Dil Foods is a Bangalore-based virtual restaurant operator that won ‘Cloud Kitchen’ of the year award at the prestigious 12th Indian Restaurant Congress & Awards held in September 2023. Recently, the brand ventured into the Shark Tank India season three by cracking a joint deal of Rs two crore with four sharks.
Bringing the diverse flavours of India directly to the plate, ‘Dil Foods’, has been making waves in the hospitality industry since 2022. The company was founded by ex-Swiggy, Arpita Aditi to support the small and medium-sized restaurant businesses. Excerpts from the interview:
How it all began
When I was with Swiggy, I used to interact with lots of restaurants especially the large chains like Freshmenu, Chai point and CCD to name a few but a lot of local restaurants reached out to me stating that they are at the verge of getting shut down. That’s when I started digging deeper and realised that things are very difficult for these local, small and medium size of restaurants because they are just one man army, taking care of everything from end to end. So, that’s really took a toll on their business and they can hardly focus on growth. That’s when I thought of doing something for this segment of the industry, the people who contribute more than 90 per cent in the F&B industry. Initially, I started a consultancy where we used to mange end to end online business management for them so they would take care offline customer experience and we would take care of online business like menu engineering and become the face of their brand for Swiggy, Zomato and all of that so we ran that for two years and realized while top line was increasing for them bottom line was still a challenge because their cost of marketing was super high and the cost for acquiring each customer was super high and that’s how Dil Foods came into appearance.
On Funds Raised
We have raised around 17 crore so far. When we started we raised around 1 crore during the inception of the brand from angels and post that we did some bridge rounds in between and raised another crore and the last year we did pre series A through Mount Judi Ventures and V3 Ventures. So, the money that we have raised in Shark Tank would be used on technological advancement for bettering our supply chain and also expansion in newer cities as right now we are live in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. We also now looking at expanding to Pune, Mumbai, Ahemdabad, Coimbatore and NCR as well.
On winning big at Shark Tank
I’m super excited to have the kind of investors that we have brought on board during Shark Tank. We have Piyush Bansal, who is the god of tech and the way they have solved their supply chain, we really hope that we learn a lot from them and better our operations too. Then, we have Vineeta Singh, who has joined hands with us in building our brand. We also got Ritesh Agarwal on board who’s the founder of OYO and Dil Foods is quite similar to Oyo. And, I’m really looking forward to learning from him and getting to know about his journey during his initial days and then we also got Radhika on board who will help us and guide on building a large business, having tight control on financial activity aspects ensuring that the financial health is super healthy, super critical and it would be really helpful for us to ensure that we are moving in the right direction not just businesswise but financially as well.
What’s the process of getting into Shark Tank?
There’s a long process to get into Shark Tank. For us, Shark Tank happened by chance. One of our team member was really pushing for it and she/he randomly applied for it and then we got a call. So, there are multiple round before you go for the final pitch. So, first is of course the application round where you send written application and then you are suppose to send a video or message talking about your brand and after that there is another audition round which for us happened in Mumbai where they get to know about all your business metrics and your camera presence on how solid your business is. And, after that if you are selected you are called for the final pitch round where you pitch in front of the sharks.
How many brands you have?
We have 8 brands in total serving different state foods and cuisines in total. We also serve snacks from different parts of India. We have been operating these 8 brands so far and are launching 4 new brands. The average ticket size for us is above Rs 300 per order.
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