Have no doubt, biryani is big!
A FICCI-PWC report had recently pegged the Indian organised biryani delivery industry at around Rs 2,500 crore per annum. The unorganised sector was reportedly 10 times larger at Rs.25,000 crore. The report clearly reported that, “Over the last few years as food delivery apps, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and take-away outlets have begun to dominate, biryani has emerged as an unlikely champion of India’s fast food scene, unseating pizzas and burgers … According to food delivery apps, it is among the most popular dish ordered.“ Zomato seemingly supported the report’s claim when it shared that its Chicken Biryani was the most ordered as well as the most picked item in 2018. Similarly, a biryani was ordered on Swiggy once every 3.5 seconds that year, surpassing all other contenders in single meal. Other food apps also reported similar findings. The biryani war amongst top contenders like Behrouz Biryani, Hyderabad’s Paradise, Ammi’s Biryani, Charcoal Biryani, Biryani Blues, Biryani by Kilo, The Biryani Project, etc. is on in all earnest.
FoodService India speaks to Kaushik Roy – founder & CEO, and Vishal Jindal – co-founder & Director, Biryani by Kilo – a premium online biryani chain by Sky Gate Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. and understands the uniqueness behind their brand’s proposition, format, delivery, culinary fare, and processes, as well as their journey so far and future plans.
Give us a brief description of the Biryani by Kilo brand?
Biryani by Kilo (BBK) is a premium biryani chain founded in 2015 by veterans of the food industry. The company primarily operates under the cloud-kitchen model with a few dine-in restaurants at select locations. So far, there are 29 outlets in total across New Delhi/ NCR, Mumbai, Mohali, Ludhiana and Chandigarh. Our company Sky Gate Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. currently has an employee strength of 700+.
Why is the focus on cloud kitchens?
Cloud kitchen is definitely a more proﬁtable business compared to dine-in restaurants as there is less rental cost & capex required. Herein the entrepreneur mainly needs to take care of the kitchen space and maintain standardization of food and recipes without worrying too much about the look and feel of the restaurant. The returns can be higher and it is easier to experiment with cloud kitchens to test what clicks with the taste buds of the consumer and therefore to change menus more easily, if required.
Biryani by Kilo (BBK) was launched to preserve the ‘Khansama’ style of cooking and detests the idea of other brands where the food is cooked in bulk and repacked and sold.
What is the market positioning and customer value proposition of your brand and what is unique about it? Please share some details about your distinct specialties?
BBK is the only biryani chain that not only cooks fresh Dum Biryani for every order in earthen handis. It not only prepares biryani individually for each and every order but also offers a wide assortment of biryanis from different localities –Hyderabad, Lucknow, Kolkatta, Malabar and Ambur. The brand was launched to preserve the ‘Khansama’ style of cooking wherein each meal/ biryani is freshly cooked with rich ingredients. It detests the idea of other brands where the food is cooked in bulk and repacked and sold.
It is a delivery brand with 100% focus on delivering every order on time and offers an experience patrons would have received at a ﬁne dining restaurant by paying only an exorbitant price. Biryani by Kilo offers a diverse menu, the dishes on which are handpicked while keeping the signiﬁcance of heterogeneity and perfection in mind.
To take the biryani experience a notch higher, it sends Earthen Angeethis (Aanch) with each order to get the perfect smoky ﬂavor and aroma of spices, as well as for last minute warming.
Biryani By Kilo also goes a step further by holistically inculcating a pro-active social cause in its business model. All its earthenware Handis are crafted by hand at Kumhaara Gram on the outskirts of Delhi, they thereby also cut out the middle man and provide sustainable employment to the craftsmen and artisans.
For the Galouti Kebabs, BBK pulverizes the meat multiple times, and marinates it in the most veritable way.
Even our staff are extremely careful in maintaining the SOPs, systems & processes and ensure it is being followed diligently. Every aspect of ingredients including spices is well measured to maintain the taste of every dish.
BBK is therefore considered as the premium biryani chain, which is great value-for-money. The brand has been able to garner loyal customers over the time because of the consistent quality offered.
Tell us about the challenges of your business and how you manage them?
It was challenging to educate the customers to wait for 90 minutes after their order is placed to consume fresh biryani. BBK has solved it by creating a professional company culture that adheres to stringent systems & processes with regular audits & uses state-of-the-art technology. It was also challenging for the staff to put the back end and technology together as BBK makes every biryani fresh in individual ‘handis’ after an order is received. Preparing biryani individually for each and every order requires great amount of revenues. However, we were able to pull off this task very efﬁciently at a lower cost with the help of an experienced team and robust technology method.
How did you overcome the challenge of maintaining standardized taste and consistent ﬂavors?
It is a challenge to maintain standardized taste and consistent ﬂavors in a QSR business. We overcame this factor by using a hub & spoke model of cooking fresh food at every single outlet kitchen. We have our customized measuring tools to carefully measure every ingredient used in the recipes and we also ensure that we source the raw material from the vendors who are very carefully selected & audited to meet our highest quality standards.
Now coming to the challenge of high revenues for individually preparing and delivering and other investment needs, how have you met them?
BBK has concluded three investment rounds mainly for expansion and capex along with technology and backend upgradation of around US$0.5m (INR 3.5Cr) and US$1m (INR7Cr) from various investors like Ashish & Rohit Chand from Yukti Securities, Chandigarh Angels, Ashish Gupta (ex-Evalueserve), and Ajay Relan (founder Chairman CX Partners).
What are the successful F&B innovations that have been introduced by your brand and have proved popular, and any new introductions?
The Khansama style of fresh cooking has been the biggest success story for BBK. To further enhance the customer experience, we have been able to add lot of new products like paneer biryani, ambur veg/chicken biryani & malabar chicken/prawn biryani. Apart from this, the authentic kebabs & korma have been well received by the consumers. As a brand, it ensures that there is always something new to offer.
BBK has recently launched a new menu in Aug’ 19 which has few regional biryanis like Ambur Veg/Chicken from Tamil Nadu and Malabar Chicken/Prawn Biryani from Kerala. Apart from Biryani, certain other additions in the menu are Dal Nizami, Chicken Ghee Roast, Prawn Sukka & Double ka Meetha. Customers have liked these products and the brand will continue launching new product in the coming months.
What are other ‘mindful’ dining measures introduced by your F&B brands?
All items are cooked-on-order to ensure freshness, quality, hygiene and minimal wastage and served in hand-made, natural handi, which provides differentiated authentic experience and impart its own ﬂavors.
How are you managing your logistics, supply chain and innovation, and how do you keep key operational costs manageable?
We continuously upgrade our technology to make it more convenient for our customers to enjoy the BBK experience. We are working on live tracking of the complete process by the customer post order. Manpower takes up a lot of investment in any F&B business and the brand is trying to control the cost by higher automation and better planning.
What are your brand’s key achievements and what are your future plans and targets?
Apart from being the most loved biryani chain, BBK has been able to win many Industry awards. The accolades received by the brand includes Best Dark kitchen from Indian Restaurant Congress this year and Best Biryani Brand from Zomato last year apart from other major awards. We have maintained double digit growth month-on-month and have a strategic plan to establish a strong pan-India footprint and expand into select international markets like the UAE & UK in the next three to ﬁve years. The brand aims to build a network of 120+ outlets and generating collective revenue of Rs. 500 Crores+ by FY 2022-23.
We at Biryani by Kilo (BBK) believe that “Biryani” will be the biggest Food Services & Delivery category from India.