Journey From Zero To Top : Bengali Love Cafe By Shakshi Guha

Shakshi Guha, Bengali Love Cafe

Startup Desk, Delhi Magazine: Not all stories have a fairy tale beginning, but they can certainly have a magical ending. Today at Delhi Magazine, we have opportunity to meet Shakshi Guha ( the founder of Bengali Love Cafe). Bengali Love Cafe is a catering company based out in the city of Gurgaon. Here are a few words with Shakshi Guha:

Shakshi Guha, Bengali Love Cafe

Delhi Magazine Team: Shaksi tell us some thing about your Startup Journey.
Shakshi Guha: ​My story is nowhere near the end but is one of resilience, faith, hope, and courage. I lost my job due to covid and did not know how to support my family, precisely when the idea of ‘Bengali Love Cafe struck. Not only did i build a new identity for myself, but I also gave my mother, Mrs. Deepa Guha, dignity. Who would have thought that a simple Bengali girl growing up in Muzaffarnagar will transform half of the capital’s eating habits.

Team: What about your Personal ?
Shakshi Guha: I was born in 01/09/1987 In Muzaffarnagar, UP. My family consist of 8 members. I was the youngest among my siblings. I have 4 elder sisters. Since childhood, we knew that we have to work hard and do something for our family. As source of earning was only my father, who was a factory worker. So income was less and had lots of responsibility. After completing my MA in physiology from DAV College Muzaffarnagar, I came in Delhi to job search. I have worked in different industry domains, my last organization was Allianz Partners Gurgaon.

Team: How did you get an Idea for Bengali Love Cafe?
Shakshi Guha: When I came in delhi for job search I had to face lots of difficulties as food and living in Delhi was expensive and tough to survive. Being a Bengali girl and foodie also wanted to get different food varieties at reasonable prices which was a big concern. Also while working I met many other people who are facing same problem and waiting for solution. The idea of Bengali Love Cafe came to my mind. Since my mother is a home cook, she started cooking at a very young age and had a dream to have her own outlet someday. But at that time it was not possible due to lack of knowledge, money and support.

Shakshi and her mom

Hailing from Delhi-NCR, we saw people losing the essence of home and struggling to survive in an exotic environment. It does not take an appiphany to realise that the main reason for this is the food they eat. To solve this problem, we have come up with a medium to provide food like home taste at affordable cost. Our main aim is to strive for the day when every student and employee in India will be able to have their proper meal for 3 times.

Provide healthy Food: Customer loyalty is expected from only healthy and delicious food. Our business model is running without any paid advertisement just by word of mouth.

Our customer base mainly consists of college students, office employees and senior citizens. That is why we try to incorporate different cuisines in our menu to ensure variety.

Provide affordable food: Our focus is not only on providing healthy and tasty food but also at affordable prices so that our food becomes pocket friendly.
Trying to give “home style food” to “ghar ka khana”: No food is good when it doesn’t have a homely touch. Hence, we strive to provide traditional Bengali food home style to all our customers.

Business Model: Our sales are done through six channels – B2B, B2C, Monthly subscription, Cartering or party orders, Grossi’s whole sale and profit retailing and Home stay with meal plan subscription.

Our B2B model includes: Collaborating with PG and Corporate houses and Colony We provide 3 times per day meals at affordable rates.

Online medium: We are proud to share we are available on majority food delivery app like Zomato , Swiggy , Magic pin, Home chef , Chef in , Mother’s food.

Monthly Subscription: We provide corporate meal plan where one time or 3 time meal options are available with and without home delivery . Delivery are made by women riders.

‘As A Food Startup, My Goal Lies In A Hunger-Free India”

We believe that satisfying hunger is not an issue of charity. It’s a matter of justice. It is our true attempt to liberate ourselves as a community. We launched a “Feed India- a one-time meal” campaign under Bengali Love Cafe Foundation. We are glad to share we have been able to help more than 80,000 people across India so far.

Although this is just the beginning, people from different cities are joining our campaign. According to recent researches, around 194 million people in India today do not have enough food to eat, which is the largest number in the world.

According to the Global Hunger Index 2020, India falls in the ‘severe’ hunger category with a rank of 94 out of 107 countries.

These statistics do not take into account the effects of Covid-19. The resultant migration, unemployment and loss of earning members of households have pushed millions of Indians into extreme poverty and hunger.

Extreme Tough moments in life :
1.Childhood : I lost my one eye since birth
2.Lost my life partner
3. Lost my job during Pandemic

Shakshi Guha’s Bengali Love Cafe’s Journey So Far

We stepped up to launch a cloud kitchen. “We registered the business on Zomato, and started accepting orders on the online platform from 15 January 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic had only just begun, and many people started working from home. It brought opportunities, and more customers signed up for our services,”

Team: What were the main issues you faced in early stage and how did you handle these issues?

Shakshi Guha: I remember the time when my savings started drying up. So I requested my mother to use her cooking skills to help the family. It became difficult to keep using our savings, and around October 2019, I prepared a few leaflets and convinced my mother to prepare food orders. I was confident in my mother’s culinary skills, and knew the business would float. We distributed leaflets offering homemade Bengali food in our locality.

We have determined our target audience, understand the market demand, manage and do industry analysis.

I started my business with just the help of my 67-year-old mother and rope in more women who needed a livelihood during such unprecedented times. I import all their raw material directly from Kolkata. The best part is that my suppliers in Kolkata are also women.

I started with the idea of serving a corporate meal plan monthly to support the family financially. This resulted in a beautiful cafe which caters to more than 200 people daily and earns us a revenue of two lakh Indian Rupees a month. After that, I also partnered with Swiggy, Magic Pin, India Mart and Dunzo to ensure that my product reaches more people.

I also supplies cooking raw materials like; spices used explicitly in Bengali cuisine to people who need them. I have other vertical, Groceries on wheels, which was set up in May 2020 has been performing exponentially. All these raw materials are imported from Kolkata and are of the highest quality.

We offered jobs to about 30 women from the neighbourhood. Like my mother, these were housewives who had nothing to do with business. But with some help they can earn more money now.

Team: What message do you want to share with our readers?

Shakshi Guha: Sharing My Business Mantras exclusively for the readers of Delhi Magazin- My Business Mantra covers four aspects for business aspirants. “Skill, innovation, target audience and marketing are the four pillars of business. We had to examine the market and understand the skills we had. For example, in Delhi NCR, most of the Bengali population living here was missing out on traditional home-cooked meals. We did delivered on the same. would like to explains that innovating on the original idea helps give an edge in the market. Targeting customers is equally important. “We identified the needs of the Bengali community and provided the same at an affordable cost. And as far as marketing goes, it is vital to be honest with the customers, provide good quality products at a reasonable price, always be open for feedback, and adapt to the change in market demand.

As an Entrepreneurs whatever you do, be different and should solve a bigger problem. If you’re Idea is different and you have skills to solve a bigger problem, you will stand out for sure.

 

 

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