Here’s a recap of the last 4 weeks:
25th — 30th August: Worked like crazy to launch rocketfood Indirapuram — involved sending last minute invitations, getting everything in place, training the kitchen team.
We did not get our official rocketfood polo shirts as they got lost somewhere en route while being transported to us. Since then, we have been sporting our Giving Back merchandise:
31st August: The launch went smooth with people loving the food. We didn’t get our packaging (rocketmeal boxes) on time so had to use thali trays to serve everyone. It wasn’t exactly what we had envisioned or were working for.
The below quote sums it all up when it comes to packaging that day:
1st — 17th Sep: Our experiences while running the show:
- The customers love our innovative packaging, pricing, and operations:
Our thalis come in pizza boxes (http://bit.ly/rocketmeal) — which people have found to be very convenient to eat at home or inside moving cars. Our pricing is per serving and is therefore individual-friendly — so even if you are alone and crave for chicken you don’t have to spend 200 bucks on buying a full-plate chicken gravy but can get it piece-wise.
We work differently than most other Indian cuisine places as far as our kitchen and delivery operations are concerned. It enables us to deliver food under 30 mins in a 3 km radius.
The rice boxes we made did not work too well this time though. The hot biryanis for which they were made cause the boxes to be moistened. We’d have to modify them in the future.
- Utility workers (they keep the outlet and utensils clean) have a tendency to run away after a few days. Make sure you hire someone who is willing to stick around.
- There are a lot of teenagers seeking work in the food industry. We have made sure that we hire someone who is at least 18.
- Keeping a kitchen clean requires mopping at least 4–5 times a day. Its not that easy as it looks.
- Most of the restaurant staff are not well trained to use gloves and wear skull caps. So the next time you go to an Indian restaurant make sure they take hygiene seriously. We have made sure we make cooking and packaging food in hygienic manner a part of rocketfood’s kitchen process.
- After spending consecutive days in a live kitchen, we have got so used to the heat there that we tend to feel colder when we go somewhere which is centrally air conditioned.
- Here is the order in which people prioritize a food product: taste -> delivery timing -> packaging -> customer service
We have noticed that our packaging has caught the attention of almost everyone we have cooked for.
- Hire someone who has a good voice and conversational style to pickup your phones. More queries get converted to orders then.
- Most of the marketing campaigns we have run have been offline — we inserted flyers in newspapers to major apartment complexes (0.8% conversion), as well as handed out flyers to people at malls and shopping complexes. The best conversion rates (interactions leading to sales) was when we went to our residential campus building and talked to individual flat-owners. We have faced rejection while handing out flyers when many people refused to take it from us or listen to how rocketfood is different from others but we then think of how the Flipkart founders went about from distributing bookmarks infront of stores to create awareness about their brand. I think we have a long way to go in this regard and we love every moment of talking about rocketfood to someone new.
We’d probably go ahead with a majority of offline marketing (through newspaper insertions, handouts, events) and some online marketing. Keep an eye on our Facebook page to know what we are upto.
- We have had some amazing days and some bad ones! The good days are when you do not stop processing orders until its almost midnight. I must tell you this — when you compile an order (put food items in the box and paste a thank you note knowing that this meal is such an important part of the customer’s routine) it gives you a high.
- Btw, your kitchen team is your most important asset. You are as good as your kitchen team! Its as simple as that. If you end up with a bad hire, you need to fire him/her asap. We have continuosly focused on hiring the right people — skilled but more importantly with the right attitude.
- Overall, we noticed that people order home deliveries the most on Saturdays -> Sundays -> Mondays -> Wednesdays -> Fridays. Tuesdays and Thursdays have been low sales days for us as is the trend in this industry.
- We tend to get at least 1 order through our website on a daily basis. We will have to come around with a marketing campaign around online ordering to push this number up.
- We have built a small fan following — so much so that many people who hadn’t reviewed any restaurant on Zomato before went ahead and reviewed us. Yes, we have many customers who order around 3 times a week from us. Its a really good thing because we know people like ordering from us frequently, but it also brings our Zomato rating down due to a flaw in their algorithm — that’s because Zomato downvotes your rating when non-infuencers review you highly. That’s some issue Zomato folks need to look into!
- Funny thing we noticed: there are many who will not hesitate paying Rs 150 for a pizza from Domino’s but will have problems shelling out the same money for an Indian thali. We also came across many customers who do not prefer eating vegetarian food from a kitchen which also cooks non-vegetarian food.
- One conclusion which we came to make was that whether you run a single food outlet, or a large food chain, the amount of effort and time which goes in daily will still be the same. I think as our business will scale, delegation of work will become paramount. That’s the case with all leading entrepreneurs too I guess — its how you use your limited time that defines how you’d perform.
- Talking about sales, we have crossed Rs 60,000 revenues is the first 15 days.
- And, we have made a few people jealous in the process too: click here
With the Navratra season coming ahead, the next fortnight is going to be challenging — in terms of building upon this momentum and maintaining a healthy growth rate. We’re up for the challenge!