In this week’s episode of Jungle Connect, the CEO of Jungle Works, Samar Singla is in conversation with one of the founders of Big Spoon, Kapil Mathrani. In full disclosure, Samar Singla admits that JungleWorks is actually an investor but Samar wanted to have a conversation with an entrepreneur who was all hands on deck when it came to running his business and didn’t just orbit tech without paying attention to other important details and Samar found Kapil to have fit right into the bill.
Kapil comes with a rich professional portfolio, having worked in the start-up ecosystem for the past ten years, worked as Head of leasing cars in India for Uber, a senior VP for GoJek Tech in Jakarta to point out a few of his experiences. He has had the privilege of working with some of the smartest minds in South East Asia and closely observe the South East Asian cloud kitchens and the workings of a food delivery business. Finally, after having earned his experience, Kapil wanted to start something on his own and put his knowledge to use and learn from his predecessors’ mistakes and so Big Spoon was founded. They launched their cloud kitchen in Ahmedabad and are currently delivering in six cities pan-India. Big Spoon is a tier-two city-focused, multi-brand cloud kitchen and though they are competing with big brands like Rebel Foods, Kapil reiterates that they are going to put on their boxing gloves and won’t shy away from their competition.
Why Cloud Kitchens?
When the aspiring leaders of the industry conversed about the reason behind opening a cloud kitchen company, as opposed to a physical restaurant. Kapil Mathrani imparts knowledge about the workings of his company and how they hit the sweet spot in launching in tier two cities because he and his team had found a gaping hole when it came to the presence of cloud kitchens in these markets and that opening cloud kitchens simply just costs less and there have fewer risks and these two went hand in hand and Big Spoon was able to tap into this market pretty quickly.
Samar Sangal quickly finishes up the dialogue with sound advice for young, budding entrepreneurs. The two most important facts to take away from observing Big Spoon’s growth was that Kapil and his team had spent a lot of time doing in-depth research, networking, and studying the competitive landscapes, among other things, that went behind the decision to start a cloud kitchen. Good hunches without research and hard work don’t usually work out,
Kapil had mentioned that food was the product and there is no replacement for food. Kapil and his team at Big Spoon ensured that the product they were selling was worth all the tech and business his investors were funding for. Samar brings this up pointedly; the product is always is most important in a business, no matter how good the tech is, how much funding the business has landed: the product is the key and will always be the most important.
The two most important aspects before launching a cloud kitchen – or any start-up, is to do extensive research and make the product worth it.
How did CoVid impact your business?
We are no strangers to the global pandemic that almost brought this world to a standstill, Samar asks about how CoVid-19 had impacted Big Spoon’s business? How had their then newly launched cloud kitchen coped?
Fortunately – a rare word we use this year – things worked for Big Spoon. There were able to deliver food during the lockdown “Covid was kind to us,” Kapil says, gingerly. He brings up a valid point about when Big Spoon was launched, Kapil had made it a priority to make sure that rules of proper hygiene and cleanliness had to be followed. Big Spoon offered live streaming of their kitchen so that their customers could watch their food being prepared and packaged. Even though he was questioned by his peers, his investors, and friends about how well thought out his packaging was; Kapil was adamant about his high-intensity packaging strategy and he had assured them that it would payout in the long runs. So by the time the city went into a lockdown, Big Spoon had already established itself as a clean, hygienic, and safe brand for the best food and this helped as the city shut for a lockdown. They were able to survive during the pandemic and in a pleasant moment of humblebrag, Kapil admits that the company had grown 410% in the past four months alone.
But, Big Spoon was also able to hold its ground during the lockdown was because they have a transparent relationship with their customers, not only do the customers have the option of watching their food get prepared, there is also a feedback QR code printed on their packaging, where the customers can leave their feedback and Kapil and his co-founders reach out to the customers personally to understand where they went wrong or right.
Ensuring such an intimate relationship with their customers and making sure that their customers felt heard and having a standard for hygiene and cleanliness from before CoVid hit was what helped Big Spoon survive.
Coming to the end of their conversation, Samar asks Kapil to advise the young, budding entrepreneurs who are at the ideation stage, who are looking out to start a cloud kitchen business or any business.
Given his experience with start-ups, would Kapil do it all over again?
Kapil reiterates that research is important, the product is important and the team you surround yourself with is important. As an aspiring entrepreneur with new ideas, you need to understand your market, network with the right kind of people, indulge in market study, speak to people who are involved in the field, gather as much information as you can. “Data. Data. Data. Data is your best friend.” Kapil cements. Another important piece of advice for all entrepreneurs is to surround yourself with experts, with people who know and understand the product.
Samar agrees wholeheartedly and asks Kapil if he would do it all over again? “Absolutely!” He beams.
What is the grand vision you have for your company?
Taking up questions from the live audience, the first question to Kapil was, “What is the aim of the company?
Without missing a beat, Kapil answers, “Fine dining experience can be brought back to homemade food.” Bring the best experience you can offer to your customers and the grand vision is to be one of the Finest Cloud Kitchen startups of Asia.
Samar quickly answers some of the other questions from their audience and wrap it up by ending their conversation by agreeing that at the end of the day, the aim of the business is to always satisfy the customer and grow with them on their journey.
For the complete interview, you can watch it on our Youtube channel, and don’t forget to like and subscribe to the video for more updates from Jungle Works!