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How A Group Of City Students Defied The Lockdown Blues With Their Own Home-Cooked Food Start-Up

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Bhubaneswar: At a time when food delivery aggregator giants are facing the heat due to the covid-19 induced scare as restaurants remain out of business for months in a row,  a group of  management students in the city have converted the prevailing uncertainty into a business opportunity.

Odisha’s first and very own food delivery website, ChefJunction is a result of an idea budding in the college classrooms while they missed their ‘ghar ka khana’. What followed was an roller coaster ride for the team who now dream of competing with majors like Zomato and Swiggy.

“In Odisha, I saw local restaurants heating pre-cooked food and hygiene was compromised. Plus a lot of homemakers aren’t given an opportunity in the state to be financially independent. The solution to both these problems I thought was ‘ChefJunction’. This was conceived while I was attending classes and got tired of eating unhygienic and boring mess food” says Suryanshu Panda, the founder of the website.

Then came the lockdown. Sensing the opportunity, Suryanshu joined hands with buddies Epari Pritam and Akriti Das to launch the food portal amidst the pandemic when the big sharks of the food industry were taking a hit. “I knew it well this is our only chance to capture the market despite being a small start-up,” he chuckles.

When people were apprehensive of ordering food from restaurants owing to poor sanitisation, the website provided the option of ordering delicious home cooked food at doorstep, adds Epari, the co-founder of the website.

The start-up has 15-20 home-cooks across the city who prepare a range of cuisines—from Indian platters like Biryani, Chicken Masala to Italian delicacies like Pizzas or Pasta– and dedicated boys to deliver the order at the customer’s doorstep.

While on one hand the website marked the entry of the three budding entrepreneurs who made hay during the pandemic, it also gave an opportunity to home makers and aspiring food bloggers to start their own ventures right from their kitchen without any investment. And the customers are trusting this small local start-up more than the food delivery giants in terms of hygiene due to the Corona scare.

The website was launched on August 7 and has dispatched over 1200 orders until now. The students are now thinking of expanding operations to the foodies hub Cuttack and southern cities in the state.

“We are very excited. We never expected such huge response given the present situation. We are planning for further expansion now,” said Akriti, the Business Development Head of the start-up.

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