Hyderabad’s next Top Mallu food joint EP 8 & 9 – Water scarcity and the Swedish Somali Mafia

This 30 day series will follow the day to day lives of 3 dudes who have been given the responsibility of opening a mallu restaurant in the city of Hyderabad. None of us have any experience in this vertical prior to this and we are all learning as we go. I thought it would been an interesting idea to join my mates in this quest and document our journey day to day and learn a little bit about the restaurant business and a little bit about ourselves. Expect things to be funny, dramatic and sometimes down right absurd, cause the characters involved have all the attributes to turn this thing on its head. So hopefully, by the end of the month, we will have Hyderabad’s top mallu restaurant.( The metrics of comparison are not quite sure for me at the moment.) But when you and your best mates decide to give it a go. At least all of us will have some fun with it. 

 

 

 

Back home. Whenever the water motor shuts down or if the corporation supply goes missing( Which is like once in a decade occurrence.) What we do is put a bucket into the well and get some water up. Never have there been a situation where an option was not there regarding water. 

This year in Chennai. When we know the water aint coming in the morning. We fill our buckets at night the day before. And when we are proper fucked. They brought in a tanker. The water shortage was so acute that there had been rumours of the semester being shortened. Unfortunately that did not materialise. I still remember when, on the day of the hostel night I went in search of water for a shower. I had to go to Ganga, Get a shower. I didn’t have to take a shower. But I am so glad that I did. 😉 ( You know why)

So, every time I leave Kerala, the water shortage is a real and present danger. Especially in the big cities. My classmate Sanjana wrote this Instagram post about that. Explaining the water scarcity situation in India and I think it is worth a read. 

Here are the posts-

 

 

 

                                                          ( CREDITS : Sanjana  @ja.san.na)  

So, when you are trying to run a restaurant. Especially one which is not an ideal restaurant like ours. The water scarcity thing is a big concern. We have been living of the municipal water for the time being. Being very frugal on our consumption. ( Meaning cutting short a flush half way if the intended purpose is done.) But even that couldn’t help us from running out eventually. So we have 3 tanks upstairs. One down. And a tank underground. Plus 6 drums to store water. At one point, we didn’t have water to wash hands, let alone plates.

So that night, Chandrettan made it clear that we were not going to be able to open the place if water doesn’t show up. The municipal water flows on alternate days and that too very little. You would have to be very loco to bet on that. So Jeevan and I’ve been trying to find a tanker that can get us some water. So here is the thing with tankers. They are fucking big. 15k lit. All our tanks together can only do 4k lit. So every number we call. Its the same reply.They don’t have small tankers. This went on till around 9 until we found one small tanker filling up the PG next door. I  ask the dude for the number and the motherfucker says “ nahi, no pani and no number” in a very high handed way. Cunt.

But I got the number off from an another tanker parked behind it and finally got a tanker to fill us. FOR FUCKING 2000 rupees. The other place used to get 5k lits for around Rs 800. This guy was milking us when he knows we are desperate for water. Anyways, we got enough water to go to sleep with the knowledge that the flush will be working tomorrow.

With inventory done and water in the tank. We called it a day.

The next day went ahead without much incident. I went to Narsingi in the afternoon for a change. We hit a few orders on the bounce, right when we got there. Then the tab went dead. And the comfortable couch there became our hibernation den. Until the evening, when we went out to get a flex printed and a few bottles for Jeevans cousin. I asked him to get a Bira for me and the idiot got me something which costs 230. The worst part is, it doesn’t taste like beer. It tastes like beer for under developed pre teens. 4% alcohol content and 230 RS. WHY?

I made Jeevan have a taste of the beer. Just so he will feel how much money he wasted. But 5 mins down the road. There is a road block. The cops are making anything that moves blow into the alcohol level detector. Situation fucked.

I hide that bottle I was drinking. Anyone who sees Odiyan and us inside knows that there is some mischief here. But maybe our tired faces and the state of that zen made the cops think that we are too poor to buy a drink. They let us go. They made everyone else blow. But we were let through. Jeevan was not drunk and driving. But the detector will still beep for that sip. For once, the very first time. Our luck favoured us. 

We were celebrating like how Ryan Giggs did when he scored against arsenal in 99. It was epic. And on a celebratory note. We had one more sip :p.

While taking a U-turn, we see a car broken down. With 4 homies around it. ( And by homies I mean Africans or African – Americans).

This dude who reminds me of Poet from COPA90 asks. “ Bruv, help us out. You know any gas station?”

Jeevan was spooked. There is this zoom car full of intoxicated Africans. Most people will try to get away from that situation since it carries an element of risk with it. But since every time I have been fucked on my travels, the travel gods have always offered a helping hand. So by law of karma, it was our chance to be the hands of god. So two “Bruvs” pop in Odiyan. Ahmed and Mohamed was their names. Mo speaks like he is from North London. Literally like Poet. And he is a Gunner too. Too much coincidences. That made me shift to my fake urban accent. We had a really nice conversation. I was on a beer. God knows what all shit he was on. Jeevan looked like someone who watches a Korean series without subtitles when this was happening. Hilarious.

