Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Food Industry IOT with GoFrshly(A Food Startup Aggregator)

If you have been even remotely related with the tech industry, chances are that you could have never escaped the word IOT popping out in almost every meeting or even in every article you read. The Internet of Things (IOT) is slowly becoming a reality from just a "futuristic trend". It all started with the television becoming "Smart" with Wifi access and able to communicate to the world wide web. TV developed capabilities to even stream content and play it directly in your TV. One by one, every device you came across seemed to be "intelligent" and got into the "network".Finally a Food industry IOT has become a thing.

Until a year earlier or so, our desire for good quality, hot food may not be necessarily fulfilled in all places earlier. We were forced to pretty much eat what the dreaded canteens/mall shops had. Be it a railway station or a office building food court, variety or quality was never an option

To quote Mr.Ford, "you can have any colour of Ford car you want, as long as it's black".

When I received the invite to witness the launch of a new kiosk like product called "GoFrshly" from a company called OwlTech( A Food industry IOT firm), I was quite intrigued. I quickly signed up and attended the event quite diligently, along with my dear friend Deepika and fellow blogger Sulaiman. To be honest , my experience with kiosks was strictly limited to buying a Pepsi can or a water bottle from an airport vending machine. So ordering hot food from Anjappar or Delhi Highway in a vending machine and paying through Paytm was something surprising and certainly delightful to say the least. I already began to appreciate this idea of Food industry IOT.

How Does this work?

  1. The GoFrshly team ties up with several restaurants including Anjappar, Paradise Biryani, Delhi Highway and even Dominos(quite soon). 
  2. They deliver hot food and hand it over to the GoFrshly team specifying a maximum shelf life. The user now has two choices. 
    • Walk upto the machine in the food court/airport , sees the menu listed and just have to click his choice.
    • He can pay for the food either through cash(Directly to the GoFrshly guy standing nearby) or in the credit card swipe machine or just scan the bar code, pay it thru PayTM.  
  3. Immediately, the machine starts preparing your order, heats up the food to the desired amount and places it through a mini delivery count with your order no on it. 
  4. The whole thing takes place in roughly 90 seconds or less.

No need for waiting in queues, fighting for space in small food counters in malls, eliminates the need to buy those redundant mall food cards and of course not shell out a premium for those small quantities of a meal.

How does it work for the Restaurant?

  1. Fine dining restaurants, chains or practically any food brand  wants to expand or make their presence felt
  2. They can't however invest heavily in a permanent physical store place inside a railway station/mall/airport . 
  3. So they can simply collaborate with these guys at GoFrshly. 
  4. The deal involves paying for a share of the machine only. Second step is to sell the food to the same people who'll put up the menu in the app. 
  5. Within minutes, your food is being served hot and fresh (within the stipulated shelf life) in neatly packed containers and in far economical rates than the actual restaurant rates. 

From my personal understanding GoFreshly could keep their rates very competitive cos of these reasons
  • A smaller real estate (with no preparation area needed). Hence cheaper rates than actual rents.
  • Relatively faster time to setup machine wherever needed (less than 8 hours max)
  • Technically no employees required to service users, given the self servicing concept
  • Able to consistently offer superior service with constant check on quality

Delhi Highway Food Review - Directly from the GoFrshly Machine

So in my trip to their office, I was given the chance to review the food served through the machine. I opted for a Veg combo meal from Delhi Highway , costing 129. It consisted of 2 Tawa Phulkas, Jeera Rice, a Subzi and a Paneer Tikka starter with a small jaggery sweet. With the given portion, Rs.129 seemed to be an excellent deal, that too from a restaurant like Delhi Highway (In contrast, an average meal/person in Delhi Highway,Chennai usually is 300+).

Everything was cooked to perfection, in the right amount of heat, spice levels and the softness of breads. From a personal opinion, this seems to be a very ideal combo for professionals and travellers, as it offers the right amount of quantity at very economical price, made in a very hygiene environment. The container served was neatly sealed and the max time for consumption was clearly mentioned( definitely a rare sight to see this).

Overall, a positive experience, in terms of concept , food , quality and price. Certainly looking forward for them to expand much higher and with more varieties

Disclaimer: I was invited by the GoFrshly team to experience their new offering and give a honest review of the same. As always, opinions expressed in the blogpost is purely unbiased and offers my honest perspectives on the same.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Live like a Chola King in Chennai in ITC Grand Chola

Now and then , we all feel the need to take a break , de-stress and pamper ourselves in the laps of luxury. Away from the 9-5 boring mundane life, you'd want to stay in a serene, calm place and get treated like a king. The only thing you want to do probably is sit back, soak in the grandeur of a hotel, enjoy some scrumptous food, take a dip in the pool and even go for a spa session.

If you are wondering where do I find some place , that looks like a palace/castle, within the city, treats me like a king and I get to enjoy sheer royalty, the answer is pretty simple  : Just drive down to ITC Grand Chola in Guindy, Chennai and you'd find yourself being transported to a kings era.

