Foodwalas.com – Journey from Chartered Accountant to Food Tech Entrepreneur

We are sharing some questions asked from Mr. Sanjay D. Lalwani (Founder & CEO of foodwalas.com) about his journey from Chartered Accountant to food tech entrepreneur and exploring India’s treasure i.e amazing food. Team of foodies sets out to discover the most uniquely delicious gourmet food & gifts in India.

At Foodwalas, they are explorers of food. They are on a mission to discover all things delicious. On their journey, they’re seeking out the legendary local famous food, amazing artisans and great gourmet food sellers that produce amazing regional products. The care and craftsmanship that goes into the preparation of their specialty dishes brings in them great inspiration. They’re in awe of the history and recipes that are often handed down through generations. It’s their passion to discover these treasures. They want to share these stories.

To them, food is best when it is shared. Enjoying great food with friends and family is one of our favourite pastimes. The aroma and flavour of well-crafted food can create nostalgia and brings back memories of special times. At foodwalas, they believe that people long for these experiences.

Their vision is an online marketplace that connects curious eaters with India’s best gourmet food sellers. At foodwalas, their goal is to ensure that every famous foodstuff across India is made available online for sale. So that every foodie can enjoy it, right at his place, with just a click! They do this by guiding their sellers/food brands to take a special care, right from preparing, packaging & fastest shipping. So that foodies can enjoy the same freshness, quality, best of the taste right from kitchen thereby creating a unique and memorable food experiences. Be assured, all their sellers are FSSAI registered (Food Safety Standard of India). They are passionate about making an impact on the future of food, and making the world a yummier place.
Foodwalas.com Logo

Name of Food Tech Entrepreneur: CA Sanjay D. Lalwani
Name of the company: IQ Learning System Pvt Ltd
Nature of business: Amazing Foods!
Team Size: 5
Founded In: 2014

1. Tell us something about yourself?
# Self – Motivated, Love to go Out of Box approach in any thing I do, adventurist & serial entrepreneur. By education did B.Com | Chartered Accountantancy (CA) & Company Secretary (CS). Founded & pursuing 2 Ventures One is Online marketplace for amazing foods ‘www.Foodwalas.com’ – Discovering India food treasure & Self- assessment portal for professional exams (CA, CS, and CMA) ‘Meritranker.com’ – Learn, Unlearn & Relearn.

2. What business experience you have before starting this venture?
# Two years work experience with Varroc Group, Aurangabad. I was finance Head for 2 plants; it gave me deep insights about various business & financial process. The Group is known for its amazing engineering products and supply chain for auto cluster. The experience cherished my business process engineering. Also, helped me to understand critical supply chain process, In & out of business budgeting. Yes, off course some complex financial calculations too.

3. What is your primary motivation?
# Starting with own venture was more of joy & self satisfaction. Being with a Jain Family, food is something which I could see connects relations/people. Yes! Festivals & love for our Hometown. Something all put together made www.Foodwalas.com. This is something for all age groups, be it kid or Grandpa! Foodwalas.com is for everyone.

4.What is your business Idea?
# Our vision is to make a online marketplace that connects curious eaters with India’s best gourmet food sellers. At foodwalas, our goal is to ensure that every famous foodstuff across India is made available online for sale. So that every foodie can enjoy it, right at his place, with just a click! Every place/region/religion has its own flavour. So, you can even experience that many times Tourist asks“yaha ka kya famous hai”? We want foodie to enjoy the food and seller to focus on quality, resting everything in between on us.

5. How did you get the idea of starting up this business?
# From my Grandfather. He loved to try regional gourmets and used his connections to make it available be it then from any part of the country, Making it available, fresh and right condition was really challenge. He was to make available not only for him but almost for all his friends and relatives, who used to keep him prompting to make this available. Even though he was diabetic, he could manage to get sugar free Sweets, but alas with very few selections. But when I travelled I came across so many selections for diabetics which are not known across. So, it was like connecting a dots. So, platform to explore option, reliable and fast logistics, right packaging & everthing to make sure the foodie gets fresh and from latest batch.

6. What opportunity did it address?
# Giving boost to something India is Known for i.e Food.
We are trying to make this available pan India, with right packaging, logistics, variety & yes, affordability. Amazing selections of Gourmets be it Traditional Sweets, Modern fruit based, Namkeen (Savory snack), Snacks, Authenticate Dried Fruits & Something beyond this! Homemade Delicious (Papad, Khakras, Pickles etc). We are striving to make an amazing selection for Diabetics patients with sugar free offering, which are not available, expect few cities. So, that they can enjoy with ease & without restrictions.

7. Define your product and service?
# We are foodie aggregator between curious eaters with India’s best gourmet food sellers, providing a platform for seller assisting with logistics/Packaging/Payment/Marketing services & to curious eaters with amazing selections of food gourmets, healthy snacks & focus on promoting and making available the regional delicious.

8. What were the major challenges and difficulties that you faced when starting up your venture?
# Tie-ups with sellers!!!! As most didn’t knew about online stuff, payment issues (everyone wants cash n carry) & Packaging. Then with logistics as with reference to cost per Kg, sometime it went above the cost of the product, but thankfully this we could able to address. When the seller is famous, he did not want to get hassle for fulfilling order. So, for most we have to have our fulfilment centres (Taking care right from Order – Processing – Packaging – Logistics). COD cost was something at start we need to stop it for a time being. Still Progressing with smile.

9. What are your funding plans for the future?
# We are aggressively pursuing equity funding to upgrade our tech, supply chain and reach PAN India, have on board amazing foodie team members.

10. What is the main marketing strategy that your company follows?
# Completing approx 200+ Orders in Span for 3 Months, has given us very clear Indication of Customer loyalty. Once he likes something he goes for it repeatedly. Apart from promoting it socially, we are very soon Launching something first of its Kind in India “Every Month Something Amazing”Subscription – details to be rolled out soon.

Also, Word of mouth too helping us rapidly, as foodies is waiting to explore new selections.

11. What is unique about your business?
# The Unique is sellers don’t face competition as every food product has its own uniqueness and everyone has his own taste preference. The portal is for everyone right from kid to senior. Now regional boundaries will not stop someone to order his favourites from his town. When we take care to tie ups only with FSSAI registered sellers, managing logistics & everything to make the ordering experience ah!

12. How do you define success?
# For us Success is when we have repeat order from same customer, as this is something which we take it as compliment. Managing it in swift way, delighting customers with their trust on us.

13. What piece of advice would you give to inspiring entrepreneurs?
# Learn, Unlearn & Relearn. With any venture keep learning business practices, be practical in finance dealings & keep patience in every move. Be self motivated. Pursue what you love and not what’s trending.

14. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
# Unleash.

15. Who inspires you and why?
# Grandfather, with him I learnt how to manage business and family. Perceiving a business from customer perspective, Importance of thinking futuristic & keep patience. Yes, most importantly keep your feet on ground. So, next time you think of trying some delicious food, think foodwalas.com! We hope you will join us on our journey!

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