Who says you can’t think on an empty stomach? For some like Jigar Zatakia, the Eureka moment came only because he had gone hungry for hours! Zatakia, co-founder of Mad Bites (www.madbites.co.in) — an online service that operates between 11 pm and 7 am delivers piping hot Indian and Italian food to all hungry souls in Mumbai — remembers how he craved for some butter chicken or even a burger during those midnight hunger pangs while studying for his exams years ago.
That’s when the 23-year-old first thought about opening a business to fill hungry tummies at night. Once out of college, he worked for three months in a corporate house, all the while brainstorming with his friend Gautam Udani to start the unique service, which he had tentatively titled Mad Orders.
When it initially started in December 2011, Mad Orders had neither the financial power nor the know-how. So the food was outsourced to a vegetarian kitchen. Nor could they impress the bankers. “We didn’t have a solid financial backing. We started it with our own savings. We didn’t have expert Chefs and served only vegetarian food,” says Zatakia.
It was at this time that their friend Avik Chatterjee, now a partner at Mad Bites, suggested the team to carry out deeper research. Chatterjee explains, “I told them to improve their service in terms of presentation and also include non-vegetarian food in the menu. We conducted a series of informal interviews and asked people to fill in questionnaires that helped us understand what people wanted to order past midnight.”
Recently, the founders renamed the company Mad Bites and expanded the scope of service. Now the company delivers not just Indian cuisine like biryani and dum aloo but fast food such as sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, salads and pasta. The price points have deliberately been kept low. “It was a conscious decision to keep the price of most items affordable to a younger clientele, as it is likely that students and a relatively younger crowd will find themselves hungry at 2 am and without food in their fridge,” laughs Chatterjee.
The service is currently is available from Dadar to Mulund on the Central Line, Malad on the western line and Chembur on the Harbour line. The founders have announced plans (on their website) to make Mad Bites a 24/7 service and also cater to south Mumbai soon.