How a takeout service got funding from its patrons

Noodle Play founder Hitesh Bhatia on securing Rs 1 crore funding – from his own customers – and his expansion plans

Noodle Play is a Chinese food delivery venture. A key parameter that sets us apart is that our food is oil free. We realized that above everything, it’s food that we are selling, and it needs to taste great. We travelled to Kolkata for research since that’s where Indian Chinese cuisine was born.


Pre- and post Partition, many people from the Hakka district had moved there, and the locals picked up the same recipes. They are practically salt-free too. Chinese food is usually braised, boiled, poached etc, while most Indian Chinese is dripping in oil.


I wasn’t expecting my own customers to come forward and invest in my brand. I’m very hands on, and I like to interact with people who order our food. A couple of people became my friends after I personally went over to deliver some food, and I asked them for feedback. Once they learnt more about the idea, they showed interest in building it. In total, we’ve got funding of Rs 1 crore as of now.


We don’t own our kitchens; they’re all contract-based, which makes our operations easier to scale. The aim is to have about 20 Noodle Plays in Mumbai by December, and at least 50 overall before we venture into other cities.


Right now, I’m pitching my venture to potential investors, as well as some others who have approached me themselves. My next round of funding will also come from some customers, after which I will work with some companies.


The dine-in concept might be implemented at a later stage. It’s not a priority for us right now. We don’t want to operate from a large central kitchen; we want smaller ones in multiple localities and areas since we like to make everything fresh and on the spot.

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