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Wine & Food Feature: Bring Restaurants Home with Uncleji's

The IT-savvy foodies have now options of ordering foods from various popular restaurants in the Delhi NCR region, with the click of a button, using an online concierge service called Uncleji's, introduced by a young US-educated entrepreneur who plans to add wine and other products and services soon, writes Subhash Arora.

So you are hungry and tired, want to order food to dine in at your home but don't have the energy to deal with the operator at the restaurant? Contact Uncleji's.

You have guests coming over and you want to order a different cuisine for them. Don't worry, Uncleji Hain Na!

UncleJis.com is a new web service which aims to simplify things by helping select the right restaurant, choosing from the menu, creating and placing the order all online, at the click of a mouse. And what's more, you can even pay online by credit card, or by cash on delivery. Your accountant would be happy too as you won't forget or lose receipts for reconciliation; it is all stored in your emails or the website. 

Negotiating the website

The website gives you an opportunity to take your time and browse through menus of different restaurants and then select what you want and place an order. You can also order from multiple restaurants if you want.  

Simply go to the site - www.unclejis.com, select the city of your residence, cuisine type you want, locality you want the food to be delivered in, specific restaurant if you want to. Check out the menu and the items you wish to order. Register, if you have not done it earlier.

Following a few payment steps, you are ready to get the food at the pre-registered time.

Restaurant Partners

The site is easy to navigate and pleasant to look at. They have a variety of restaurants in Delhi NCR region as their partners, with options to order from some of the popular restaurants like Karim's, Fujiya, Moti Mahal, Mughal Mahal, Punjabi by Nature, etc. The coverage seems to be decent across Delhi and suburbs.

Gurgaon seems to be slightly weak in terms of the choice of restaurants. Explains  Shishir, 'We are working on improving the number but we are finding problems locating many good restaurants.

Young Entrepreneurs

Although a sales person by experience, Shishir Gupta, the founder CEO, holds a Bachelor's Degree in Microelectronics Engineering from New York. Starting out as an engineer, he moved into sales which he handled both in the US and India.

'Why did he leave such a cushy job? 'I was looking for something challenging and exciting and believe that an online Concierge is a concept whose time has come in India now. We have been used to this concept for years in the US, of course.' He added,' I was responsible for selling software for a large U.S. software MNC where I helped increase sales from $8m to $50m a year. But I was getting bored with no newness in my job.'

Looking at the backend IT operations is Anubhav Gupta with a vast experience in software development. Working in different industries like Music Subscriptions, User Communications Technology, and most recently as Senior Architect in an Online Brokerage firm specializing in Options trading in US, he has developed a rather interactive website which is constantly being improved.

Uncleji's USP

So what is the difference between their concierge Uncleji's and the already-existing home delivery services like WOW- Waiters on Wheels, I ask Shishir? 'WOW has of course, closed down,' says Shishir, adding 'those services are in real time and on phone. You want to call for food, you locate their menu which you must store carefully in the house or office and call them.'

'It is different with Uncleji's. You can log into our website from anywhere, anytime. You can order well in advance, even a week earlier if you wish. The payment is generally through credit card so it is easy to keep track of, especially for your expense account. Not only are there no extra charges, we even offer cash-back to our registered users.

It is no rocket science technology that Uncleji's has imported as a concept. In the west, especially US, you don't pick up a phone to call for home delivery now- laptop with the wi-fi connection is the most commonly used device.

Gift from NRIs- Boon for RIs

Shishir's face lights up when he describes how Uncleji's have landed with the unexpected bonanza from the NRIs. 'We have been inundated with orders and delivery requests from NRIs who pre-order food for their family, old parents for special occasions as a gift or even otherwise as a surprise for them. Since the quality food costs so much less here, they tell us to deliver even to the places we are not yet ready for and at times without any occasion just to surprise them. Being on the net essentially means we are available 24*7  for ordering, and they can order whenever it is convenient for them.'

'Many of our customers feel this is a great alternative to sending flowers or chocolates as a gift on a special occasion and through the word of mouth we are getting newer customers who even ask for several other concierge services after the successful execution of the first food order.'

Wine after some time

'Taking a cue from this huge demand, we are in the process of adding several other services to our portfolio'. 'How about delivering wine, especially from the orders from NRIs?  '

'We are studying the possibility minutely and would love to add the service. But we want to make sure the laws are not broken. We are aware that a couple of people sell wine and deliver but we have been advised these are quasi-legal at best.'

UncleJi hain na
'Outside Delhi, it seems to be easier but the laws in Delhi are stricter. Although we are geared to supply through our partners' infrastructure we shall wait till organised retail opens up here like in Mumbai and Bangalore. When we extend our services to these areas; we plan to go pan-Indian, we plan to add wine and similar products to our portfolio too,' confides Shishir.

He clarifies in confidence that Uncleji's is in the final stage of negotiating services in many areas and within a couple of months would have many new services which are web-based.

Future Plans

Gupta brothers plan to add more services to the site in the coming weeks and months and expand the footprint across India. 

Their ideas and plans appear ambitious but do-able and one cannot help but wish them success since such services are welcome, especially if they are free to the user.

Subhash Arora
Websites: www.unclejis.com , www.unclejee.com
For more info, contact: sg@unclejis.com , support@unclejis.com

 

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