Ross Cristantiello Wicked Local Metro, Needham, Mass.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Zuby Singh is the founder of Spice Delight Catering. Her goal is to make catering personal, to make it ideal for small households and even individuals.
Fifteen years ago, while working in business strategy and market intelligence, Zuby Singh had an idea.
As a busy mom, Singh found herself stressed about providing meals for her family throughout the week. When people think of catering, they think of large groups and big events. She wanted to make catering personal, to make it ideal for small households and even individuals. Instead of simply ordering a meal online to be delivered that day, Singh's premise centered on allowing people to preorder meals for multiple days or an entire week.
Singh drew from the concept of tiffin service, which is popular in India. This is a subscription service where customers pick days and have a meal delivered. Normally customers don't choose the specific meals, just when and where they should be delivered. This makes planning easy, she said.
But Singh had a full life and a busy career. Her catering idea sat on the backburner while a different passion percolated: real estate. In 2020, she finally set out to take classes and earn the proper licensing for a career as a realtor. But the COVID pandemic struck, and her classes were shut down. It was then that her tiffin-like service came back to mind.
"It was one of those things where the situation didn't work out. Now that it was COVID, and I couldn't do what I was trying to do, the entrepreneur in me just kicked in," Singh said.
Luckily, Singh has a close friend who runs Spice Delight, an Indian restaurant in Belmont, she said. Another friend operates a logistics delivery company. By teaming up with them, Singh launched Spice Delight Catering, with delivery to 10 towns daily: Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Burlington, Cambridge, Lexington, Waltham, Watertown, Winchester, and Woburn. Singh is a Lexington resident.
The menu is based around specific packages that customers can order. These can be for large groups or for small daily meals. Customers can choose from pre-made packages or make their own. Meal orders submitted by 9 p.m. will be delivered between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. the following day, at the earliest. Those ordering meals can plan up to a week of orders in advance. Orders can be made at www.spicedelightcatering.com.
While other interests had occupied her days before the pandemic, the amount of free time it created for Singh made this business a reality. "This was a big thing I wanted to do, but I never had the time. Now that I had left everything to go for real estate, and that wasn't working out, I had time. Time was a big deal," Singh said.
Over almost the past two years Singh has worked to streamline the system. There have been surprisingly few hiccups she said. Most of the difficulty is explaining the non-traditional menu to potential customers, and getting the word out to new areas.
When Singh initially came up with this idea, she thought her typical customer would be young professionals and single Indian men, she said. Her clientele proved more diverse.
"I knew the dynamics had changed, but I still felt a lot of young professionals would get it... I'm finding that's not necessarily the case. I was surprised to find that a lot of older couples, people with no children are ordering this. Many couples will also order if they know they're having company," she said.
In the future, Singh hopes to expand the business and offer delivery beyond her 10 core towns. The number of delivery drivers available and heavy traffic are obstacles she is working to overcome on this front, she said.
Testing this model during the pandemic has proven valuable, she added. "It's definitely a COVID-proven model," Singh said. It's COVID friendly. "If COVID is here for three or four years, we're ready." ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.