14 Jul 2015 13:23 IST

Treats from the streets but minus the side effects

Street food can be fashionable, and dressing it up is 31-year-old Puja Shrivastav, with her start-up ‘Taste In Box’.

Fifteen years ago, this Bihar girl came to Delhi to pursue higher studies. Like most outstation students, she relied on the hostel mess and street food. She had a close group of five friends, but two had to go back home owing to illnesses caused by eating unhealthy food.

In November 2014, Shrivastav floated a venture catering to those who enjoy street food, but are also health-conscious. “ After completing an MBA in 2010 from I Business Institute, Greater Noida, I worked with Bikanerwala and also with TCS in an HR role looking at food audits. The start-up was a natural extension,” she said.

At present, ‘Taste In Box’ operates out of two vending units, a base kitchen and a take-away outlet in Noida. Started with ₹8 lakh from personal savings and a loan of ₹5 lakh, it broke even last month and is now cash positive.

Shrivastav now wants to share her experience and knowledge with the unorganised street vendors.

Her team currently has 10 people, including three chefs. “The focus is on making food without any colour or ajinomoto. We are also consciously spreading awareness among our customers,” she said.

The menu ranges from Chinese delicacies to Tandoor items and even home-style food which is customised to taste.

Today, Shrivastav also gets corporate orders, from HCL and Uflex, among others. In the next one year, the start-up aims to operate another four vending units in Noida.

“For this, we are actively looking for investments,” she said. Joint venture company ‘ESpark-Viridian’ has shortlisted the start-up for an accelerator programme and will offer funding of ₹20 lakh to ₹50 lakh in phases, once the accelerator opens a centre in NCR.

“Apart from this, a nutritionist friend is coming on board to launch nutrition-based meal boxes to cater to all age groups. We will launch this soon,” she added.

Recommended for you