We get fuel and plan to drop them back off. Mind you, Odiyan lacks wipers and we almost dislocate the differential when a blind gutter gutted us. Ahmed gets some sense back on him. We are moving towards their car. I get Mo’s number and they are really cool dudes. Students of Osmania university. He studies political science. They are of Somali descendent, living in Sweden. 

They speak, their tribal language, Swaheli, Swedish, English and better Hindi than me. 

Now, Africans have been stereotyped in India as being exclusively drug dealers selling all sort of shit. Now it would be a great crime on my part if I did the same. But come on, when you meet a bro. Its only natural to ask them if they have a Joe on them. And it was obvious these guys were packing. And as a token of their appreciation for our benevolent efforts. We score a bunch. By score, I mean exchange our karma points for a few grams. 

The smile on Nobles face when he heard this. Was intense. After a long interval of time. I was high again. And there is this subreddt called “ people dying on the inside”. When you are high, it is the most insane thing you can watch. My laugh made Chandrettan get up and see what was happening. Fuck my life. And Jeevan got upset at me laughing like I was enjoying everything in life.
Potteda muthwe. Next time onnu pidipikam

Peace. 

I thought it would be a good idea to create a problem solving group for this where I can crowd source ideas and get some insights from anyone who is interested in how a restaurant works. We can trade a lot of information from the business end and you can help us out with your suggestions and ideas on the finer details. I am attaching this Whatsapp group link. If you are interested. Do come and be part of this 30 day tryst with destiny. 

Whats App group  link – https://chat.whatsapp.com/GME8ruaTrIK1HLtznnqUb2

And if you live in Hyder. Try our specialities on the link – https://www.swiggy.com/restaurants/bamboo-foodz-marwa-township-narsingi-and-kokapet-hyderabad-89740

Photo from Homeboy Ykris-2

Hyderabad’s next Top Mallu food joint EP 7- Noble joins The Illuminati

This 30 day series will follow the day to day lives of 3 dudes who have been given the responsibility of opening a mallu restaurant in the city of Hyderabad. None of us have any experience in this vertical prior to this and we are all learning as we go. I thought it would been an interesting idea to join my mates in this quest and document our journey day to day and learn a little bit about the restaurant business and a little bit about ourselves. Expect things to be funny, dramatic and sometimes down right absurd, cause the characters involved have all the attributes to turn this thing on its head. So hopefully, by the end of the month, we will have Hyderabad’s top mallu restaurant.( The metrics of comparison are not quite sure for me at the moment.) But when you and your best mates decide to give it a go. At least all of us will have some fun with it. 

 

 

 

“Machi one hour only da. Fatafat tatoo adichu varaam.”

Both of us knew it was not happening. By this time, India had already lost 5 wickets and was heading towards a hurried exit from the the world cup. Which was bad for us since 

  1. The game will be over soon and our order rates will decrease.
  2. Celebratory orders ( biriyanis) make us more money than the depressed alcohol  touchings orders of fried chicken.

My projections were looking not too good. Then Nobie goes to get a tattoo and the rain starts. Usually, the rain is a good thing, people prefer to stay in and order, rather than go out. It is also a good thing from the perspective of a runner( delivery guy). When me and Jeevan were runners for Zomato for a while. We were getting surged prices to incentives us to go make deliveries during the rain. That surge was taken directly from the customers if I can remember right. 

But unfortunately for us, when there is a short supply of active runners. The server shuts off that area siting a technical difficulty. So the rain offers which was suppose to yield us a spike in business never came. In fact, while the showers were on, no orders came. A positive externality became a negative one. The app also shows that the problem is from our side and not from Swiggy’s. Grow some balls swiggy, Admit you are not paying the runners properly.

As expected, and like how I warned Noble. A big direct delivery order came. And like expected the fatafat turned into a 3 hour session under the needle for Noble. That order had to be delayed.

The next time someone says getting a tattoo is fatafat. OMKV should be the default reply

So I was to myself that evening. With Chandrettan getting the kitchen in order and me making the inventory products list. The inventory had to be done today. 

Sharat ettan. The dude who lives opposite to us came with a small gift for Chandrettan. He also made an order from us. Other than that it was smooth sailing. Our sales report sheet is up. Jeevan is recording the direct sales from Narsingi. I am recording the direct sales from here. At noon and at the end of the day. We update it on the orders based on the Swiggy app. The fact that none of this was done before still baffles me. It is the “ THE FUNDAMENTALS”. But the manpower shortage here and the work load on Jeevan and Noble makes it impossible for them to do anything other than the day to day chores. Maybe the owners should take some time out and take care of this. I don’t think a sustainable business plan can be evolved without paying enough attention to the unglamorous parts of running a business. 

Which is exactly what I am here to do. 

Trust me, it’s not fun or rewarding at the moment. But it is a part of my education. Knowing me, I will learn more from this joint which hasn’t crossed 10k revenue per day since I came here, than from a business school. There is more to learn here than a class room. I can’t sit in a class if I don’t enjoy it. But unlike a classroom. I have responsibilities here. And that is what every young adult  needs, but also makes them uncomfortable are responsibilities. Its easy to go your own way with the IDGAF about everything. And that rebellion is also needed to shape out an individual out of a person. But, when the boy becomes a man. ( I can only talk for guys). Responsibilities are the right of passage. 

