Restaurateur Gaurav Goenka-owned Mirah Hospitality has acquired 30 per cent stake in Gritty Foods LLP, a venture that runs a bespoke chef service for small gatherings at home under the Hopping Chef brand, for Rs 3 crore ($470,000).
Hopping Chef seeks to connect consumers with professional chefs online. The chefs can then be hired to cook at the customer's premises to meet dining needs of a small gathering. Chefs bring their own ingredients to cook based on the pre-set menu and charge on a per-head basis.
The deal, which values the firm at Rs 10 crore ($1.6 million), was founded by Shaival Chandra, Dhaval Udeshi and Sid Ugrankar last year.
Chandra, an economics and management graduate from Ohio Wesleyan University, the US, is also director at WTF Hospitality Pvt Ltd, which runs the Mumbai-based QSR kiosk chain Simply Potatoes. He has previously worked at Merill Lynch. Udeshi, who is COO, is also founder of Simply Potatoes. A Commerce graduate, Udeshi had earlier worked with Lebmex chain of restaurants and Viceroy Restaurant & Cafe Chikita. Ugrankar, a food technician, had completed his graduation in electrical engineering and communications from the University of Portland and is chief technology officer of Hopping Chef.
The venture is currently operational in Mumbai and will be expanding its network to Bangalore by September followed by four other metros within six months.
"An investment from a well- established hospitality group like Mirah will open newer avenues for us. I am hopeful that our arrangement with Mirah will help establish footprints in new geographies," said Shaival Chandra, founder and CEO, Hopping Chef.
He said the venture currently has 15 chefs on board, which will be increased to around 75 to 100 to keep up with the geographical expansion.
It is one of a new breed of food-tech ventures that have cropped up either connecting consumers to established restaurants or serving customisable or pre-set food kits right at the customers doorstep. Hopping Chef comes across as a premium service within that space.
"Until now Mirah has always been in the brick and mortar space. However, keeping in mind the latest trend and flourishing prospects in the online space, Mirah decided to diversify its portfolio to the online food space as well," Goenka said.
Mirah operates brands like Rajdhani, Mad Over Donuts (MOD), United Sports Cafe, Cafe Mangii and Falafel.