Necessity, it is said, is the mother of invention. A large number of professionals working on late-night shifts in Noida’s private firms has led to several late-night food delivery services opening shop.
Ram Shankar Gupta, 25, was working with an IT firm in Noida three years ago when he first thought of opening a night kitchen that would deliver piping hot food to those who work the graveyard shifts.
“My shift used to start at 8 pm and end at 4 am after which I used to reach home tired and hungry. Since there would be no food joint or delivery service open at that time, I either slept on an empty stomach or had to eat a day-old food kept in the fridge,” said Gupta, who belongs to Madhya Pradesh and lives in Sector 52, Noida.
He realised that hundreds of others working on night shifts faced a similar problem and could not find anything to eat after getting off work.
“In 2013, I thought of starting a late-night food delivery venture Night Food Xprs. I left my job, convinced my parents about the business idea and started distributing pamphlets across offices that have late-night shifts. I started with a small menu offering just snacks, but after getting a good response, I gradually made an elaborate menu and it soon became a hit,” Gupta said.
Today, Night Food Xprs has spread to various locations, including Delhi, Greater Noida, and Indirapuram. It has a turnover of over `16 lakh per month.
“I have five cooks and 10 delivery boys now. The kitchen is located in Sector 45, Noida, and delivers from 10 pm to 5 am. We are also planning to start services in Bengaluru, Pune and Mumbai,” he said.
A similar venture in Noida’s Sector 62, Midnight Express, delivers food between 10 pm and 5 am. It also has an online food portal for customers to order food at night.
Started in Gurgaon in 2010, Midnight Express initially delivered only hot paranthas at night around the city.
“I was working as a software engineer in a private firm in Gurgaon when I thought of starting Midnight Express and left my job. After we got a good response in Gurgaon, we set up our kitchen in Noida’s Sector 62 in 2012,” said Karan Anand, a Mayur Vihar resident and founder of Midnight Express.
The same year he started the online portal www.24houreat.in to take online orders. “We also delivered snacks, chocolates, chips, and even cakes to the customer’s doorstep without a minimum value for orders and only a nominal delivery charge. We have over 200 restaurants listed with us in various locations in Noida, Gurgaon and Delhi that serve food past midnight. Whenever we get an order for a particular item in our menu, we take it from the restaurant listed and deliver it to the customer,” Anand said.
He added that the cost is divided between him and the restaurant according to their contract. It is the restaurants that provides them delivery boys.
Anand said eating at midnight is a popular trend among late-night workers, call centre executives, college students and some families.
“BPO employees are our major customers. We also feel that this addresses the issue of women’s safety as stepping out at night to grab a bite is risky for women. So, we deliver food at their doorsteps,” he said.