But kids my age are not given responsibility. Not allowed to fail. Not given a chance to test their limits. Rather know where you suck at 20 than grow upto be a man baby at 30.

Noble comes late, but here is the catch. He planned to get this tribal design all around his arm. But he brings back this Illuminati sign. I was like WTF? 

He told me they were charging Rs 100 per square inch. That got me interested in it for a moment. But it felt too good to be true. Infant it was. The dude was charging Rs 500 per square inch. But he went ahead with it anyway. 

The end product looks great. I don’t think he understood exactly what the illuminati stands for, but he likes it and that’s all that matters. 

INVENTORY DONE 

Last post I said today would be a victory if I could get the inventory done. And I have to say, it feels amazing to have finally done it. This place has an inventory. This is going to change the game. We are going to know our consumption rates, our stock status, our expiry dates. And a whole lot more. All of which were just guess work before hand. Progress. And Now comes the difficult part. Being consistent with it. Consistency is what it is all about. I intend to do inventory for the consumables every day. The hardwares once a month and a weekly market run items list status inventory too. 

This is the first step of a whole lot of things which have to be done.

BUT I will take one victory per day for now.

Peace

I thought it would be a good idea to create a problem solving group for this where I can crowd source ideas and get some insights from anyone who is interested in how a restaurant works. We can trade a lot of information from the business end and you can help us out with your suggestions and ideas on the finer details. I am attaching this Whatsapp group link. If you are interested. Do come and be part of this 30 day tryst with destiny. 

Whats App group  link – https://chat.whatsapp.com/GME8ruaTrIK1HLtznnqUb2

And if you live in Hyder. Try our specialities on the link – https://www.swiggy.com/restaurants/bamboo-foodz-marwa-township-narsingi-and-kokapet-hyderabad-89740

Hyderabad’s next Top Mallu food joint EP 6- Swiggy illustrated Swimsuit edition photoshoot

This 30 day series will follow the day to day lives of 3 dudes who have been given the responsibility of opening a mallu restaurant in the city of Hyderabad. None of us have any experience in this vertical prior to this and we are all learning as we go. I thought it would been an interesting idea to join my mates in this quest and document our journey day to day and learn a little bit about the restaurant business and a little bit about ourselves. Expect things to be funny, dramatic and sometimes down right absurd, cause the characters involved have all the attributes to turn this thing on its head. So hopefully, by the end of the month, we will have Hyderabad’s top mallu restaurant.( The metrics of comparison are not quite sure for me at the moment.) But when you and your best mates decide to give it a go. At least all of us will have some fun with it. 

 

 

 

 

Day 6 

Noble wakes me up. Its 8 30. Fuck. We are late. 

By now, we have gotten so used to Odis ( Things not going our way/ unnecessary delays) that it is the new status quo. So we started the morning with the Odi that the flush doesn’t work. Then Jeevan took the car keys and the mother fucker in the ATM can’t read English Hindi or Telugu and wasted a solid 10 minutes of ours, until we finally found the some solace in the fact that the traffic didn’t fuck us whole since we were a little late.

But today was going to be different. This week we are getting a system in place. We are going to start doing things based on numbers. I made projections the previous night on how our procurements can be predicted based on last weeks sales. The numbers are very unreliable with just the Swiggy app to look at. Also, I just had the previous weeks data. So I had no means of comparison also. Only thing which I noticed from that data was that our sales increase 20% when India is batting second. 

With the projections and a little bit of input from Chandrettan. We went to procure the meat. If the meat seller knows you are a legit business who does consistent business. They start making offers to you. The chicken kid ( Fucker think he owns Blackburn Rovers by the disdain he has towards non Hindi speaking dudes) made an offer that he is willing to deliver to our place if we make orders beforehand. The beef seller could also make similar arrangements. But noble felt that, at this stage, we need to see how credible they are and get an idea for the quality of the bird and the beef they provide. They can fuck us up by throwing off waste pieces in to increase the weight. If we are consistent, they will be incentivised not to do that. Plus the chicken pieces were cut too small for the dry fry. When chicken loses its moisture, it will shrink hard. 1 Kg which is enough for 5 servings when in curry form becomes 4 when in fry. So the pieces had to be cut bigger we learned.

The projections made it easier to estimate what our spendings will be and plan ahead how much money to carry. ( Sans the ATM preparedness). Now ( at least for me) I can notice if anything in the rate is off and how the wholesale rate and the retail rates are different. With more experience and more data, we will be able to give better projections to our meat suppliers and get a better estimate of what to buy and make further offers and concessions between us. An important point from Somanonics.

We came back and we are setting up things and slowly the orders start coming in. Around this time, two Mallu dudes walk in and I greet and ask for the order. Turns out it was one of the partners who own the establishment. Jerin Chettan from Edappaly. 

He came to have a look at how the business is running and he brought his entourage to come, chill and inspect. Their timing was perfect as the swiggy photographer came in that day. We were doing a lot of orders and we needed a few extra pair of hands. Our orders will improve dramatically once we attach some photos to what we are selling. As much as 35% to 40 % according to the swiggy partner guide. Now, the photographer was on song. Taking photos, Noble was using his magic to decorate a beef fry with crowns of onions and make it look fly. Then came the important bits. Our best sellers. A quartet of  all things Kerala and all things which sells a lot. 

