Savor Meals promise no more #saddesklunch to every Mumbaikar who subscribes to their service. Shillpi A Singh finds out the recipe behind this success
For Alankrita Shah, 26, a harried accounting professional in Mumbai’s Parel, lunch hour on any weekday meant sitting glued to her chair, staring at her desktop, either reading or replying to emails and, in between, mindlessly shovelling food into her mouth. She cared little for what she was eating for it looked the same every day and tasted the same too. The monotony in her mid-day meal was taking a toll; she had unknowingly fallen into the hate trap and started giving lunch a miss, staying hungry on purpose made her angry for no reason, and she started picking up a fight at the blink of an eyelash.
But that was last year. Shah rang in the new year on a delicious note. Her days of #saddesklunch were numbered thanks to Savor Lunch, a subscription-based lunch delivery service that she opted for after hearing her peers rave about its food. Four months down the line, Shah savours every bite of the meal that comes neatly packaged in a recyclable paper bag clipped with festive red and green clips and delivered to her doorstep or workstation at 1 pm. “Savor Lunch is more than just a dabba or a lunchbox. The menu isn’t repeated so there’s a lot of variety. The packaging is tidy, so there isn’t any hygiene issue. The delivery is on time, always,” says Shah.
Talking about his venture, Kanu Gupta, founder, says, “At Savor, we believe people matter more than things, timelessness matters more than time, and most of all, experiences matter more than anything. Lunch has always been a rushed affair for most of us. But we wanted to change that. We wanted people to savor it, so we started the lunch service. And yes, we are a health company, but a mental health one.”
Meet the Team
An ex-Goldman Sachs investment banker Gupta and Tejal Choksi, founder of The Cantonese Kitchen, a catering and condiments business, were also behind the city’s hottest supper club, Secret Supper Project, for those who enjoy surprise and wonder in their food as much as they do in their lives. “The response was overwhelming. It had an unorthodox roster of employees (florists, musicians, architects, etc.) with one unifying thread – they all have to be able to cook. A lot of businesses started there,” says Kanu. There was no marketing activity or advertising spend, but the venture became popular on word of mouth. They quit their day jobs and started Savor —Savor Experiences, which curates anything from chef’s tables and degustation menus to spirit tastings, and Savor Lunch, which offers its clients sophisticated iterations of the lunch dabba delivery service. The Savor team includes Gupta, Choksi, Sushil Multani and Shashank Poojari, among many others.
“The food that we serve is simple, elegant, has variety and flavour,” says Gupta. The lunch is no less than a culinary journey of the best from across the globe. “No dish revisits the table all month. The subscriber isn’t informed about the food that is to be delivered that day, so there’s a lot of surprise and excitement,” he adds. The delivery is mostly in-house and through third-party delivery service. The cuisines that are covered in the menu include American, Arabic, Australian, British, Cantonese, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Jamaican, Japanese, Macanese, Mexican, North Indian, Peruvian, Russian, Sichuan, Spanish, Tasmanian, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese. The menu has been designed keeping in mind that the food is delivered intact to its subscribers, and it doesn’t wilt or break on the way.
Good to eat
The food is artificial colour- and preservative-free and is prepared using fresh and local ingredients. “For us, health is a byproduct and not our objective. In India, there are no lunch hours and people prefer to grab and go. We want people to take time out for themselves.” The conditions that each dish must meet to be a part of the menu include does it taste good at room temperature as Gupta is averse to the idea of using a microwave. If it can withstand travel troubles and taste good till 3.30 pm? Is it a good idea to have it for lunch? Does it have variety in colour and texture? Can the dish be made at a large scale and if so, then are good quality ingredients for it available in the city? And is it something the team would like to eat? The last one being the most important factor in choosing a dish.
In the offing
The response from Savor’s ever growing clientele in Mumbai is encouraging, but there are no expansion plans of taking the idea to other cities. “We are in Mumbai and will be here. But yes, we are working on a beautiful design of the classic Bombay steel tiffin, and it will be launched soon. Another idea is Savor Lite to meet the concerns of the conscious eaters. Our version of eating healthy and eating well,” he says.
Meanwhile, Sunaina Doshi, Shah’s colleague who lives in the suburbs, rues the fact that the lunch service is currently available in select areas of the city, from Colaba to Bandra, and so she has to wait for her share of happiness in a meal box to be home-delivered. Till then, it is all about having your lunch and savouring it too.