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Startup

The First Step – my wife’s food venture!

THE FIRST STEP

While I was busy seeking the guidance of fellow Rodinhooders before taking my first step towards entrepreneurship, my wife, Kiran was busy with her own plans to start her own business venture. I am still struck with the question, “to be or not to be” or what to do with my life?

But Kiran has already launched her own small food business venture. She is a foodpreneur now. She is an excellent cook and she likes to bake also. Cooking is her hobby and she wants more people to enjoy the food cooked by her. It gives her immense satisfaction when people compliment her after tasting the food prepared by her. In the past, she has conducted baking classes for her friends without charging any fee. In fact, the cost of all ingredients for these classes was borne by her and the cooked delicacies are served to the friends attending the classes along with complimentary tea. Her friends have requested her to bake cakes for their families on the occasion of birthdays or marriage anniversaries.

So, she decided to use her cooking talents to spread happiness by serving healthy and hygienic cakes to the families residing in our society.

Once her mind was made up she drew up a menu of cakes which could be baked at home. She wrote down the recipes for the cakes and prepared these, number of times. Thus, she arrived at the standard product for sale. Once the recipes were ready, she decided on the price she would charge for the cakes.  This was a tough step as she was not sure of the price the customers are likely to pay for her products. She visited a few bakeries and priced her products at a discount to the price being charged by the local bakeries. She argued that the people will be ready to pay her price as the cakes are being baked at home using good ingredients. She knows that all cakes not sold in the market will be consumed by the family members and this acts as a quality check for the preparation of cakes.

Thereafter, she contacted a printer to print flyers / leaflets for her venture and got the flyers printed. The number of flyers ordered for printing is equal to the number of flats in our society. A photograph of the leaflet is pasted below for information.

 

In this venture, I was given the following responsibilities:

  • Purchase Raw Materials
  • Distribute Leaflets
  • Deliver the cakes

She herself is responsible for taking all the orders over mobile phone and bakes the cakes as per the orders from customers.

 

It has been a week since the flyers have been distributed to all the society members. There have been five orders and a couple of inquiries. A lady enquired about the schedule of the baking classes. The overall response has not been up to her expectations as she expected the orders to pour in daily. There have been no orders in the last two days.

Her aim of starting the venture is to use her talents to spread happiness and make healthy and hygienic food available to the families of working mothers in the comfort of their homes.

The production can be scaled up by having a dedicated kitchen for baking the products. The recipes in the menu can also be increased as per the requirement of the customers. she is also open to the idea of cooking other vegetarian recipes. She is a vegetarian and cooking of non vegetarian food is strictly out of bound in her kitchen.

We are writing this post to seek help of the fellow Rodinhooders to get a feedback on following points:-

  • Is it a workable plan?
  • How can she get more orders?
  • What are the likely reasons for a poor response to the venture?

We are based at NOIDA and are willing to supply the cakes anywhere in NOIDA. We will also appreciate orders from fellow Rodinhooders.

We are open to other kind of collaboration. 

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26 Comments

  1. narinder,

    i’m going to share lots of links with you to read. and connect foodpreneur rodinhooders with you. but my thoughts first…

    – the food biz is super competitive, but there is always room for good, clean, home-cooked food! being a home-chef works! but again, it depends on where you live and what kind of market + competition exists!

    some ideas to test the waters: 

    1) start with known people – word of mouth is what is going to help the biz the most! 

    – your TA is what we call “guilty mothers” in advertising jargon – working/non working moms who don’t know baking or don’t have the bandwidth to bake, but those who want their kids to be able to eat fresh, hygienic home-baked goodies! initially you may need to get kiran’s goodies sampled. tasting is believing! 

    – healthy cakes & cupcakes make a good snack for school going kids in their tiffin/milk time in the evenings.

    – is there a small play school nearby that would welcome mini cupcakes? is there a school nearby where the canteen would be open to a home-baker’s products?

    – is there an office nearby where you could get kiran’s goodies sampled? eg. the sheroes office is in noida – go surprise the ladies! an office that has a canteen/lunch hall would be a good place.

    – BIRTHDAY PARTIES/KITTY PARTIES – do one free for a friend! it will spread the word and get you more customers!

    – people like to have a cake at home over the weekends. 

    – are there any flea markets/organic food weekend markets in noida? in mumbai/b’lore/hyd/goa we have lots of those.

    – in maharashtra & goa, grocery stores sell home-chef’s goodies as well. identify one nearby.

    2) START A FACEBOOK PAGE. make sure the menu/pix etc are up there. share WHATSAPP number for orders as well. my neighbour (who is a popular in our school PTA/football gp etc) bakes at home and whenever she has an order and she’s baking she quickly creates a small whatsapp gp and asks if anyone else wants to order. works like a charm! in the evening she deletes that gp!!

    3) check out platforms for home chefs but be careful some of them really squeeze the home chefs 🙁

    4) do a survey and ask people what kind of products they prefer!

