Journalist Leaves the Pen Behind to Embrace the Pan for His First Food Startup
Unlike many of his peers, Sikka believes food is the most important part of a ‘foodtech’ startup. The technology is secondary.
Coveted English Literature degree from Hindu college, a successful career in journalism and a top job with India biggest PR firm, all this couldn’t satiate this 33 year old’s love for food. That’s why Pranshu Sikka decided to venture out with his own food startup, Be Bhukkad – ‘Love for Food’.
A first generation entrepreneur, Sikka started this venture in January 2017. Unlike many of his peers who feel technology will drive the food space, Sikka believes that the most important component remains the food and is still the where the value proposition lies.
Sikka’s first Be Bhukkad outlet currently offers Indian cuisine comprising veg and non-veg starters, curries and desserts. The brand is trying to keep things simple – understand the palate of your target market and pair it with standardised quality and service.
With his own savings and borrowings from his wife, Sikka infused 30 lakhs as seed money into the venture and started by renting a 2500 square foot base kitchen. Starting out as a 3 man set-up, the venture has already scaled up its employee strength to 14 culinary and delivery staff along with 3 managerial personnel. Over the past six months the kitchen has been equipped with state of the art cooking and packaging material, equipped to handle 2500 retail orders a day. Working on both the offline and online model Be Bhukkad has tied up with various aggregators to boost sales and reach as well.
While focusing on retail customers, the venture has also managed to tap into corporates looking for standardized and professionally managed food vending options. Some of their key corporate clientele include Yes Bank, 93.5 Red FM, SB Insurance, the High Commission of Canada, and law firm of Kaden Boriss Partners.
“None of us had any experience in this industry. And therefore our success lies in our team. Initially we doubled up and divided most of the operations in-house to understand how this trade works. From working the phones to delivering orders at the customer’s doorstep, we have done it all,” says Sikka.
With an 80 percent repeat customer rate, the company is bullish about its business growth. But as much as it wants to enhance business growth, the company also has ambitious plans to enhance the customer experience.
“We are streamlining our processes to become the first restaurant serving Indian cuisine that operates on a ‘30 minutes or Free’ model. Considering the quality, quantity and service expectations of millennials, we have set ourselves a target of April 2018 to roll out this model,” says Sikka.
The brand is looking at opening 3 more outlets by the end of this financial year including a sit down restaurant with a capacity for about 30 people. Realizing the vast potential of the afternoon market, the brand is looking to tap the corporate hubs of Noida for their maiden brick and mortar Be Bhukkad restaurant.
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