Published: 24th May 2018
This start-up lets you pick your table & order food while going to dinner
Do you think that ordering food, finding that perfect spot in your favourite restaurants without getting in a queue is possible in this flawed world? Fret not, SELECTDINE is here
Watery dal, undercooked rice, and hard rotis — that's the agony of every hostel across the world. That's what used to push Saleem Javid Z, an engineering student at VIT to eat at restaurants off campus. But the trouble didn't end there: the waiting, the never-ending serpentine queues meant that he almost never got that quick meal. By the end of the fourth year of his course, it hit him — Why couldn't he do something about it? He was an engineer, well almost. He knew how to build an app and he had friends who could join him in this venture.
"Wouldn’t it be amazing if you don’t have to wait for the amazing food that you ordered?" Saleem asks. Now, who would say no to that? "I kept this idea as my base point and started developing an app that would make reservations online," he says. That's how SELECTDINE was born. But that's something that the market already had and Saleem wasn't a delusional teenager who was unaware of this fact. He and his 16-member team wanted to bring food to its customers 'on a silver platter'.
Hunger away: The SELECTDINE team developed an app that makes the food ordering experience a delight
Therefore, they came up with add-ons that may blow your mind. Not only does it make online reservations for you, but it even lets you book your favourite table at the restaurant. Wonder if the F.R.I.E.N.D.S cast used something of this sort at Central Perk!
There's more — it even helps you order before you physically reach the restaurant — a life-saver when you are late for a date, or for an important meeting. "As a fresher, I observed my seniors trying to find solutions to routine problems and even making a few bucks out of it. That was a start of the flow of ideas," he recalls.
You can pick the table you want to eat at
You can also order before you reach the restaurant
You can even order food to your own place
You can find the best party halls and book them for your events
You can pay for pre-booked parcels or online deliveries through easy transactions that they offer
What anchored the young man's idea was the involvement of his friend and a fellow-student at VIT, Sanghavi Vemulapati, a few supportive professors and platform-building competitions. One of them was Hackathon-2016, "We took this idea to the competition and were among the top 8 teams. We were pre-incubated by TBI for further funding," says Saleem. With more seed funding coming their way via another start-up event — Gravitas — the company was legally registered on March 15, 2017.
After some initial niggles where they needed coders and direction badly, they regrouped and put the focus back on the app. This wave of support helped him and without wasting any more time, Saleem came up with a new concept to follow — he divided the complete idea into five modules i.e. Table Reservations, Online Delivery, Event Management, Combos and Offers, Restaurant Management System. "With these as our core services, we assigned each module to trustworthy and efficient people as the Managing Head of each department. And suddenly, we could see the dark clouds fading away," Saleem smiles.
The number of restaurants that SELECTDINE has tied up with till date and they are aiming for more in the future
This dedicated team spent their months searching, exploring and explaining the concept to their clients and finally got some tie-ups at restaurants in and around Vellore. "We personally go to these restaurants and make a visual module for them so that they can present their restaurants on our app," Saleem says with conviction. After a year of this exercise, Saleem's start-up had about 34 tie-ups with restaurants in Vellore.
Though Saleem and his team will finish their course this summer, they have decided to continue with the model and expand it to cities like Chennai and Coimbatore. So, don't be surprised if you see it trending on your app store someday soon, "We faced demotivation, we faced issues from the technical side, we faced issues from third parties, we faced this crucial thing called “expectations”, but now here we are — planning to expand our project. And, we hope the journey ahead is as good as it has been," he says.