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Help me grow the Parsi Food Revolution!

Earlier this month, I had the amazing privilege of once again talking about my baby, Bawi Bride at The Open House.

For those who don’t know much about me, I am a true blue Rodinhood success story and I owe the founding of my business to this amazing community. It all started when I posted a discussion about whether my blog could be developed into a business and like wandering children come back to their mother, I keep coming back here everytime its time to grow and I need help in knowing HOW to do it. 

If you missed the awesome-ness that was the December OH, it was a mixture of looking back to reflect on what I’ve achieved with Bawi Bride till date and looking ahead to evaluate the different ways it could grow. Here it is below for all of you:

So I can hear you thinking in your head..get to the point already..so I will. My vision as is clear from the presentation is to revive Parsi food to its former glory and make it accessible to people in India, easily. 

To do this I have two plans – the immediate plan and the six month plan.

The Immediate Plan

Currently we average about 1 promoted popup/event and about 15 catering orders every month. While the business has been profitable from day one, this small amount of orders has meant that I do all the cooking myself along with a part-time helper to help with the kitchen prep. For me to expand, I need to get out of the kitchen and onto the streets talking to future customers and setting up new synergies etc. 

Therefore, the immediate plan is to hire 1 x full time chef and 2 x helpers to start a regular meal service providing delicious Parsi Bhonu every day of the month directly to people at home. The aim with this is to make the central kitchen financially sustainable. The focus will still be on catering but regular meals allows greater flexibility with staffing costs and helps reduce food wastage and increase margins.

While there are a lot such dabba services catering to old Parsi couples and young professionals my research has indicated that these guys are not online, provide little to no customer service and their meals keep repeating. Customers are also trapped in for the entire month which means that people who want to simply ‘explore’ the cuisine or are travelling to Mumbai for brief periods are left out at sea. 

We will be different by:

  • Singular focus on exceptional customer service and product quality
  • No repeats of meals (except Dhansak) for the entire month
  • In addition to monthly plans, offer a pre-paid ‘7 day meal card’ that can be used for any 7 meals across the span of the month adding flexibility for Parsi food newbies
  • Easily accessible online so that carers living internationally can find us and book our services without hassle

What I need: Connections to people who’ve setup a small kitchen so I can understand more about equipment requirements, staffing norms, product standardisation etc. Ideas on how we can approach non-Parsi people about this service and convert them into subscribing.

The Long-Term Plan:

Even though a bunch of caterers exist, the number of restaurants and Irani cafe’s continue to shrink. To truly make Parsi food accessible to more people in Mumbai, I’d like to set up a food truck. Now I can practically see you all shaking your heads as I’ve heard from a few people that the food truck business is not possible in India because there is no such thing as a ‘Food Truck License’.

Without this license, the business would mainly rely on paying a regular ‘Hafta’ to the cops or would be a fake food truck that is stuck with operating from one location only like many that are currently in Carter Road and another in Bangalore. 

Am convinced that the Indian markets is ripe for the food truck revolution – all we need is someone to be the first.

What I need: I’ve read so much about our Jugaad nature so now I need some Jugaad ideas. Is there a way around this problem? Could I get multiple Hawker licenses for 6 – 7 locations as a start? Should I just forget about the licences for now and take some food and head out in my Polo itself?  

While all of this happens ofcourse, I’d like to continue expanding our regular catering business by doing more pop-ups (potentially outside Mumbai too) and collaborations (we are doing an amazing one with Pesca Fresh thanks to the lovely Sangram and Nisha!). I want Bawi Bride Kitchen to be known as the go-to place for Parsi bhonu so all your inputs on how I can grow would be really valued!

Would your startup like some delicious Parsi nosh? Do you know a Parsi food lover in your circle of influence? Do you have a great venue and are looking for an event partnership? Interested to learn more about our Bhonu service? Please share your ideas and thoughts below!

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6 Comments

  1. perzen,

    i’ve been meaning to speak to you post your presentation. i really really think you should find a co-founder to share your burden – it will help you scale. i know you have so many expansion plans and i’m sure you will be able to execute it better if you have someone to partner with who shares your vision.

    being a single founder gets very scary and lonely at times. since you make your own food – that can’t be good for you 🙂

    all the best – hope some of the folks you connected with at the Open House have been able to guide you on the food truck idea… 

    do share your food truck learnings as quite a few rodinhooders want to do something on similar lines in different cities (with diff cuisines of course!)

  2. perzen check out these meal delivery cos in m’bai.. i think you can have a tie up with them and include parsi food in their meal plans

    http://www.spicebox.in/

    http://www.foodizm.in/

  3. Perzen,

    I think you should have a meeting with my brother chef Viraf and see if you can find some synergy there. My Sis in law though not a bawi make awesome parsi food!

    Cheers,

    Kaiz

  4. perz – u’re doing a pop tomo, right?

    that’s a great niche mkt to be in!

    read this and thought of you!

    http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/NJYFmmenxJPbp9SAUiiG4M/Popup-flavours.html

  5. Hi Perzen,

    As far as the licenses go, there are a lot of ways you can get one, like recently just before the elections, the authorities were giving out free hawker licenses & people stood in kilometer long ques to get a free license. Your options the way i see it are as below…

    1. Check with local hawkers if they have extra licenses. They could either sell it to you or you could work with some profit sharing with them.
    2. Visit local BMC ward offices, they will give you an inside scoop of when these licenses will be issued again.

    Wishing you all the very best for your venture & plans.

    Cheers

  6. I am not much aware of Parsi food till now, only sticking to mostly north Indian food, but will certainly search more about it to check what option I have to add it to our food menu, thanks

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