 

 

The photographer guy confused the Kerala Porotta for an omelet. :p 

We quickly realised that our ( my) projections were way off. At the end of the day, I did a check and my accuracy rate was just around 50%. But learned so much form it. The owner was having a look around to see how things were going.

We closed the kitchen at 3 and laid down in “the shed’. ( Not Uba butlers scam on how a fake restaurant topped trip advisor’s list for Londons top restaurant)

 

Honestly, I thought that would be my job profile when I got here. Now, I do everything. Literally everything except cook. Chandrettan needs a “Gurudekshina” from me to initiate my education in the kitchen. 2 “Vettila”. 1 “Addaka” and 1 bottle of Mansion house premium brandy. When the mansion house flows, I will start beating some dough.

There is this movie I have been putting off watching in Chennai cause I will really start missing kochi and maybe cry a bit. But now I have 2 other Kochikarans also missing kochi and crying a bit on the inside. So we thought It would be a good idea to watch “ Kumbalangi Nights” and chill for bit. I think it is the first time that we are resting an afternoon in forever. That was nice. Noble was making fun of how I can’t catch the Kochi references. ( Onnu poo bhai, than veruthe role kalikan varale da kavadi ) AKA Fuck you Nobie :p 

That evening, after Jeevan took away some food to Narsinghi. Noble and I got to business. That inventory was not going to do by itself. We counted and weighed all the veggies. This was in the middle of orders. We got clear idea of all the things we have with us. Now, over the next few weeks, we will calculate our consumption rate and get more insights onto the business from there. By 8 our beef and biriyani was done. Which made us lose some business. I calculated for the next day based on that demand. The weekdays are really confusing. Finding the trend is going to be really tough affair. But I find it fun somehow to try to predict things which have real life outcomes and consequences. Like “dream team”, but we are betting 5 k per day on things. 

That night end, I created a log of the sales of all our products. Swiggy as well as direct sales. Something which was long overdue. Soon enough, the data will tell stories by itself and help us make some much needed informed decisions. 

Well that is pretty much it for now.

If I can get the inventory completed tomorrow. Thats a victory.

Plus the owner Chettan has a few plans of his own and he can help us out too in much needed ways. Overall, it’s been a good day.

I thought it would be a good idea to create a problem solving group for this where I can crowd source ideas and get some insights from anyone who is interested in how a restaurant works. We can trade a lot of information from the business end and you can help us out with your suggestions and ideas on the finer details. I am attaching this Whatsapp group link. If you are interested. Do come and be part of this 30 day tryst with destiny. 

Whats App group  link – https://chat.whatsapp.com/GME8ruaTrIK1HLtznnqUb2

And if you live in Hyder. Try our specialities on the link – https://www.swiggy.com/restaurants/bamboo-foodz-marwa-township-narsingi-and-kokapet-hyderabad-89740

Hyderabad’s next Top Mallu food joint EP 4 & 5- Somanomics and Moula Ali hill

This 30 day series will follow the day to day lives of 3 dudes who have been given the responsibility of opening a mallu restaurant in the city of Hyderabad. None of us have any experience in this vertical prior to this and we are all learning as we go. I thought it would been an interesting idea to join my mates in this quest and document our journey day to day and learn a little bit about the restaurant business and a little bit about ourselves. Expect things to be funny, dramatic and sometimes down right absurd, cause the characters involved have all the attributes to turn this thing on its head. So hopefully, by the end of the month, we will have Hyderabad’s top mallu restaurant.( The metrics of comparison are not quite sure for me at the moment.) But when you and your best mates decide to give it a go. At least all of us will have some fun with it. 

 

 

 

 

The previous post, I asked for help. I needed a plan of action. Something to plan things around. I am starting from scratch on this one. I have literally no data on anything but the Swiggy apps analysis of our sales and the ledger we keep at our desk. From my 3 days here, It is clear we are bleeding money and more importantly time. The losses which are going unnoticed is a real worry. The problem is, there is no metric to tell us that we are making loss. Just that feeling that we could have stocked better, we could have procured earlier and that general sense of lack of direction. 

WE NEED TO CHANGE THAT. 

That morning. I saw a barrage of messages on my phone. (No it’s not the telegram mallu porn group. )

It was from a person who can potentially add a lot of value to your life. Before I introduce him, go through what he said. That will give you an idea of what he brings to the table.

 

 

 

0.95 * 1.05 = 0.9975

I think that is the most profound mathematical equation I have ever seen in my life.
What Anagh said was that even of I was making 5% profit and 5 % loss. I am not a 0% change. It is still <1.  So reducing losses will be more effective than increasing profits and that I should never call it break even even if my loss and profit percentages are the same. I didn’t know that. And that is the sort of quality thoughts he carries.

Anagh is my mate from IITM. We are both loud and proud hostellers of Alaknanda and I went to his home in December to watch Gokulam Kerala. That is when I got a lot of pointers on how to improve the blog. I have been able to apply just 20% of all the gyan he gave me that day. If you have noticed any improvements in this blog. A part of the credit goes to him. 

