Streetside Korean Fried Chicken Store to Online Wholesale Grocery Platform

Reasmey Daneth has gone from founding a streetside Korean fried chicken store as a university student to launching an online grocery platform to serve the nation’s restaurants, mini marts and food stores.
Reasmey Daneth, 29, is CEO and co-founder of Tenbox startup. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Reasmey Daneth, 29, is CEO and co-founder of Tenbox startup. Kiripost/Siv Channa

As a junior university student, Reasmey Daneth started selling Korean fried chicken, which became her stepping stone to launch an online wholesale grocery for retail stores, mini marts, and restaurants after spotting a spike in demand during the pandemic.

Reasmey Daneth, 29, is the CEO and co-founder of Tenbox. She talked to Kiripost about how she co-founded the online wholesale grocery platform for retail stores and restaurants. She is also raising the first investment round to scale up her startup operations.

Recently shortlisted for the Financial Alliance for Women, she has succeeded in getting her Tenbox startup to join its Alliance Hack 2022 program, which helps build women entrepreneurs' access to trade and supply chains.

The idea to sell Korean fried chicken came from her co-founder, who was studying in South Korea and loves Korean tastes. They learned cooking techniques and the use of recipes by watching YouTube.

The company lasted for about a year before closing down. Her Korean fried chicken store was just opposite the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL), a populous area among university students with many cafes and fast food outlets on Russian Boulevard.

Reasmey Daneth. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Reasmey Daneth. Kiripost/Siv Channa

How Daneth launched Tenbox

During the pandemic-fueled lockdown of 2021, Daneth and her co-founder launched Tenbox. She said, “We have had experience running the Korean fried chicken store. We did it ourselves from morning until afternoon before going to Orussey Market to source groceries and necessary items.”

The business-to-business wholesale platform for retailers and restaurants hopes to ease the pain point she once encountered as a store owner herself.

The Korean fried chicken store served as one of the lessons when deciding to start Tenbox. She realized restaurant owners are often too busy throughout the day to focus on restocking. What if Tenbox could fill the gap by making it simpler to order groceries? She seized the opportunity.

With the nations’ lockdowns, curfews, and restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in place, she observed that delivery services can bring food to their customers’ doorstep. But retail store owners were unaware of how to restock items from suppliers, so Tenbox was founded.

“We had to find the quickest, easiest, and least expensive way to enter the market,” Daneth told Kiripost.

Now with Tenbox, which lists more than 7,000 products (sku), an entire stock order can be done with a few clicks for a door-to-door delivery service. Some of Tenbox’s customers include Eric Kayser, Doi Chaang Coffee, and The Alley.

“Seeing the problem, and with our experience, we started Tenbox to solve all these problems for restaurant owners.”

She noted, “We think that the courier company can deliver food to customers, but the shop owner does not know what the company needs to supply him, so we set up the service.

“We want to connect suppliers with the owners of restaurants. They don’t have to stock. We tackle the suppliers’ problem. There are many problems and impediments, Tenbox won’t have to go to the market to change the sector. Changing something is difficult.”

Tenbox is more of a service provider, serving as a middleman between suppliers and shop owners. As they still operate their business in the conventional way, she sees a need to coordinate and explain to them that it is a problem, but there is a solution.

Even with some early experience running a store, she said Tenbox brings her new experiences. “During our one-and-a-half year, we have learned something new that needs us to handle more.” She observed that restaurant owners cannot order a lot to stock as they have limited storage space.

“We started with the demand market model, but even without the Covid crisis, this demand is still growing. We recognized that the pandemic problem is pushing this trend forward.”

Plans to expand Tenbox

To start Tenbox, Daneth and her co-founder have used their own capital to build and test the minimum viable product. After a year now, she believes Tenbox is ready to raise its first round investment.

“Currently we are looking for investors. We need 50 percent of the investment for sales and marketing, 30 percent for operations, and 20 percent for technology and maintenance.” Recently, she recruited another co-founder to lead the Tenbox platform development.

“We begin with a defined marketing aim, knowing our target clients and getting to know them, describing ourselves in general, and at first use the phrase ‘Wholesale grocery with the best price’.”

Daneth noted that by using social media marketing, which is a low-cost marketing strategy, it allows Tenbox to reach a large number of customers. She also plans to expand the sales team.

Reasmey Daneth. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Reasmey Daneth. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Persistency and problem solving

The startup co-founder said in the classroom, she was not the best student. But she knows she loves one thing: problem solving.

Her entrepreneurial life is comparable to many other young Cambodian entrepreneurs in Phnom Penh. On weekends, she hangs out at a coffee shop and discusses business matters with her co-founders and friends.

“Sometimes I believe I should give up because anything we have done with clients and suppliers has not yet been appreciated, which makes us feel that anything we do makes no sense to them.”

She added, “I begin to ask myself questions, challenges, and problems that cause negative outcomes. I am down for a moment, but I want to challenge the champion. I’m persistent. When I'm stuck, I still wake up to create and discover alternatives.”

Daneth said hard work pays off as her parents are the best role models to follow. She credits her persistence to her mother, who was a seasoned seamstress. Her father worked as a banker.

“I was really delighted when Tenbox received its first order. I was feeling good and cheerful at the time when finding solutions to continue my journey,” she said.