startup: startup restaurant chain Sattviko creates niche with vegetarian fusion cuisine


It can’t be easy if a food chain is excluding dozens of potential customers by offering vegetarian food only. But there is a silver lining: it becomes a segment player and creates a niche. It is this aspect of operating in a small, albeit growing, segment that motivated Prasoon Gupta to launch the Sattviko restaurant chain with Ankush Sharma. “Consumers around the world are now looking for healthy and natural alternatives. Sattviko is an attempt to provide healthy vegetarian preparations, adapted to modern palates, to gourmets ”, explains Gupta.

Based in Delhi, this food chain serves a variety of fusion cuisines and uses what the founders call “old” ways of preparing food. “The menu was created to appeal to connoisseurs of gastronomy,” explains Gupta, 29, co-founder and director. Sattviko also offers packaged snacks in its restaurants and through retail and web stores – Amazon, Snapdeal, Pay-TM. Besides three outlets in Delhi, it has one in Jaipur and Roorkee.

Admittedly, the course of the founders was difficult. “We were new to the food industry and had little idea about the processes that govern this business. Getting to know how the industry works has been a big challenge, ”says Sharma, 28, co-founder and director. Plus, as is the case with most startups, finding the right talent was pretty tricky.

In addition to sifting through the available literature on the subject, the founders interacted with a multitude of people with experience and understanding of different areas of the food industry – preparation, administration, marketing, customer expectations, and more. It helped them gain a more direct understanding of running. a food chain. “The more we interacted, the more we learned. In particular, when it comes to consumer behavior, talking to experts provided a lot of useful information, ”Gupta explains. There was also a lot of learning on the job.

The founders say understanding the market and consumer behavior remains a challenge. Gupta and Sharma, both IIT Roorkee alumni, raised nearly 2 crore rupees in January 2014 to start the business. Operations began in February 2014. Investors included Sumit Jain of CommonFloor, Rajat Jain of Xerox and Sanjay Bhasin of Indian Angel Network. Even though the start-up was successful in raising funds to expand the business, narrowing its options to serving only vegetarian food, it initially turned down some investors. “We were once rejected by a prominent investor in the final stages. He said we had a great team, but the vegetarian food market was not that big, ”Sharma explains.

Today, Sattviko is attracting several investors because it has created a niche, say the founders. The startup closed a funding of Rs 1.5 crore in January of this year. “We clearly have the USP of serving modern sattvik food. What was once our weakness has become our main selling point, ”says Gupta. Sattviko, which won India’s Best New Year’s Restaurant Chain of the Year award in December 2014 at the Indian Restaurant Congress, recorded a turnover of Rs 76 lakh in its first year of business. ‘operation (2014-15). It is about to close 2015-16 with a turnover of over Rs 1.5 crore. “We have already achieved operational break-even and expect more than 100% year-over-year growth,” said Gupta.

Even as the founders negotiate the management of supply chain and quality control challenges, they are now focused on aggressive growth and, by the end of 2016, plan to expand Sattviko’s presence to three other cities: Mumbai, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad. The startup is also looking to partner with several multi-brand retailers for their packaged products business. “We also plan to go global in 2017, with an eye on the US, Singaporean and European markets,” Gupta said.

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