Categories
Entrepreneurship Tech

Cebu startup cooks up Chef On Demand gourmet food service

FOR the price of a fast food combo, workers at the Cebu IT Park and Cebu Business Park can order a gourmet meal for lunch or late dinner prepared by some of Cebu’s top chefs and delivered to their building’s lobby.

Chef On Demand, which has been operating for just six weeks, is a Cebu-based tech startup that sells and delivers gourmet meals through a website and soon, via an app. It currently operates in Cebu IT Park and the Cebu Business Park, the centers of operation for Cebu’s thriving business process management industry. They accept orders and deliver them twice a day, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., from Mondays to Fridays.

Chef On Demand is able to sell these meals because it pre-orders a number of meals daily from chefs, who prepare it during their kitchen’s downtime: the hours when their restaurants still do not have customers and they and their staff have nothing to do.

CO-FOUNDERS (from left) Jed Hatamosa, Bryan Yap, and Cacho Menguito are heading to Tech In Asia Jakarta 2015 along with other members of the team. (Taken from Bryan Yap's Facebook post)
CO-FOUNDERS (from left) Jed Hatamosa, Bryan Yap, and Cacho Menguito are heading to Tech In Asia Jakarta 2015 along with other members of the team. (Taken from Bryan Yap’s Facebook post)

 

Like Uber for chefs

“Before 10 a.m., the kitchen is not doing anything,” tech entrepreneur and Chef On Demand co-founder Bryan Yap said in an interview. Their service allows chefs to be productive in these downtimes and open new potential markets, Yap said.

“It’s like Uber for chefs,” said Yap, referring to the company that jumpstarted the shared economy idea. He said Chef On Demand is “all about promoting the chef.” They currently have three featured chefs—Dennis Uy of Mexi Mama fame, Edgar Bulanon of Nonki and Vance Borja of Chop Chop Food Centre. Yap is in talks with more chefs to sign them up to the service.

Yap said that aside from telling the stories of their chefs, they have also become another outlet for them. Chefs also get the chance to try new things by working with Chef On Demand, citing as example Uy, who can now prepare food other than the Mexican cuisine available in his restaurant.

Order, delivery

The service is straightforward: a customer orders a meal through the website at www.chefondemand.com.ph and it is then delivered within 20 minutes to their office building’s lobby. By delivering only to the lobby, Chef On Demand is able to control costs and delivery times as well as deal with issues on office entry, with BPM offices known for their strict security protocols.

The menu ranges from a Kansas Style Chicken BBQ with buttered vegetables and Cajun rice for P99 by Uy to a Chicken Satay and Sambal Fried Rice meal for 109 by Borja to a Chicken Teriyaki Bento for P109 by Bulanon. There are currently 14 meal choices available on the site. Yap said they want to change the menu every two to three weeks.

Yap said that based on reviews and comments they got on Facebook, their customers are happy with the food they are delivering.

Yap, who said he has gone through “many failures,” applied lessons he learned from previous businesses as well as startup events and conferences in building Chef On Demand with his partners. They started with a barebones system and did extensive validation: offering free food in exchange for ordering it through their MVP or minimum viable product website and then later offering 50 percent discount in exchange for ordering it via the website and then picking it up at the lobby.

MENU. Chef On Demand offers gourmet meals prepared by some of Cebu's top chefs.
MENU. Chef On Demand offers gourmet meals prepared by some of Cebu’s top chefs.

 

Expansion plans

Since Chef On Demand operates in building clusters, they are able to deliver at no minimum order. From serving meals for office workers, they are also now starting to deliver food for corporate meetings.

Yap said they started in Cebu, which he described as a “really tough market,” but will soon expand in Manila and other parts of the country. He also plans to go to school clusters and residential areas next. He also dreams of expanding outside the country.

Yap said they are happy with the startup’s traction in its six weeks of operation. They have signed up about 1,500 customers with a daily delivery of 150 to 180 meals and growing by the day. He said that with an estimated population of 46,000 in the IT Park and 20,000 in Cebu Business Park, they have a big potential market.

