approached.

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When FoodTong joined the 4th batch of Grameenphone Accelerator powered by Startup Dhaka, they had the vision of adding some structure to their business idea. After almost 2 months of working under in house mentors and trainers from home abroad at GP House, today FoodTong has launched their own website foodtong.co, acquired customers through their Facebook page foodtong and already started operating at different points of Dhaka city. They have also started taking order for events and office caterings and planning to target this segment along with the current market from now on. This program has enabled them to take their idea beyond the planning stage and become a part of the real market.

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So far the response has been really great. Especially in places like Bashundhara where a large number of bachelors, students and working professionals live and struggle with finding good food on a regular basis. Through FoodTong, now they are able to order homemade meals at the most reasonable price (80-95tk) delivered at their doorstep. At the same time, people who cook at their home on a daily basis now have an outlet to pursue their passion for cooking and earn money. This itself is an idea that is very empowering and hasn’t been done before in Bangladesh. To maintain taste and quality, FoodTong conducts a thorough kitchen inspection and food tasting before appointing their TongChefs. So unless food and hygiene is up to the mark, you cannot join the FoodTong family.

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In future, FoodTong plans to overcome the challenges they are facing now due to being a new business in terms of logistics and delivery. Their vision is to expand from home delivery and become a mobile solution for helping anyone who’s looking for an affordable meal while on the go.

 

Being a new startup FoodTong believes there will always be hurdles on the way but the best thing about this bunch of individuals is that they’re open to criticism, learn from them and keep growing every day.

 

Nayeema Akbar

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