    5) START PAID BAKING CLASSES FOR LADIES & KIDS (separately!) – for kids – tie up with activity centres/schools or club house in the society you live in/nearby. trust me, these do very well especially in the school holidays.

    START SMALL. and don’t get disheartened. but it might take time!

    now read all these posts and every comment on them!

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/what-s-cooking-dear-i-asked-p

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/bawi-bride-opens-kitchen-than

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/starting-a-home-bakery

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/mystical-bundle-glorifying-ce

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/what-do-you-expect-from-an-on

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/ashish-the-cakeman-who-delive

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/ideas-to-start-a-business-in-rs-50000

  2. Loved the story of little venture born out of love for cooking. I love cooking and was chatting with my huband yesterday about actually making it a business. The only 2 things I do when I am free is cook and workout, but majority of the time goes in cooking. I experiment with ingredients. And just like you wife, I like people trying my food and complimenting if its really good and it is 🙂

  3. Hi Gomti,

    Kiran was happy to read your reply to the post. 

    She also read your post “How I got myself admitted to school”. She was amazed at your grit and determination to change the course of your life. You truly are a hero in her eyes.

    Your story and your reply will give her encouragement to follow her dreams.

    Narinder

  4. Just Bake It and People will Take It….Khushboo se hi log aa jayenge aap ke ghar inko khaane…

  5. narinder,

    alok shared your post on his fb. kindly check and respond to the comments there!

    Tarun Chugh Points to ponder :
    1) The flyer is of very poor quality. It should be colourful and should have a shimmer varnish just like a good advertising flyer.
    2) in the flyer it’s written contact Kiran .. Who is Kiran ? Write something like Kiran is a @home mom who loves to bake and cook food.baking is her life and she is cook by passion (and if u have any culinary experience or education please mention it )
    3. As mentioned the Fb page should be up and running and should have videos of u cooking cakes and showing ur wares
    4. I am a who seller of sarees .. On my first day of business I sold just 16 sarees .. U got five orders and enquirers u should not lose hope . If u r good enough and persistent u will succeed
    5. Marketing needs to be an ongoing process. Don’t stop in marketing ur business ever ,even if u don’t get any results
    6. Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey. No one will come and hold ur hand .. Try to limit capital exposure and stay in the game for the long term .. Don’t give up in 2-4 months

  6. Hi Narinder, 

    We at Mystical Bundle are in the same Line of business and deliver cakes across Delhi/NCR. We also started from a small kitchen at home. I would recommend you:

    1) To work on the Brochure : Presentation really matters, there are number of restaurants who distribute brochures in a particular society daily. Your chances of getting noticed are Nil. You need to stand out! Your brochure should be attractive. Add some pictures to it & make it interactive. (Get copyright free images from https://pixabay.com)

    2)To be active on all social media platforms (You can’t ignore this one): You need to be active on all social media sites. Decide a name for your venture and create a facebook page , an Instagram/snapchat account. Upload photos daily, you can upload videos too. (While frosting a cake, Mixing the batter, etc) Check out our social media accounts for reference: Instagram: @mysticalbundle , Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mysticalbundle

    3)Learn from other bakers and stay updated: Follow bakers on youtube, you’ll learn a lot from them. (I still do this). You’ll get to know what’s trending, what people like, you’ll get thousands of new ideas from youtube. 

    4)List your business on zomato: This one step will get you atleast 2-3 orders in week for sure.(Only if you have uploaded pictures of your cakes on zomato). More good your cakes look, more orders will flow in. And the best part is you don’t have to pay them anything. No commission at all..You might get calls from Zomato, asking you to market your brand with them but don’t fall into that trap right now. Stay limited to free listing. 

    I would again highly recommend you to click pictures and start uploading them on social media. Make you social media accounts interactive. This won’t cost you anything and would definitely fetch you some orders daily (Gradually) and if your cakes are good enough you will get repeat customers and they would recommend you to their friends & family and I am sure you know word of mouth is the best marketing a brand can get. 

    Just in case you need any help. I’ll be glad to assist to you with whatever little knowledge I have. You can email me at Anant@mysticalbundle.com

    Good Luck! Keep baking !

    Cheers!

    Anant

  7. I am sure Kiran, will do well in her venture because she loves that job.

  8. hey thanks for commenting anant. i had shared ur link with narinder!

  9. not to dishearten you and kiran, but before you sign up with a home-chef aggregator, pls read this article in ET

    http://tech.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/startups/4-aggregators-working-with-home-chefs-shut-shop/53805047

  10. Many workable ideas have been shared, adding my 2 cents :-

    1. Try the customised cakes way i.e. putting name, picture, message or quotes from loved ones.

    2. start a youtube channel and showcase “how to make good cakes” and in between advertise your own creation/brand. Many people will see this but most wont make it on their own rather They will order from u.

    3. Diwali is coming, do these cakes have long shelf life ? They can be a suitable Gifting option ? There are lots of gifting solution agencies who want something unique as gifts.

