Here is providing some interactive session of Gaurav Kumar Agarwal, Founder and CEO at Maktub Hospitality Private Limited who has created a multi-brand virtual kitchen model and has been running the model ever since he entered the business. This session will spring off the layers of experience of this man.
After starting Chawla’s 2 online.com in 2014, Gaurav under Maktub Hospitality Private Limited imagined brands like Sethi’s, Delhi Food Factory, Food Singh, Navab’s, Public Cafe, Wat-A-Biryani that has a pan India delivery now. Amongst his newest brands are Ministry of Burgers and Lost in Pizza.
We take a glance at an interactive session of this person with Happy tips.
HappyTipsy: How did you start your first brand and how did you replicate the process?
Gaurav Kumar Agarwal: Chawla’s 2 online.com, was started in Sector 41, Noida. The idea was to provide good quality food and unrivalled customer service. Initially, we started with the North Indian cuisine and gradually introduced Mughlai, Awadhi, Hyderabadi, Punjabi, Biryani and now Italian, American and Chinese.
Each cuisine is owned by a brand likewise; Delhi Food Factory delivers Punjabi cuisine, Navab’s is for Mughlai, Food Singh provides Awadhi cuisine, Sethi’s has already made a mark in Hyderabad cuisine. My recent introductions, Ministry of Burgers delivers American cuisine, Lost in Pizza caters to Italian cuisine. Besides these, we also have BakeryMen that caters to offering delicious bakery products, Chination that caters to Chinese cuisine and DietPro which is a diet brand.
We could replicate within the brands because I visualized something critical in the initial days which was to use any kitchen’s left out potential to the fullest.
Hence, I ideated a franchise model where we would approach kitchens to deliver quality food under the name of Chawla’s 2 online.com and use its capped potential. We were able to produce 6-7K orders from a single kitchen hence utilizing its potential to the fullest. This became possible because we have complete ownership of these virtual outlets.
This is how we started from Noida and expanded in Indirapuram and now Pan India with operations across 35 cities. We have already crossed more than 525 outlets across the country. This is expected to reach 1,000 by the end of 2018. I started on this journey alone but later found associate partners in Ankit Rastogi for Navab’s, Somesh Jaiswal for Food Singh and Ravish Jha for Wat-a-Biryani.
HappyTipsy: What was the source of funding for your brand, how you scaled and what challenges have you encountered?
Gaurav: Source of funding is the most critical feature in starting any brand. With my brands, we started on our own, and as we kept moving, operational expenses kept rising to match our growing business lines and brands.
In the initial days, I had to eventually sell assets and maintain inflow of cash to keep the brands and the business running. Selling assets is a significant risk, but at the same time, it was balanced by aspirations of setting up brands such as Chawla’s 2 online.com and others.
I had to sell all my real estate assets and take a loan on my house to keep the capital inflow strong. I did approach investors, but everyone felt that my idea was dicey. People always look for the safer side with their money. Hence, there was no option for me other than mortgaging my house and raising funds.
Regarding challenges, we had initial operational challenges while scaling the brands and setting them up. In cities like Bengaluru, we had a communication problem with the team, so we had to go and hire locals in Bengaluru as it is one of our back-end support centres. Besides these, big players in the market created chaos in almost every city.
The industry is such that you need patience and time to set up.
HappyTipsy: Tell us about your complete execution process. End to end.
Gaurav: We operate in an industry where a product or a service is done by someone and marketed and delivered by someone else.
This is the great outsourcing model.
Applying a reverse analogy, I standardized my products, set up standard operating procedures and implemented the same in kitchens that we collaborated with. This ensured a streamlined process of client servicing. The vision was always to set up virtual multi-brand kitchen franchise that we are today.
We have our audit and hygiene team that carries out stringent quality checks across kitchens that we own and make sure quality is maintained in whatever we deliver. I would like to make a special mention of Charvi Raman who helped me create the next level tech-embedded system for a faster business and she helped me build the latest technology implementation in the marketing stream.