CaterNinja: Revolutionizing India’s Catering Industry with AI and Customization

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CaterNinja, India’s pioneering digital catering brand, is transforming the food service industry with AI-driven customization, seamless technology integration, and bespoke culinary experiences. Founded by Anup Agarwal and Anurag Mishra as the Co-founder, CaterNinja aims to become the go-to solution for all catering needs, offering a vast array of customizable menus and exceptional service for any occasion.

Read the full interview here:

TimesTech: Can you provide a brief overview of CaterNinja and its mission in the food service industry?

Mr Anup: CaterNinja is India’s First and one-of-its-kind, digital catering brand. With its pioneering vision and approach, we have become India’s largest digital catering brand, catering to customers’ needs, for small or large groups, at home or at office.

CaterNinja is on a mission to revolutionize the foodtainment space in India by offering bespoke culinary and differentiated experiential service offerings at an intimate venue chosen by our patrons suited for a diverse mix of social gatherings. 

From a kid’s birthday party to a soiree party or a small pooja ceremony to pre-wedding functions – CaterNinja has offerings for all occasions for all gathering sizes. CaterNinja has provided its patrons the true power of choice, where they can customise the quantity of each item on the menu and eliminate food wastage through extensive assistance of technology and AI to predict food consumption.

TimesTech: How does CaterNinja ensure seamless integration of its technology with existing food service operations?

Mr Anup: Our challenges were two-fold; Firstly, being a largely unorganized and fragmented space, the catering domain has seen minimal investment in technology and most traditional local caterers continue to work and operate through traditional models. Secondly, no readily available third-party service providers or existing tech infrastructure were / are present on which we could build business operations.

Therefore, when we started, we made our tech stack ground up and from scratch. This is proving to be the bedrock of the entire business and creating impact for all stakeholders of our ecosystem and thanks to this focus, we have been able to start creating an impact in the industry which has hitherto not leveraged the efficiency brought in by the IT services witnessed across most other industries including food delivery. 

Our technological systems take care of the sensibilities of each stakeholder, and their comfort and use case to integrate them seamlessly to our centralized operations. Each stakeholder including the customers, the kitchens, sales and operations team, even the Ninja Captains, is aligned to the central system with one unique theme of customer focus and ensuring a great experience for the host and their guests everytime. 

TimesTech: How has CaterNinja’s technology improved the customer experience compared to traditional catering services?

Mr Anup: This is our most satisfying aspect of our business. There is an impact at each and every step of the user journey. When the customer starts, he may or may not know which kind of menu to order, most people don’t know how much food to order and invariably end up ordering too much food in the fear of food not falling short. Our AI algorithms assist the consumers in these decision makings. 

People on an average create 10-12 unique menu choices and see the menu, quantity and price instantly, without any human interactions. We have seen people create 50-60 menu iterations in less than half an hour at a time and place of their choosing – this is an unmatched customer experience.  

Our systems and user interface is designed to assist professionals, businessmen and homemakers to finalize menus and order digitally at their convenience without having to interact with anyone physically. We have a Customer Service team who use technological platforms to aid and engage with customers who require personalized service.

Our systems ensure that every small details of the order are communicated to each stakeholder without any slippages. So, whether it’s the desired spice level that needs to be communicated to the chef or the delivery timelines that needs to be ensured by the operation managers or the special requests for a live service handled by our captains. Everyone is focused on their respective responsibilities to ensure the event is a hassle free and joyous experience every time for our patrons. 

TimesTech: How does CaterNinja leverage data analytics to optimize its services and offerings?

Mr Anup: The biggest takeaway is the customers insights, we are listening to our customer voices and identifying the changing consumer behaviors and responding to it with identifiable solutions. 

There are so many unique situations that everyone faces for their needs – the parameters include the occasion, number of guests, type of cuisine(s), venue, type of service, duration of event, budgetary considerations, guest demographics and most importantly of all – personalized taste preferences. For example, we have catered to a group of people travelling through train for a pilgrimage who wanted Jain food to be packed and delivered for consumption later in the day. We really delighted them with our meticulous planning and sumptuous meals.

There are hundreds of thousands of of menus being prepared using our proprietary tech by the users and all these data points are being used to continuously augment our bouquet of products and services This is a constant process with our range of options expanding on a regular basis to cater to India’s diversifying and changing needs.

We feel we are just starting and have a long journey ahead of us towards creating a “One-Stop-Shop” for foodtainment.

TimesTech: How has the market responded to CaterNinja’s technological advancements and service model?

Mr Anup: The kind of love and support we are getting from our customers is extremely humbling and overwhelming. I’ve had my own friends who quietly ordered from caterninja and then post event calling me or sending such detailed feedbacks. I’ve received calls from some leading personalities from domains like TV, cricket and startups who have reached out to me personally and congratulated for such an amazing product and offering. We have over 90% positive reviews on Google with an average rating of 4+ across cities.

We were at the Startup Mahakumbh recently and there were people from MNCs, Govt Institutions, Professionals, etc who reached out to us and spoke about how they loved our services and how they have become our customers for life.

It was a big moment of truth for us and it’s our promise to them to keep improving and offering them service excellence. After all, in Bharat as we say – “mehmaan ke saamne naak nahi katni chahiye” – We ensure we have their back. 

TimesTech: What sets CaterNinja apart from other tech-driven food service platforms in the industry?

Mr Anup: We should first give credit where it due, the digital transformational shift has largely been made possible with the advent of digital food delivery platforms. Fueled by this desire for stronger connections and a sense of community, people today are moving away from crowded restaurants and pub gatherings to more intimate social gatherings within familiar confines. However, at present, most of the food delivery platforms are designed in a way which do not provide patrons a product and service that can match what is being offered in typical restaurants – leading to people having to choose between convenience or comforts. This is where digital catering platforms with a gamut of products and services tailored and customised for different patrons across locations can step in. Through user-friendly interfaces and a vast selection of customisable menus, the online catering service platforms empower customers to curate a dining experience that is tailored to their guest list and preferences whilst enjoying the occasion in the comfort and intimacy of their homes / offices.

It’s like we are bringing the restaurant to their comforts of home and giving them the best of both world, convenience, comfort in a more intimate setup of home.

TimesTech: How do you envision CaterNinja’s technology changing the food service industry over the next five to ten years?

Mr Anup: We believe today everyone thinks of the Swiggy or Zomato when they think of food. I think we will be able to add to that. We see ourselves as being an alternate, albeit, for a different need but definitely when anyone in India will think of foodtainment they will think of caterninja.

We know this is going to be a long and challenging journey but we have shown our commitment by growing across India organically and building a capital efficient business, and we believe we are ready to bring transformational changes to this huge industry offering some game changing solutions. Like we always say, “abhi to party shuru hui hai”!