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City food start-ups make it big


Calcutta: City-based food start-ups are spreading across the country, displaying an entrepreneurial flair that is otherwise in limited supply in Bengal.

One such start-up is Wow Momo Foods Pvt Ltd. It started selling dumplings or momos in 2008 from a single outlet in Bansdroni. Today, it has over 70 outlets in India, with at least 36 in Calcutta alone. It aims to open 100 outlets, which include both kiosks and quick-service restaurants, by December.

“People have varied tastes in each part of the country, yet every region has accepted us pretty well, including south India, where a sort of taste revolution is happening now,” said Sagar Daryani, co-founder of Wow Momo.

Besides Calcutta, the momo chain is present in Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi and Pune, selling over two lakh momos per day. About 80,000 momos a day are sold in Calcutta alone.

“The best part is that over 90 per cent of our outlets are profitable,” said Binod Homagai, co-founder and chief operating officer of Wow Momo.

In 2015-16, the start-up’s turnover stood at about Rs 32 crore compared with Rs 19 crore a year ago, a rise of 68.4 per cent.

“We are aiming for at least Rs 55 crore in March 2017,” said Daryani, who is also the CEO of Wow Momo.

The momo maker offers around 12 flavours across different varieties of steamed, fried, pan-fried, sizzler and baked momos, besides their signature chocolate momo.

The company is also planning to raise funds by December “We intend to go for another round of funding to raise Rs 30-60 crore at a valuation of over Rs 350 crore,” Daryani told The Telegraph.

In August last year, Wow Momo had raised Rs 10 crore from Indian Angels Network at a Rs 100-crore valuation.

Another food chain reaching out to customers beyond Bengal is Chai Break. Starting in 2011, founders Anirudh Poddar and Aditya Ladsaria offer a variety of options in tea.

“The idea to begin a tea chain struck us over a cup of coffee at a coffee shop. We found a coffee shop at every nook and corner of the city but unlike coffee, there was no such lea lounge’ offering a wide variety of tea,” they said.

Today, the chain offers 25 varieties of hot and iced tea, including their speciality “royal tea”, a hot beverage blended with kesar.

Moreover, customers can choose between Indian, Italian and Chinese cuisines in most of their outlets.

“No region in the country offers so many kinds of tea as Calcutta and that is what we will offer to the states outside Bengal,” Ladsaria said.

The company sources about 1,000 kg of organic CTC tea from Assam and 200 kg of Darjeeling tea per month. Sixty per cent of its total beverage revenue come from tea. The start-up claims to be making profit and is eyeing a Its 10-crore turnover in 2015-16.

Source: The Telegraph

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