Now that home deliveries are growing in importance, Ola Foods is the latest addition to the long list of service providers who deliver fresh food right to our doorstep, including Swiggy and Zomato. Ola Foods India has opened branches successfully functioning in different cities, including Ola Foods Mumbai, Ola Foods Bangalore and Ola Foods Chennai. Ola Foods has now shifted from a food delivery company to a food-first company, creating a portfolio of its own brands which will present a prominent opportunity combined with a long-term asset. 

Ola Foods India

Ola Foods India, which had earlier made major investments in the food delivery marketplace Foodpanda, rolled back its investments and transformed into a cloud kitchen business, which will incubate food brands. This transformation has occurred under the leadership of Pranay Jivrajka, CEO, Ola’s Food Business.

Ola Foods India has opened its first physical store for ‘Khichdi Experiment’ a brand which endorses different variations of the Indian home delicacy ‘Khichdi’ in Bengaluru, as part of Ola Foods Bangalore in May 2019. Apart from Khichdi Experiment, other brands under Ola Foods India include Lovemade, Grandma’s Kitchen and dessert-brand FLRT, according to Foodpanda. At present, Ola Foods India boasts of nearly 50 kitchens in six major cities, which include Ola Foods Mumbai, Ola Foods Chennai and Ola Foods Bangalore.

The aim of developing Ola Foods India is not to compete with internet majors like Swiggy and Zomato; the idea is to develop a cloud kitchen system which revolves around everyday meals, like biryani, khichdi and so on. A major emphasis is being laid on health-conscious food, which has become the current trend being followed by majority of the population. It is also aiming to upscale its dessert business.

Currently, Ola Foods India is planning to widen its base into more than 12 2-tier cities all over India within the next 12-18 months, taking over more independent outlets and customising them according to the popular demand of customers. Along with full-fledged restaurants, another idea on its game-plan includes opening up ‘Khichdi Bars’ in convenient places like malls, office complexes and airports, wherein people can simply pop in for a quick bite.

Unwilling to rule out any format, Ola Foods India CEO has also said that they’re considering food trucks, popup shops and kiosks to be opened in various locations.

Khichdi Experiment

khichdi experiment

Khichdi Experiment is the first major investment by Ola Foods India. Craving for some piping hot homemade Khichdi? Khichdi Experiment is the way to go! According to Jivrajka, Ola Foods India has redefined the “humble khichdi into a wholesome, versatile and exciting meal that is not only healthy but also appealing to one’s taste buds”. After backing out of the food industry for a few months and experimenting all over for innovative food options, Ola Foods India has come up with this ‘never-seen-before’ avatar for innovating with khichdi. Khichdi otherwise is a firm-favourite in most Indian households, and Khichdi Experiment by Ola Foods India offers a range of Khichdi variations to choose from, which include: Tadkewali Dal Khichdi, Mumbai Paav Bhaaji Khichdi, Langarwali Dal Khichdi, Bengali Panch Phoran Khichdi and Palak Paneer Khichdi.

A simple bowl of khichdi, served with yoghurt, papad and pickle is priced at INR 150, while adding a beverage and dessert costs INR 250. At present, Ola Foods India’s Khichdi Experiment restaurants are functioning as parts of Ola Foods Mumbai, Ola Foods Bengaluru and Ola Foods Chennai. Ola Foods India has tied up with major delivery partners like Swiggy and Zomato, who ensure that fresh, piping hot khichdi is delivered to every customer’s doorstep.

The aim of Khichdi Experiment is to add uniqueness to the simple khichdi palate in such a manner that it not only seems exciting and appealing, but also reminds one of home. The current plans of Ola Foods India include adding a whole range of unique flavours to their menu over at Khichdi Experiment, as well as adding some non-vegetarian options.

Current Challenges Facing Ola Foods India

Currently tallied at two Khichdi Experiment food trucks and one proper Khichdi Experiment restaurant as part of Ola Foods Bangalore, Ola Foods India is facing several challenges that accompany setting up a cloud kitchen system. These challenges include- lack of direct feedback from customers and indirect brand awareness.

Another challenge facing Ola Foods India is that cloud kitchens depend largely on food delivery aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato for profits; thus, the cost of servicing cloud kitchens is expected to remain pretty high over a long period of time. Also, since they do not directly interact with customers, it is difficult for cloud kitchens like Khichdi Experiment to build a loyal customer base, lest food delivery services go down.

Last but not the least, the cost of running a cloud kitchen is faced by the risk of running high in the long-term, since it depends on the associated costs of food delivery services and tech platforms.

This strategy of Ola Foods India is brilliantly implemented in a time when it has become difficult to defeat delivery service giants like Swiggy, Zomato and UberEats. According to Ola Foods, cloud kitchens provide a viable model with lots of positives, including well-cited economies of scale, lower real-estate costs and lower maintenance overheads. Running in successful metropolitan cities like Ola Foods Mumbai, Ola Foods Bangalore and Ola Foods Chennai, Ola Foods India has a promising business model which is bound to appeal to those living in the vicinity of the cloud kitchen. Explore the Khichdi Experiment and other brands associated with Ola Foods India including FLRT and Grandma’s Kitchen on Swiggy and Zomato, and enjoy a homely meal. Happy Eating!

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