He is the only guy I know in IITM who has the potential to start a proper company. He has the vision, the charisma and the brains to make something great. But he’s a lazy fuck :p. But I am sure that is just a momentary thing and when you make it. ( Nammalenum Marakaruthe Soma :p)

With Somanomics on my phone and a bag of beef and chicken hanging on the side of the bike. Nobie and I make our way back from the butcher. Remember the list I had made yesterday about things to do. Going for a run was the only thing which materialised. The more I start exploring how to get things organised. The more I realise that I have so much to learn and so much to do. I have to start from the basics. Like the literal basics. I am way out of my depth right now. It was like a self reflection of the values I can offer on a traditional job market. I realise I have very little to offer other than write and document things. It was a damning feeling. But something which I realised was needed. Reality can’t be found in the four walls of my class room. Or the air-conditioned bed room at home. Or working for an MNC in the evenings in a blue Gillet. 

Reality is knowing that you can remain an insignificant spec in the world. Going where the wind takes you or, do something about it. I wash plates, mop floors, go to the market, shower in cold water, sleep on the ground without a fan over me. Honestly I don’t really mind. This one month is an exercise on realising how privileged I am. How learning to live the life of a working class immigrant and realising the plight of the people who struggle to earn their bread, keep their business afloat, keep their families together and at the end of the day, still have a wide smile on their faces. 

These are the real heroes man. Not those cunts on Instagram living a “#lifeworthliving”. I have been fortunate, really fortunate. I mean obscenely fortunate. Stories of people here and why they do what they do makes me realise that. 

Jeevan is tired, he doesn’t have the same laugh anymore that we did. He has a lot on his mind right now. His family is not in the most stable situation financially. And he has a lot riding on him. Imagine the weight he is carrying on his head at my same age. All I care about at the same time is, if United will sign Bruno Fernandes. Perspectives.

I am sad that Jeevan has to go through this. I am sure no 22 year old lad wants to carry the weight of repaying loans on his head. But he has always reminded positive thought out all this. I am proud of him for that. He is tired, he wants to go home, to his comfort zone. But I also want him to struggle, I want to see him grow, I want to see him take responsibility and realise that he can change peoples lives for the better. He is the reason I am here and I hope he doesn’t feel like taking responsibility over that too. I want him to realise that, it will take a bit of time. But things will get better. Me and Noble are there for him. I try to remind him of his responsibilities and give him some pointers. But I can totally understand if he feels like it’s just noise with all the things he has to deal with it at the moment.

Honestly. If I was in his place. I wouldn’t handle this situation as well as Jeevan is handling it right now. That I know for sure.

COUNTING CANS

The afternoon we set aside for the inventory. We are on break from 3 to 6. Nobie came back from Narsinghi and went for a nap. Me and Jeevan got to work listing every vessel, spoon, stove. I mean literally every fucking thing which has a name on it. We took 100 pictures and coded it to its excel file. We are trying to create a proper list of all items there are in the kitchen so that when we go shopping for utensils. We know where we are fat and were we are lean. As of now, it’s just Chandrettan;s word ( Which is highly reliable). We need to know more to make better decisions and have more of a say I what goes in the kitchen. 

We spend all afternoon doing that and it was not easy. 

It was business as usual until that evening. While India was winning against Tajikistan in the first half, one of the owners of the establishment came. It was the first time I am seeing him. I am too lazy to write what happened then, but he gave a detailed list of what he wanted to be done next week. By the time he left. India had lost 4-2. I can confidently say that is the way the interaction went, between him and us.

Telgu beer and other bitter pills 

Myre. How bitter is this Tuborg man, This tastes like Kingfisher. 

I don’t know why. Beer just tastes so bitter here. Kingfisher tastes like KARIOIL. It’s crazy. We were speeding in Odiyan down the highway. ( Noble wasn’t drinking.) But he did what a drunk dude would do and went in hard onto a gutter. Probably the biggest in the city. And as expected Odiyan gave an Odi and we had to change his front tyre. Then on it was a road trip through night time Hyderabad. Hyderabad has to be one of the most planned cities on the country. The roads, the bridges, the metro. All show this sophistication rarely seen anywhere else. Our destination was this place we found on google. A hill top view point. The destination was irrelevant. WE just wanted to have a little boys time out from the restaurant. After fucking up the route multiple times. We reach a  dargha on top of a hill. It was a bit desolate, with a gang of homies have a smoke and nothing else in sight. We move up the stairs and go to the top. The view from there was box office value. The entire city with its night light envelop. From this dark mystic Sufi dargah on top it looks amazing. The pictures will talk for itself. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would highly recommend anyone in Hyderabad. To go there at 2 am in the morning and close your eyes and listen to the wind. Trust me when I say this, you can hear the hymn of the city. Like the soul of Hyderabad is talking to you. You have to be very calm, very focused and maybe slightly drunk. But it’s music man. On top of Maula Ali hill. It is epic.

 

It’s time to go back home and sleep things off. Noble had a beer and went to bed.

