Pocket Chef
Food Technology Startup
Side Project
My Role
Co-founder and Product Designer
Timeline
1 year (2014-2015)
About the company

PocketChef was a food tech startup based out of Hyderabad, India. It offered most affordable and quality solution to our daily problem of finding a good meal. Planning of the whole idea started in November 2014 and launched in October 2015.For startups, it’s important to “go live” as soon as possible and start generating revenue. This definitely drives a sense of urgency to launch. Once the strategy and goals are well defined, most companies move straight to launching their brand. Logos, website design, and social media hit the top of the list.

Outcome
With the team of just 5 people, we scaled the business from 5 orders per day to 200 orders per day within the span of 3 months.
Branding
The First Step

Why it is important?

The Brand is the most important experience you deliver to your customers. The entire essence of branding is the connection between company and customer, learning to understand the customer and why they should love our product. Once we understand the customer and what drives them to our product, we can create our brand’s visual identity. For a start-up like us, branding was the key factor to gain trust of a customer when there were already big players in the market in the same domain.

Logo Design idea

PocketChef, which was composed of words “Pocket” and “Chef”. Pocket implies Pocket-friendly and Chef implies food. So, the basic idea came from the name. Many people suggest to go with the wordmark initially, and once idea becomes a success and starts generating profit, go for a brand change that would give you much more customers. But, I think for a food tech start-up, it is always better to get branding right from the very beginning. Because, your customer will be interacting with your brand either through your website or packaging on a daily basis. If you do not give them a good brand to be happy and delighted with, they will not come to you.

Keeping the value of a good brand in our mind, we started brainstorming on the design. In general, for a better identity of a company in the market, if a logo reflects the company’s idea and what it is going to offer, it creates better brand value and a connection overall. So, we decided on it having minimum elements in it, which was a pocket and a chef. We started sketching all the ideas that came to our mind.

These were the actual sketches and illustrations that we tried and tested before finalizing the actual one:
And this what we finally decided to
go with to represent our identity.
App Design
The Second Step
"You are don't have to follow the exact steps of the design thinking process in the exact sequence. You need to take it as it is and optimize it until it fits to your needs. Always remember, there is not such thing called one size fits all, so don't follow anything blindly."

Design Thinking and User Centered Design Process

As a food delivery startup, our prime focus was always on the providing quality food at a reasonable price. We carried over the same philosophy when we started working on the design ideas for the mobile application. We wanted to craft a best possible user experience for our customers and our obvious choice was to follow the design thinking process which was getting traction in the digital design world during that time.

UCD Process

Research

When we started Pocket Chef in Hyderabad, there was no one in the market addressing this particular problem and we wanted to take advantage of first movers. So, we kept our research short and focused on only these areas:

Who are the users?
  • Demography
  • Painpoints
  • Goal and Motivation
  • Competitive Analysis
  • User Feedback
  • Design/Technology Trends
What's working now?

This research revealed us some very good insights and that paved path for our future steps.
Some of the insights were:

  • There was serious need for quality food at a very reasonable price specially among bachelors having corporate jobs
  • People wanted convenience over high price but not too high.
  • People did not want to get overwhelmed by choices. They wanted to eat food, not swim in the stream of choices and get lost.
  • Due to the slow internet connection, people did not want to click more to complete a task.

We took these insights and started jotting down our MVP list so that we can launch our app early with enough features and good user experience. Next couple of weeks went into brainstorming on finding the right user-flows that can help users to complete their tasks effectively and efficiently.
Some of the images from our whiteboards. (Mind the quality as we did not have good phones then)

Concept

Getting the user flow right was the most challenging task. We wanted to find the best possible flow that takes minimum clicks to achieve users goal of ordering a nice meal. Some of the whiteboard and paper sketches are below:

Design/Prototype

During the time, testing on the paper prototypes was a challenge. It was getting difficult for users to follow the entire flow just through whiteboard sketches. So, we decided to do a high-fidelity prototype for a quick user testing before we start the development. After going multiple times through testing, feedback, and iterate cycle, we designed our final screens which were not only solving users' problem of ordering a delicious meals fast but also giving them a seamless user experience.
Some of the screens are posted below:

Conclusion

As African proverb goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Similarly, opening and running a startup is no less than raising a child. It requires pure blood and sweat to build an operationally and technologically intense startup. Overall, this was one of the most important time of my life. It, not just introduced me to my passion, but taught me what is requires to be an entrepreneur...