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In 2-3 years, you’ll see Samosa Singh outlets across the globe: Co-founder Nidhi Singh

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The focus of the homegrown samosa QSR chain in the next 10-12 months is to reach the 100 store mark. Out of these, 20 will be opened in the next six months

Bengaluru: In the bustling streets of Bengaluru, a culinary revolution is underway, spearheaded by a homegrown quick-service restaurant chain called Samosa Singh. What began as a modest operation, churning out 200 to 300 samosas per day has blossomed into an enterprise that produces nearly one lakh samosas per day.

Established in 2016 by husband-wife duo Shikhar Veer Singh and Nidhi Singh with its first store in the Electronic City, Samosa Singh currently boasts 62 outlets spread across 8 cities.

In an exclusive conversation with IndiaRetailing, one of the co-founders of Samosa Singh delves into the inspiration behind the brand, its journey from inception to current stature, challenges encountered along the way, plans for expansion and more.

Edited excerpts…

Why did you choose to sell samosas as a business?

We initially perceived samosas as a Northern delicacy. When we came to South India, we discovered its widespread popularity. Witnessing this demand across regions, we recognised the untapped potential in the market. The sector lacked organisation, presenting an opportunity we were eager to seize.

We dedicated considerable time to developing this idea, especially since both Shikar and I were committed to our respective jobs and comfortably settled into our routines. After extensive contemplation, it became increasingly evident that pursuing this venture was the path we truly desired to embark upon.

How was the journey of the brand?

In the initial year, we funnelled our savings into the business, starting with a capital of around Rs 20 lakh.

Within two to three months, we witnessed a surge in business traction. This prompted us to commit our remaining savings, even our home equity, to fuel the growth of the business. As demand continued to escalate, we realised the necessity of further investment to transition from a small kitchen setup to a full-fledged factory unit.

For the first two years, our venture was entirely bootstrapped. We opened our first 400 sq. ft. outlet with a seating capacity of 15 people at Electronic City in Bengaluru and began supplying to multiplexes and corporate clients.

As we delved deeper into the business, we recognised the need for automation to ensure consistency in our product. Surprisingly, there was no suitable automation available in the market, so we undertook the task of developing our prototype. It took us nearly nine to 10 months to refine and perfect the automation system. Once the prototype was ready, we needed to seek external funding to facilitate further growth and scalability.

In the first few months, we were producing around 200 to 300 samosas per day, but soon saw a significant increase to nearly 3,000 to 4,000 samosas daily. Eventually, we reached a peak of almost 30,000 samosas per day.

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to shut down operations entirely, bringing our business to a standstill. We experienced a complete setback, going from producing thousands of samosas daily to zero. Yet, despite this challenging period, we managed to rebuild our business from scratch, gradually climbing back to where we are today. It’s been a roller coaster ride, to say the least, full of ups and downs.

Which other roadblocks did you face during the journey?

The first hurdle we faced was onboarding clients and consumers. Samosas were already widely available and people had their preferred vendors. Convincing them to switch to our offering and displacing their existing favourites posed a challenge.

Today, challenges lie in expansion and finding the right location as it’s crucial for any food business. The landscape of consumer preferences shifts rapidly, requiring constant adaptation and evolution.

What are your sales channels?

Currently, approximately 70% of our sales originate from direct-to-consumer (D2C) channels. The remaining 30% is derived from business-to-business (B2B) partnerships, including collaborations with multiplexes, corporate caterers, and restaurant chains within the HORECA sector.

For now, 60% of the sales are happening online. We are scouting to scale up offline and the ratio will flip side soon.

How do you boost online sales?

In cities where we are already present, like Bengaluru and Hyderabad, online sales thrive organically due to our existing customer base and high repeat order rate. As a result, we rely less on active marketing efforts in these areas.

As we expand into new cities such as Mumbai and Pune, we engage in targeted online campaigns and collaborate with aggregator platforms. These initiatives often align with specific events or occasions, such as Holi, allowing us to join in the marketing opportunities provided by various online partners.

Initially, there may be some customer acquisition costs involved. Over time, our product’s inherent appeal leads to impulse purchases, resulting in organic growth with minimal marketing efforts.

What are your store formats?

Our operational model includes standalone counters, compact kiosks, stores with seating options, food court outlets within malls and the upcoming addition of food trucks and drive-in facilities. The size of our stores typically ranges from 200 to 400 sq. ft. based on the market.

How do you select a store location?

Location scouting is of paramount importance to us, and we entrust this task to specialised agencies or companies.

An algorithm is developed taking into account various factors such as the spending capacity of the local audience, density of existing food outlets in the area, availability of parking facilities and rental rates. Our initial assessment involves human intervention, where we physically inspect the area and overlay demographic data to gauge its potential, aligning with our scoring metrics for suitability.

How do you integrate tech into the business?

Samosa Singh operates as a food tech company, integrating technology into our processes from the outset. Relying on manual labour for tasks like rolling out dough or filling samosas for large-scale production of around one lakh samosas would inevitably lead to inconsistencies. Hence, our entire process is fully automated, ensuring uniformity and precision in every samosa.

With state-of-the-art infrastructure at our two facilities on the outskirts of Bengaluru, we are set to launch another facility within the next three months.

Expansion plans for FY24… 

In the next six months, we are set to launch over 20 new outlets, propelling us toward a total store count of 100 across India within the next 10 to 12 months.

We have already begun exporting our samosas to the Middle East, with plans to launch in Canada and Australia in the near future. We have plans to enter global markets and in two to three years we will be seeing Samosa Singh outlets across the world.

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