Day off – wasted 

Morning off wasted. It was time to hit the market and my stomach gave a scare. I rested that morning while Jeevan, Nobie and Chandrettan was hitting the market. I will go next week and get a real feel for the local products. I slept till noon and after. I was so drained. I haven’t worked like this in a long time. Then in the afternoon, when they came, I was setting up our sales forecast for the next week .Something which we call in decathlon as piloting. I have very basic skills in excel and I need to get more proficient at it.

Il leave a read only link. See if you guys can suggest anything which will make things easier.

After that, it was the market again. We make the same mistakes all the time. 

  1. Leave when the traffic is at the highest.
  2. Withdraw money from the most crowded atm in the market 
  3. Leave without a proper plan or a list 
  4. Waste time thinking once we get there and not before.

So, I think we need to schedule our procurement runs in advanced, with a proper list and move things on easier. And I have identified an SBI atm which is in the middle of nowhere with very little crowd. Also enroute. That should at least streamline things better.

We ordered a new double burner, a few stools and plates. Apparently the twiggy photographer will be coming and we need to prepare for that. I wish that information was made available earlier.

Anyways, with that run done and things settled. We called it a night. 

With the forecasting date created. We started noticing trends in our order. We do 20 % more direct orders when India is playing cricket game. We used that data to increase our procurement for the next match day. Lets see how that pans out. We are slowly getting organised and dividing the food between the two kitchens is something which we are going to test out. Based on the performance of dishes and not on guesstiamations we have been working on so far. Soon enough, I think with proper piloting and data keeping. Our losses should start decreasing.

All in all. Inshallah 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought it would be a good idea to create a problem solving group for this where I can crowd source ideas and get some insights from anyone who is interested in how a restaurant works. We can trade a lot of information from the business end and you can help us out with your suggestions and ideas on the finer details. I am attaching this Whatsapp group link. If you are interested. Do come and be part of this 30 day tryst with destiny. 

Whats App group  link – https://chat.whatsapp.com/GME8ruaTrIK1HLtznnqUb2

And if you live in Hyder. Try our specialities on the link – https://www.swiggy.com/restaurants/bamboo-foodz-marwa-township-narsingi-and-kokapet-hyderabad-89740

Hyderabad’s next Top Mallu food joint EP 3 – Long chain Hydrocarbons

This 30 day series will follow the day to day lives of 3 dudes who have been given the responsibility of opening a mallu restaurant in the city of Hyderabad. None of us have any experience in this vertical prior to this and we are all learning as we go. I thought it would been an interesting idea to join my mates in this quest and document our journey day to day and learn a little bit about the restaurant business and a little bit about ourselves. Expect things to be funny, dramatic and sometimes down right absurd, cause the characters involved have all the attributes to turn this thing on its head. So hopefully, by the end of the month, we will have Hyderabad’s top mallu restaurant.( The metrics of comparison are not quite sure for me at the moment.) But when you and your best mates decide to give it a go. At least all of us will have some fun with it. 

 

 

 

DAY 3 

You know that feeling when you are totally involved in something that you forget all sense of time and space and feel in touch with the right frequency which channels you with the ether of the universe.

Ok, maybe not that psychedelic, but that was the first time I am experiencing rush hour here. Swiggy orders one after the other. Filling the screen. Food which was always in excess, running out. Walk ins coming in with their mates and wives and asking for food. It was bliss. Boredom is closer to torture than stress. I think waterboarding is called torture cause it makes your so bored.Not cause it really hurts. Same applies for any class you go to 😛 

But we were really in business man. We were selling food like hot podichores and beef curry. ( Who even eats hotcakes anyway, fuck that reference.) I was taking an order, noble the next and Jeevan taking the next. It was all hands on deck. Finally. 

Chandrettan had all 3 burners on and he was enjoying it. Finally, I saw the potential of this place. With just a tab and no publicity from our side. We were almost near the threshold of our capacity. This means with a proper strategy and a long term vision in place. This venture can lift off. I knew it could. Today it proved it could. 

Well, Incase you are wondering. Odiyan decided to take a day off. ( I ain’t kidding, it didn’t start in the morning.) Nobel wasn’t the least bit surprised. We were hammering the flexes to boards and hanging them. Noble knows a bit of handiwork and I am not making fun of him. He folds the Scissors boxes ( I condone smoking, especially when its next to me.) in between the nail and the board to increase the surface areas to decrease the stress on the flex. So much to learn from him.

I would like to introduce a new character to this series. 

Anti-Virus. 

She is the stereotypical Indian aunty both in terms of form and substance. She has an opinion about everything that we do. How to tie the knot, which way the wind blows, how to live our lives and all the shit which your Ammayi tells when you go meet her every sem break. But she serves us those everyday. She also happens to be our landlord. Swiggy guy parks 3 cm close to her gate. Jeeeevaan. The water guy walks past us. Jeeeevaaan. The cleaning lady’s daughter is getting married. Jeeeeevaaaaaaaaan.

Its like this AVG anti-virus notifications which used to fuck up any kids gaming spree during the early 2000’s on a PC. ( The good old days).She is going to be a very interesting character over the next few weeks.

We get the banners up. Hyder has these gusts of winds which can turn windmills sometimes. We double secure it and it is up. Over the day, we start receiving our first set of non Malayalam speaking customers. That is good news. That is what was intended from the flex. Let people know there is a restaurant here and that we are open for business. In that sense the flex did its job. Our walk in revenue today was double our Swiggy revenue. Which is great.