    4. To get things going, you can tie-up with good bakery in your region and make cakes for them.

    5. Write a column in schools magazine, school magazines are cheap and goes for good number of families.

    6. Kitty parties are good place to showcase.

  11. Dear Ms Asha, (I hope you will not get offended like Ms Irani for this salutation)

    Thanks a lot for opening our eyes to the world of possibilities for us. 

    Your reply has given us a lot of food for thought. It took us a couple of days to just consume the valuable and helpful information provided by. That is the reason for the delay in reply to the post.

    It will now take us a lot of more time to fully digest the information provided to us through the links. I have now realised that therodinhood.com is not only a site for entrepreneurs but is a goldmine. 

    Kiran joins me in conveying our gratitude to you for all the help. We are deeply touched.

    Thanks and regards

    Narinder

  12. Thanks a lot, Gomti. Your good wishes will certainly give us strength to persevere.

    Kiran

  13. Dear Arpit,

    Thanks for your good wishes.

    Narinder

  14. hahaha narinder, pls call me asha – that’s what everyone calls me 🙂

    there was another post that you must go through – http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/hungry-buddies-smartest-way-to-order-food

    shefali is based in noida – do try and connect with her – you have synergies!!

  15. Asha,

    Thanks once again. I am also grateful to you for making the subject of the discussion more relevant by your thoughtful editing. Your edit really gave it a nice touch.

    Narinder

  16. Asha,

    Please convey my gratitude to Tarun Chugh for his valuable comments. We found all his  suggestions very relevant and very apt.

    Thanks and regards

    Narinder

  17. Hi Anant,

    Read almost everything about your venture. 

    Congrats..You have a great thing going.

    We appreciate your suggestions and guidance. I have written a mail also to you.

    Thanks 

    Narinder

  18. Hi Varun,

    Thanks a lot for your advise. Your two cents are worth like a million dollar to us.

    We will certainly work on your suggestions.

    Thanks and Regards

    Narinder

  19. Dear Mr Anant,

    Can you spare sometime to meet and guide us in this venture. We can explore other possibilities also during the meeting…

    Thanks and regards

    Narinder

  20. Is your wife making cakes basis what she like or what customers want?

    Let me give you an example:

    In the South of Mumbai area that I stay in, there is a HUGE demand for Eggless Cakes given the Marwari, Gujurati population. There is a huge demand of sugar free confectionary since people wanna lose weight.

    Is there any special angle your wife can capture in the area you stay in?

    Ps – There is a relative of ours who does HIGHLY SPECIALISED CAKES that are prints of Cartoons on the cake face… Each Cake costs 2500+ but there is a huge demand for those cakes for kids birthdays!

  21. Dear Mr Alok,

    Thanks for finding time to reply to my post.

    You make a very valid point in your post. As we are not sure what the customers want we are presently making common cakes generally being consumed by the people.

    You are spot on in guiding us to find the USP of our product.

    Our cakes are “freshly prepared in clean and hygienic environment of our kitchen, with lot of love and care, by a passionate mother, using the best quality raw materials, customised to personal taste so as to create “ENTICING POSSIBILITIES”.

    On order, specialised cakes with personal photographs or photographs of your favourite character can also be prepared.

    Please advise whether our sales pitch mentioned above works or not and what do you think of the Brand Name “Enticing Possibilities.”

    Thanks and Regards

    Narinder 

  22. Dear Mr Anant,

    Thanks a lot to you and Krishma for sparing your valuable time to meet us. It was a very useful meeting for us.

    We were amazed with your open and helping attitude. 

    We are grateful to both of you for your wholehearted support and guidance. We look forward to further support from your side.

    Please do let us know if we could be of any assistance from our side. It shall be an honour to do to anything for such nice human beings like you.

    We are considering “ENTICING POSSIBILITIES” as the name for our venture. Please let us know your thoughts about the same.

    Thanks and Regards

    Kiran and Narinder

  23. oh wow! that’s awesome!! i just love when rodinhooders meet and bounce ideas together!! did you take a pic? narinder pls feel free to share a testimonial later on when you have a breather and both of you are more sorted – for anant and karishma!!

    pls share the name idea with folks in and around your society/compound. get a feel of how people respond to it. my gut feeling (being an ex-advtg person) is to keep it very simple and sticky. like hungry buddies, mealaunty, inner chef, are names i always remember!

    all the best!

  24. Hi,

    We forgot to take a picture of the meeting. When we meet next time we will surely take a snap and post it.

    Shall post a testimonial for anant and karishma now. They truly deserve a lot of praise.

    Your name suggestions as an ex-advtg person are very relevant. We are thinking of other alternatives.

    Thanks a lot. 

  25. narinder – the names i mentioned are EXISTING FOOD VENTURE NAMES!! 🙂

  26. Asha,

    Thanks for being so concerned about us.

    Thanks and regards

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