On Nov. 11 and 12, Chef On Demand will represent the Philippines in the Tech in Asia Jakarta 2015 conference after winning the Philippine leg. Yap said he never expected to win and joined merely for the exposure. But with their victory, the team will be joining the Jakarta event with free air fare and accommodation. It will offer a bigger stage for the Cebu team to serve up their offering: gourmet food for the shared economy generation.

Categories
Business Tech

Launch of Philippine Startup Roadmap just the start: GOAB organizer

The Philippine Startup Roadmap, launched at the just-concluded third Geeks on a Beach (GOAB) in Boracay, looks forward to spawning 500 startups with an estimated cumulative valuation of $2 billion by 2020.

Deputy Executive Director Mon Ibrahim of the Department of Science ande Technology-Information Communication Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) led the launch of the roadmap, which he described as a list of what the Philippine startup community needs to do. The roadmap declares that its “main goal is to produce the next billion dollar tech startup from the Philippines.”

“The launch of the roadmap is just the beginning,” said Tina Amper of TechTalks.ph, the community that organized the annual Geeks on a Beach conference.

Next steps are critical

“The next steps of implementing, funding and constant collaborating are critical to positive impact to the Philippine economy,” she said. Amper said GOAB 2015 generated inquiries to take GOAB to other parts of the country.

“We are open to partnering with like-minded companies who can bring this happiness business to other parts of the world,” Amper said.

According to Amper, “Year 3 produced lots of positive feedback from participants about connections made, lessons learned, dreams re-discovered, and passions stirred.”

Partners

“We are so honored to work with some of the best in the country and the world during GOAB3. With the solid support of our co-organizer DOST-ICTO and the groundbreaking launch of the Philippine Startup Roadmap, TechTalks.ph feels a sense of accomplishment in participating in this collaborative effort to uplift our startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs, she said.

Amper also expressed thanks for the support of the co-presenters: IdeaSpace.ph, Smart Communications, Smart DevNet, SmartBro and PLDT Innolab. With their anchor sponsorship, they provide GOAB3 with seed money to start organizing the event long before the audience hears about it.

Strategic partners include Sym.ph, Happy Garaje, PRWorks and Third Team Media with AirAsia, Amazon Web Services, 1337 Ventures, A-Space, Ipanema, Monk’s Hill Ventures, Plug and Play Tech Center, Mingle, One Pouch, Microsoft, Islands, Salarium, Pascual Pharma Corp., Frontier Ventures, RTI International and USAID-STRIDE, Metro Drug Inc., GT Cosmetics Manufacturing, Synacy, Kickstart, STAC-Silicon Valley, Istorya.net, Department of Tourism Region VI, Chef on Demand, RC Victory World Trading Inc., Medifi, Partyphile, and The Tide as main sponsors.

Other partners include Syntactics as official event app partner, Globaltronics as official out of home advertising partners, Agos Boracay as accommodation partner. Media partners are Everything Cebu, Auza.net, Innovation is Everywhere, Geeks in Cambodia, InnoPub Media, OurAwesomePlanet.com, Tech in Asia, Vigattin Radio, Asian Journal Publications, Balikbayan Magazine, Amplify.ph, Speed Magazine, InewMedia.org, Hubnob.tv, and MyTechIsland.com.

Impact

Organizational partners are Philippine Software Industry Association, National ICT Confederation of the Philippines, Brain Gain Network, Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology, Game Developers Association of the Philippines, Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines, Developers Connect, Young Entrepreneur Society, Mavericks Web Marketing Solutions. Supporters include Tekworx, E-science, Impact Hub, SkyEye Inc., and ventureLab Growth Partners.

“Do we want to do it again? Yes, we want to continue to impact people’s lives. As a startup ourselves, we have to continue to evolve and move with the times to make sure there is a product-market fit. So, we welcome the public’s feedback and support on how we can make this more worthwhile and sustainable,” she said.