 

 

Also when a non Mallu says – “puttu”. We start giggling amongst ourselves. Even more when they ask what it is?

We closed the kitchen at sharp 3. Not since we were tired. But since the food ran out. That is the first time since I have been here.

3 to 6 is our down time. But since we are out. Chandrettan was making food. While we were trying to get some sleep. I feels wrong when a 64 year old dude who is here just for the love of cooking shows more commitment than us. I felt kind of bad. What rights do we have to rest when he doesn’t. But I didn’t do anything about it though. Guess that thought, just stayed a thought. Chandrettan deserves an article for himself. He has seen almost all of India, knows 6 languages and has his way with the ladies. ( Of all ages, to further hurt my pride and also Nobie’s) 

So by late eve, Me and Nobie are out to get beef and chicken. Todays excess demand meant we had to go shopping. We move to the street markets where roads and shops are in  the grey zone. You can drive over pavement for a second and a persons livelihood the next. You have to be very careful. We met our beef supplier. AKA anti-national. Unlike Kerala where the butcher shop has the butcher with a machete standing and slicing up a bovine with harsh slacks to its meat. Here its a much more “executive affair”. The butcher is seated. The meat hangs, he takes a cut, weighs it and starts cutting into pieces all without moving from his place. It looks like a really “executive” affair this. And there was this goat. I saw him in the morning too. He runs the place. Such gravitas and authority, His cousin might be hanging next to him. But this playa is chilling with some serious swag. It’s the owners pet noble says.

We made a small mistake. There are two types of cuts for beef. Kerala cut( small, nice and  in perfect cubes) and the Bengali cut ( Longer and in rectangular form) We didn’t specify and got the longer ones. More work for Chandrettan.

2 stores down and it is the chicken.We are here for the Biriyani pieces. Which averages to about 100 grams. 1 Chicken will give you like 8 pieces. Rest of it goes to waste. This is since we are looking specifically for biryani pieces. It was hard to watch 4 chickens being culled one after the other in quick succession with the slaughter knifes blood dripping onto the hand of the little dude who is the butcher. It takes literally 4 minutes for a bird to turn into 8 pieces for a biryani. Crazy. But when you are in this business, spending too much time thinking about animals and what they might be going through is not a good idea. 

70 rupees worth of ginger and we are back. Orders are rolling in again. Jeevan takes the wheel. Me and Noble are taking a breather. 

That day ends with Nobie and me going out to get fuel for Odiyan and fuel for Chandrettan. Chandrettan has a half every night (since I have  been here). He is overworked, without help and hasn’t talked to his family in days. It makes me happy seeing the smile on his face when I give him a mansion house. Cooking is a tough business, with endless hours and thankless chores which most people would find very depressing. But this guy loves it and is truly passionate about it. Thats why his food tastes so good. But the previous night he was telling me about all his problems and how a glass of brandy is what keeps his mind straight. Again, he deserves his own article.

Now comes the important bit.

The restaurants in a conundrum. Our prices on Swiggy are set. But the prices for direct purchases from the restaurant are significantly lower. So we are planning to redesign our menu. There is one important metric which is going to make or break the whole operation.The cost price of a dish. This is really pertinent to anything and everything I have planned for this place. Engineering the menu is an exercise which lays great emphasis on the cost price. Since the new kitchen started and since we also plan to open the dining soon. The operational costs are going to get higher.  

So I have been tasked to prepare an action plan to observe the costs and come up with a reliable, accurate and useful data to start planning our menu.

This data is really important and I need so help with it. 

From what I read online 

This is what I have in mind for tomorrow.

1.List all the food supplies you received at the start of week.

2. List all the non food charges.

3. Weigh the weight per serving for each item.

4. Strategise a proper inventory action plan.

5. Go for a jog. 

Last thing I want to bring batch to Kochi is a pair of tits on me.

Things completed 

  1. Flex is up
  2. Meat store location learned 
  3. Learned how to pack a biryani

    Yesterdays priorities not completed due to lack of clarity in the menu building. Will take time. Tentatively a week.

    Priorities for tomorrow

    1) Buy beef in the morning
    2) Focus on the 5 listed priorities over packing and taking orders
    3) Read more on inventory keeping and organising the back end of the restaurant.

     

Lesson learned – “ Mention the length of the cut, same applies for a circumscision  as well as beef”

Thought of the day – “ Seeing too many hot IT chicks in quick succession desensitises the mind to the female form” 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought it would be a good idea to create a problem solving group for this where I can crowd source ideas and get some insights from anyone who is interested in how a restaurant works. We can trade a lot of information from the business end and you can help us out with your suggestions and ideas on the finer details. I am attaching this Whatsapp group link. If you are interested. Do come and be part of this 30 day tryst with destiny. 