Source of Image: https://www.itchotels.in/hotels/chennai/itcgrandchola.html

Headed by the ITC Group, ITC Grand Chola is one of the biggest 5+ * Hotels in the city that boasts of 522 rooms and 78 luxurious service apartments. Built as a tribute to the Chola Dynasty that ruled South India, every dome, room, structure and the overall architecture is a glorious reflection of the buildings that was designed by the Cholans. Be it the intricately carved temples or the bronze sculptures, you can see the same level of detail in this hotel through its steps, granite carvings, wall paintings and vast spaces.

Source of Image: https://www.itchotels.in/hotels/chennai/itcgrandchola.html

Culinary Treats

You can't describe ITC Grand Chola and not talk about its food. Being a foodie myself, you can be spoilt with the multiple choices that ITC Grand Chola offers. The different restaurants in the hotel include :

  • Royal Vega : For the "Pure Vegetarians", this is a dream come true. One of those rare cases, where you get to see a pure vegetarian restaurant in a 5 star hotel, with a proper Indian cuisine and truly royal to its name.
  • Peshawri : Moving slightly away from India, if you always wanted to try out the delicious fares of the North Frontiers, you dont need to go far. Just a floor below Royal Vega, you'd find the beautifully decorated Peshawri. Be it the tandoori items, Indian breads or kebabs, you can truly find a superior experience in terms of quality, taste and service. My personal favourite is always their huge Paneer Tikka that can definitely give a whole new meaning to your taste buds.
  •  Pan Asian : Moving away from India or North Frontiers, Pan Asian offers a fine blend of other Asian cuisines such as Chinese, Japanese, Thai and even Vietnamese food, for those who want to try out something different. 
Source of Image: https://www.itchotels.in/hotels/chennai/itcgrandchola.html

  •  The other notable restaurants include Madras Pavilion,Nutmeg, Cafe Mercara Expres and their in house resto lounge, Tranquebar.
Source of Image: https://www.itchotels.in/hotels/chennai/itcgrandchola.html

Luxury Stay

The rooms are truly futuristic and digitally enabled rooms. Everything in the room is pretty much controlled by a Ipad. Be it a channel music, or the TV channel, Air conditioning in the room, mood lighting or even the water temperature you can set it right from the IPAD . That's something really cool and I haven't personally come across such an interesting feature elsewhere. Additionally the rooms have all the facilities, one'd associate with a luxury hotel room and you pretty much find everything at your disposal.
Source of Image: https://www.itchotels.in/hotels/chennai/itcgrandchola.html


Probably after a heavy meal at one of the restaurants and a good nap, you'd be wanting to stretch those muscles. You can either opt for the large fitness centre with personal trainer options, or take a dip in the beautiful swimming pool or even head to the Kaya Kalp Spa for a rejuvenating body massage (though I've been warned that due to popular demand, a prior reservation is highly mandatory).

Source of Image: https://www.itchotels.in/hotels/chennai/itcgrandchola.html

Even if you do not want to enjoy any of the above and just want some fresh air, go for a courtyard walk in the sprawling acres of land built around the hotel and enjoy some quality time in the mini parks/gardens in select places.

Source of Image: https://www.itchotels.in/hotels/chennai/itcgrandchola.html
I am blogging about my luxury stay experience for an activity at BlogAdda in association with MakeMyTrip.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Magic of Warmth - Moments defining Humanity

We are faced with a constant pressure to run faster every day to stay relevant. Yet, one should still take time to stop and look back at some of the glorious moments we have experienced. The little moments of kindness,help and love received in time of need is something greater than any wealth.
I feel a sense of gratitude and in permanent debt to people who have reached out to , especially at rock bottom. Irrespective of past enmity, caste/religious/gender differences the help offered without any expectations can truly be a heart melting moment. When I recollect such moments in life, I should mention the two instances where humanity won than the larger issue at hand. 

Humanity Gestures during December Floods

moments defining humanity chennai floods
Source : BuzzFeed
Do check out my previous post on this. A situation no one in the country might have seen. We have may witnessed heavy  rains and little bit of flooding in streets. But no city in the world can handle more than 500mm of rainfall in a single day. Chennai was faced with such a delirious situation and most ground floor houses were flooded, huts washed away. Several thousand people were stranded on streets without food, shelter or water. However at this moment, several volunteers mostly comprising youngsters came together to help. They rescued them from flooded houses, offered them shelter and food, when even money had no literal value at that moment. People of different religions gladly opened their door for others without even a slight sense of hesitation or fear. Even cinema theaters and a few malls offered the homeless to stay inside their complex until the situation became normal. I too received some timely help from a lot of people during this time and feel forever grateful.

Unification for a Cause : The Jallikattu Protest

moments defining humanity marina jallikattu protest

When the Supreme court came up with a ban on the Jallikattu sport,  several thousand youngsters in the state came together as one to protest peacefully. They all assembled in Marina Beach for days together and urged the government to repeal the ban. During this week long protest, people of all walks of society sat together and gave their voice for the support. The people in the protest offered food, water and support to fellow protesters in the crowd. They might have been foes in the day , but when it came to this, it was all for one mission and unity prevailed. Dozens of news channels covered many heart melting moments in these protests. Personally, unity among strangers for a cause is definitely a heart melting moment at any given time, when you experience the Magic of Warmth

I’m blogging about my #MagicOfWarmth moment at BlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed Hot Oil