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Serving the Taste Buds of Bangalore Through Smallys

'We foresee Smallys in Chennai as a developing food market and facile in terms of logistics. We would like to enter Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad on the whole.'

Nikhil Hegde is an entrepreneur who is making waves in the restaurant scene with his unique concept. He runs perhaps India’s smallest restaurant chain – Smallys in Bangalore, recorded by Limca book of records. BW Disrupt spoke to him about the concept behind this inception.

After completing your engineering, what pulled you towards the F&B business?

- At the time, engineering is something that I was compelled to accomplish by social bounds. Embracing the griddle in the kitchenette was something that I was always keen on right through my youth. I tried multiple jobs until I started working on a business plan that I had no background of. Ideally spading myself into the depth of the restaurant business was the only solution. I started India’s smallest restaurant according to the Limca book of record, low on investment in a six seater and no investors to believe this model could work I learned the trick and trade of the F&B business here and in two months nothing really stopped Smallys from growing and we turned into a brand.

At the present scenario how profitable do you think the F&B business?

- Profitability is correlated to hard work and knowledge based on your research really. Being conservative and creating a concrete supply chain and keeping vendors on their toes by negotiating and ensuring logistics is on par is something that really allows you to make the business profitable. It’s a learning process and never really has an end to it. It’s challenging and exciting at the same time. I have really dogged into the business and have knowledgeable experience in the business aspects since I have worked in the back of house myself including cooking, service, supply chain and accounts. Mark-up’s in the food business were much smaller in comparison to most other businesses and government taxes are stringent as well and monitoring these and working around them is important to maintain a considerate growth factor.

How do you plan your finance?

We started as India’s smallest restaurant and the initial costs were much lower although post expansion we have a dedicated accounts team and each stream in managed with a specialist. We are 4 years in the business and are extremely confident and optimistic about the outlook of the business and are confident at looking for expansion and getting the business funded by the right company in order to create the same brand image, food quality and target audience in major metropolitan cities in India.

Brief us about your business model?

- As the name Smallys suggests we are a small fresh fast food concept. Our first restaurant was 138 squares and since demand crept up we now open anywhere between 750-1200 squares each restaurant. We bake our own pastries and desserts too. We sell 45 per cent burgers and most of them are grilled and have no health hazard. Since inception we have ensured food quality is never compromised and standard recipes are maintained at all outlets. We are looking at a centralised unit now in order to expand. Even our base ingredients are a secret and most base ingredients are homemade starting from the famous BBQ sauce. Fresh food is something that is always a challenge to serve consistently and we don’t want to be any other expansion story and I want to ensure that even if we are present globally we wouldn’t want any kind of food engineering or artificial ingredients to hamper our growth process.

How do you plan to compete with you competitors?

Food innovation and general food trends are always a challenge for any growing restaurant to stay ahead of the pack. We believe strongly that we are the number one fresh fast food joint in the city and there is no youngster in the city who hasn’t at least once grabbed a bite at any one of our units. We are aware of what our competitors are serving and due to our mass purchases in terms of supply chain we are able to keep costs low for the common man to leave the restaurant with his belly gorged. We constantly create new recipes and run specials with burgers and dishes from across the globe but we will always remain the one place you want to go back to as part of your childhood memory to grab one of the top ten burgers that our menu always is dishing out to customers.

What according to you is your USP?

We started as India’s smallest restaurant and have had a miraculous growth story when there was nobody selling fresh burgers at a budget and we leveraged on this aspect. Our USP is really our team of experienced chefs, our massive menu, mouth-watering burgers and options, the multiple awards we have won including the Masterchef Australia best restaurant award. We have managed to win most food awards in multiple events we have participated in the past. I would say our pricing, quantity, our retro ambience and service is our USP.

Brief us about your revenue forecast, how much revenue you have generated so far? 

We aspire targets of Rs 20 crores in terms of revenues currently by end of 2018 alongside a Smallys catering company in the pipeline. If we can penetrate into 4 major metropolitan cities we are confident of hitting over Rs 100 crores annually allowing us to also invest into self -owned units to procure inventories of supplies in bulk also giving us elbowroom to retain a standard pricing regardless of real estate prices across the country. We have created a brand in the hearts of the youngsters in the city and we see ourselves adding further brand value as we move forward.

Which are the cities you are planning to go next?

We foresee Smallys in Chennai as a developing food market and facile in terms of logistics. We would like to enter Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad on the whole.

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