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BonAppetour is a community marketplace that connects travellers with local hosts for unique dining experiences around the world. For travellers, this is a great way to experience local culture, have a taste of delicious authentic local food and make new friends in a city where they initially knew no one. For hosts, this is a great way to showcase their cooking skills to people from around the world, get appreciated for it, and actually monetize what they are inherently passionate about – which is cooking and entertaining.
Talking about the idea behind it, Rinita recalls “We came up with the idea while we were still in university and we were backpacking around in Europe, and on a Christmas Eve in London, we found ourselves very hungry because all the restaurants were closed for the holidays.”
Being spontaneous travellers, Rinita and her friends were unprepared for such a situation to arise. “We then thought, how nice it would be if we could join in a family in their home for the celebrations – not only would we be able to eat amazing food, we would also experience how the locals lived in London,” says the founder. She realized that there was a huge market opportunity here – travellers are always looking for amazing and unique experiences and what better way than to combine this element with food? So Rinita along with two others started up BonAppetour.
Rinita believes that it’s important to have family support while running a business.
“My parents were supportive at first – because I was doing all this in while in university. But after graduation, when I decided to do this full time, instead of applying for a well-paying, stable job, they were a little worried”, says Rinita. It took a little time and patience for her parents to allow Rinita in pursuing this journey.
“They have shown immense trust in me and my decisions” says the founder happily.
Talking about risks, when Rinita started up she was still studying at National University of Singapore. Unlike many entrepreneurs, Rinita did not have to quit a high paying job or a luxurious lifestyle to start something of her own.
There was very little risk, I was still very young and did not have many commitments, adds the founder.
Customers’ review is crucial to one’s work and Rinita agrees with this. “Reading the reviews of customers who have dined on BonAppetour is the biggest inspiration for me.” BonAppetour is helping people to have amazing experiences.
The fact that we are making an impact motivates us. Hosts are appreciated for their service, so in a way we are supporting people to pursue their passions.
Running a business has its own set of challenges, with hindrances at every step of your journey, the amount of stress and pressure will be higher, which does not allow you to focus on growing the business.
Not getting a stable, well-paying job and committing to a journey of independence and self-motivation is a challenge. Rinita says that she has had to cut down on recreation/social gatherings. Apart from the personal challenges, Rinita says that scaling the business remotely is equally tough. “We are based out of Singapore, but our market is in Europe. To cater to this problem, we built a model that allows us to scale city-by- city – a growth model that is a hybrid between Airbnb and Uber. It allowed us to streamline the process in such a way that it is very cost efficient and at the same time executable within 2 weeks,” she adds.
Remembering her experience, Rinita says that entrepreneurship has been an enriching journey for her.
I have become more confident, and I am able to deal with crisis situations with a straight/calm head. I love how the journey has helped me think of creative solutions to problems.
She advises the future women entrepreneurs to be confident in themselves and their abilities and pursue their dreams.
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