TWO busy mums have created their own meal delivery business worth £2.7 million – and it all started from their home kitchen.
Next door neighbours Renee Williams and Anshu Ahuja launched DabbaDrop in 2018 after falling in love with feeding hungry locals in their area.
The South Asian-inspired takeaway brand works on a subscription basis with customers able to choose if five or ten meals are delivered once a week or every two weeks.
With a three and six-year-old between them, they felt a yearning to create a business where they could take control of their working hours while sharing their culinary skills.
Anshu says: "It started very organically with me cooking South Asian food out of my own kitchen for about 20 people or so on our street.
"One of which was Renee who thought it was a brilliant idea and conversations very quickly turned into how we can make this bigger and better."
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Starting out in Anshu's own kitchen, she and Renee began with just 20 people who lived on their street as a community project.
Renee says they wanted to remove the task of desperately searching for a meal on apps.
Customers sign up and select how many people are being fed and select if a weekly or a fortnightly drop.
She said: "Too much time is spent scrolling through UberEats or Deliveroo wondering what to eat that night.
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"We really wanted to bring back the excitement surrounding takeaways and give customers a takeaway to look forward to rather than one that’s chosen out of convenience."
It snowballed and today they deliver to over 2,000 people in the East London area with hopes to deliver across London before expanding into more cities.
Anshu had been working as a TV producer behind Brit classics First Dates and One Born Every Minute while New Zealand-born Renee worked as an events producer.
Although the pair were passionate about their roles, the idea of being able to take control of their own working hours while creating delicious recipes was irresistible as they juggled being mums.
Filling the shoes of their own boss was "a bit of a shock at first".
Renee says: "We found some people don’t react very well to having a female boss.
"Part of the journey is learning how to tactfully deal with people with this particular mindset and remind ourselves that we deserve to be here.”
They proudly claim one of their main points of difference is their promise to maintain a sustainable edge.
DabbaDrop are brought directly to customers on a bike free of charge. The food is packed inside a reusable stainless steel box with delivery riders swapping out the kits during each visit.
Since launching, they have saved 142,580 plastic containers from going to landfill and saved 2,500kg of food from being wasted.
Anshu said: “It makes sense for food businesses to be making changes in order to be more environmentally friendly."
Food waste is a huge problem in the UK, with Brits throwing out about 9.5 million tonnes of scraps each year.
With the business worth £2.7million and the pair making plans to expand, Anshu says confidence has been key.
She said: “Imposter syndrome is really common amongst women so believing in yourself is just as vital as having all the business know-how.
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As first-time female business owners managing staff, that’s been a huge learning curve.
“It comes from a belief that you are the boss and when you’ve not been in a senior position it’s quite hard to stand up and prove people wrong."
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