For today’s Q&A with a local business, we hear from New Canaan resident Usman Shaikh of dil figaro.
Here’s our exchange.
New Canaanite: It’s been one year since you launched your business, dil figaro, and since that time New Canaan has seen scores of new residents buy homes—just one offshoot of the pandemic. What would you like to tell those families about dil figaro’s service?
Usman Shaikh: Ever since we launched our service last year, we have been relentlessly learning from the community in terms of how to personalize our whole platform for them. Besides providing convenience by delivering meals at home—not to mention taking away the stress of cooking and saving time—we take pride in our ability to add the most important layer that sets us apart from companies like DoorDash and UberEats: personalization. It would be a privilege to continue to deliver health-fit and taste-matched meals from top-rated local restaurants to our community in this ‘new normal’ environment.
Part of what you’ve been doing in recent weeks is formal taste-testing and presentations to the public. How have they gone, and what has the feedback been like?
We have held a few tasting events to engage the community in order to better understand their nutritional needs while gaining an opportunity to clearly explain our value proposition that captures personalized advice in the meals that we source and deliver for them. The response has been highly encouraging. Needless to say, we would really appreciate their further patronage.
I know for my business, I did a lot of tweaking during the first year as I found the model that has worked for me longer term, and I imagine that’s true of a lot of new businesses. What sort of tweaks or modifications have you made to dil figaro since launching, if any?
We started by requiring all new clients to have a consultation session with our remarkable panel of dietitians – led by the Associate Director at Yale Medical School. However, we quickly realized, based on the candid feedback from our clients, that they would rather prefer that the advice should be somehow captured in the meals themselves. We made a pivot as a venture and had the panel label each and every meal, that we selected from a cohort of top-rated local restaurants, for its suitability based on health goals, medical conditions, and dietary restrictions. We also took note of taste preferences. This way, we were able to personalize the meals both in terms of health and taste for our clients. We will start a family dinner service from Jan 1st. This is something that the community has recently asked us to explore offering it.
I remember reading even one year ago that food delivery apps and services saw record-breaking activity after the pandemic had set in. What is your take on the way this new reality has changed people’s dining habits, and what is your prediction for the future?
Convenience does matter to the consumer—up to a point. There is a clear demand for personalizing the whole nutritional experience. That is exactly what we have done i.e. added the layer of personalization to convenience which is absent from the current market landscape. I think once the fear dissipates from this ‘new normal’, simple convenience will not be enough for the consumers to keep trusting the existing platforms to serve their nutritional needs.
How do differentiate dil figaro in such a competitive market?
dil figaro differentiates itself by virtue of personalizing the meals for our clients. We develop a personalized profile of each and every client and then match it with the labeled meals in our database to ensure suitability in terms of health goals, medical conditions, dietary restrictions, and taste preferences. This is, of course, in addition to the layer of convenience that you would typically expect from the market. The good thing is that our delivery charge is only $3.99 per delivery with zero tips or service fees. This is in quite contrast to the other major meal delivery companies.
What else would you like to tell our readers about dil figaro?
Just like most innovative ideas, our venture is also based on a strong conviction in its inherent ability to truly serve people’s unmet needs. In our context, it’s probably the most basic need we could have worked on: to nourish our bodies, and in turn our minds and souls, with super-healthy food that is personalized for us while keeping the whole experience simple enough.
[Past installments of our Q&A series with local businesses this holiday season can be found here.]