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Indian food gets a place in cyberspace - Startup venture of Goan trio aims to connect food lovers
Published Date: 03 Aug, 2011 (5:26 PM)

Sagar Arlekar, Govind Naroji and Rohit Barreto, three young Goan engineers always have had a fascination for creating a niche for themselves in the web world. Their moment of reckoning has come. Foodlets a start up venture which is a crowd sourcing application to post and share pictures of food from restaurant menus have thrown the trio into the spotlight, ARMSTRONG VAZ finds out.

Qatar/Panaji July 28, 2011: The chicken from Floretine kitchen, the popular restaurant in Saligao, have taken wings and flown into cyber space., an online visual food guide has made it happen. If for the last five hundred years Goan food travelled to various parts of the globe, the launch of Foodlets has added another dimension to Goan cuisine.

Foodlets is an exciting new way for people to discover good food and connect with food lovers. It is based on the core concepts of content co-creation and sharing. People can create foodlets and share with friends, they can affirm the food they have eaten and loved, and tell their experiences about a particular dish. Alternatively restaurant owners can create visual menus and engage with their patrons.

Foodlets started with a successful pilot run in Goa in March-April 2011 and have now launched operations in Bangalore. Tourists can now see more than a 1000 dishes from some of the best restaurants in Goa before planning their next holiday. These include local specialities such as, Chicken Cafreal, Squid Calamari, Bebinca and others.

Rohit Barreto, CEO of Foodlets says, “Our basic service is free of cost – restaurants can create their own profile pages and foodlets of the dishes they serve. We also provide a premium paid service, where we create the restaurant profile page, assign a professional photographer to take pictures of the food and create foodlets with all details. Additionally, we promote the restaurant and its food on Facebook and Twitter, cause that’s where the people are.”



Italia became the first restaurant in Bangalore to be officially covered, the owner Rushit Davda says, “Foodlets is low on text, high on visuals – excellent for speciality restaurants like our’s. Our customers can see the dishes before they order. Foodlets makes our food searchable on Google too.”

What sets Foodlets apart from the existing restaurant review and online food ordering services is that on Foodlets people get to see what the food looks like and get an idea of the size of the servings. A picture is worth a thousand words, it is said and that holds true for foodlets.

“Why describe a food dish with a hundred words? Let a foodlet speak a thousand words for it.  Foodlets will help you decide what to eat by showing you visuals of the food items available in the city. Users can affirm food items and help us discover the most loved and trusted dishes. We do not rate food items because none of us in the Foodlets team are great connoisseurs nor do we want to burden our users with this responsibility,” says Sagar.

The Foodlets Beta version was released on April 17, 2011. Govind Naroji, co-founder and CTO, says, “Since our Beta release on April 17, we have served more than 24,000 page requests and on average a visitor spends about 5 minutes browsing food on our site. Foodlets is providing Restaurants an easy and cost-effective way to create a rich online presence irrespective of their size. I am confident that the restaurants in Bangalore will make good use of Foodlets to promote their businesses.”

Foodlets(TM) is a trademark of Socialconcepts, the parent company of Foodlets. .  Sagar Arlekar and Govind Naroji are the co-founders and take care of software development and Rohit Barreto is the new partner and is responsible for business development. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

The Motivation

The idea to kick start the project aim is to connect food lovers to good food through a visual medium. “There are dozens of restaurant review and online ordering services in India. We found two major shortcomings with these services; they focus on the restaurants and not on individual dishes. They are heavily text based and users don't get to see how the food looks. At foodlets we understand very well that a food dish by itself has its identity, recipe, fanbase, history and mostly importantly people’s memories associated with it. In Goa chicken cafreal at Florentine (Saligao) and the Ras Omlettes available on roadside stalls have a cult following. We made the dish itself the center of our application,” says Sagar.

The Key Features on Foodlets are -Search for a particular dish at a restaurant, follow other food lovers and restaurants to stay updated about the new food, affirm a dish to tell the community that you ate and loved it and add dishes to your wish list.

Success so far

Most of the popular restaurants in Goa are already using foodlets to connect to food lovers. We have foodlets created by users from Bangalore and Pune too. Google search has given us a high page rank and the new data on Foodlets gets indexed within 3-4 days. Most of our visitors/users are from India, US, UK and the Gulf region. Citywise we get most hits from Bangalore, Pune, Goa and Mumbai.

Foodlets’ parent company, Socialconcepts is registered as a Partnership firm in Goa, India.  Sagar Arlekar and Govind Naroji are the co-founders and take care of software development and Rohit Barreto is the new partner and is responsible for business development.

Team: Sagar Arlekar, Govind Naroji and Rohit Barreto

Sagar Arlekar heads Product Development. He has an MTech from IIIT Bangalore and a BE degree in IT from Goa College of Engineering. Sagar is an open source enthusiast and writes for ‘Linux For You’ magazine.

Govind Naroji is in charge of Agile Application Development. He has a BE degree in IT from Goa College of Engineering and has been a part of the IT industry for over 5 years.

Rohit Barreto heads the business development efforts. Rohit had earlier worked at an Exports and Shipping firm as Manager - Commercial Affairs. Rohit has a BE degree in Computer Science from Visvesvaraya Technological University.

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Kamath V, India Jul 29, 2011
Wow..What a good yummy concept :) All the best to the Goan trio !!

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