Whats App group  link – https://chat.whatsapp.com/GME8ruaTrIK1HLtznnqUb2

And if you live in Hyder. Try our specialities on the link – https://www.swiggy.com/restaurants/bamboo-foodz-marwa-township-narsingi-and-kokapet-hyderabad-89740

Hyderabad’s next Top Mallu food joint EP 2 – Silver linings Biriyani

This 30 day series will follow the day to day lives of 3 dudes who have been given the responsibility of opening a mallu restaurant in the city of Hyderabad. None of us have any experience in this vertical prior to this and we are all learning as we go. I thought it would been an interesting idea to join my mates in this quest and document our journey day to day and learn a little bit about the restaurant business and a little bit about ourselves. Expect things to be funny, dramatic and sometimes down right absurd, cause the characters involved have all the attributes to turn this thing on its head. So hopefully, by the end of the month, we will have Hyderabad’s top mallu restaurant.( The metrics of comparison are not quite sure for me at the moment.) But when you and your best mates decide to give it a go. At least all of us will have some fun with it. 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 

Two girls walk in. 

Namaskaram or Hi. Make you your mind before it gets awkward. Wait, you don’t even know if they are mallu. Go safe with the Hi. 

Hi. 

30 minutes later and we have our first dine in customers. They invited one more dude in. And the girls initially ordered a parcel. But changed their minds when the dude came in. They asked for a plate. And since they were chill peeps like us who don’t mind eating out of the plates used by us. I told them yah. Why not. They sat together in the stools and chairs lying around. Used the landlords scooter as a table and had the best Biriyani they had since they left Kerala. The girl from Palakkad took a raisin in her hand and said – “ This is the first time I have seen raisins in a Biriyani since I left home.” The glee on the face of my executive chef from Palakkad when he heard this was more intense than the solar flares which turn Palakkad into Kerala’s incinerator during the summers. 

That was my is silver linings biriyani.

Chandrettan the executive chef for a second turned into Chandrettan the social psychologist. He said, there are x number ( ok, not his exact words, but u will get the jist) of boys hotels an y number of girls hotels. All of which are located strategically opposite to the IT parks. In 90 % of the cases they are mutually exclusive. ( Except in Ishtara, which is exactly opposite to us. Thats a PG where you can stay with your chick. “ Shared living” as they call it.) And the interactions in the workspaces are confined by the social contract of professionalism and other BS which stops all corporates from becoming Straton Oakmont; Jordans Belfort’s most famous venture. But the only social sphere where the occupants of x and y are intersect are the bars, the restaurants, the cafes and the smoking/ chai Kada. They together form the loci of the “accepted” areas of interaction for the occupants of x and y. 

And that is exactly what will drive customers in. Chandrettan told me that hunger is not the only carnal desire that restaurants can cater to. It can also cater to THE CARNAL DESIRE. 

Food for thought. Or is it the other way around ?

Abhijith, Parvathi and “Sorry I can’t recall you name” were our first dine in customers

Day 2 I had one priority. – Make that street know there is a functioning restaurant running out of that car park. And to increase visibility. ( Which is Nil, as the landlords won’t even let us keep the gate open.) we had to come up with something which would at least make a by- passer take a second look. 

And I dusted up my PS skills( or lack thereof) and designed this basic menu which highlights items from our menu which have the highest subset of consumers. So naturally beef and Kerala specific items were omitted. Agreed, we are a Mallu joint. But this street doesn’t have ( to our knowledge) any Mallus. So we decided on 3 staples and 3 curries. The Biriyani and Podhichoru ( Kerala meals) obviously didn’t make the cut. That left this as the menu.

Enough to make the aunty who came late from work feel lazy and buy a few chapatis from us and also to get people inside and see our full fledged menu. This would be the gateway drug into the most addictive oral substance. Porotta and beef. But more on that later.

The prices we offer here are significantly lower than what we offer on Swiggy. Our only online partner at the moment. 

Let get’s some locals in.
Plus I emasculated our logo.

We were doing a lot of orders today. I wouldn’t say we crossed into double digits. But compared to yesterday’s depressing lack of orders. Toady saw a Swiggy guy come in every hour or two. Progress.

Jeevan had an accident yesterday night. Nothing too serious, but enough to come in late with a a twisted arm. In kochi we call it a “paintjob” Nothing too serious to warrant a visit the hospital, but enough to get sympathy attendance waivers. 

The owner of the bike wasn’t too happy with it. Meet Rateesh Chettan. I can’t give a proper evaluation of the guy cause we haven’t spend enough time to get to know each other. He works in the other kitchen.

The day didn’t really kickoff until the afternoon. Me. Nobie and Chandrettan took Odiyan for a shopping run. So far, Hyder’s roads have been amazing. The Mumbai Nagpur expressway which runs through this place set new standards for roads in India. I’d have to say the Yamuna expressway to Agra would be the only road better than this. But this evening, after dropping Chandrettan off at the grocers. Odiyan started to express himself. And by express himself I mean rage the engine and race the whole scene. It’s like this small 20 year old zen is drag racing at a pukka road. There was nothing we could do. Noble didn’t have to touch the accelerator for the whole trip. This was Teslas self driven cars of the future. Before 20 years before Tesla.

We give the flex for the prints. And then a sudden bulk order. Fuck, right when the chef is out shopping and Odiyan wants to audition for Fast and the Furious 8 ( I lost count on how many of those movies were made, forgive me for any factual errors). We race back to Gachi. Mother fucker. Just when I was about to drop Hyder a compliment about her roads. She fucks us when our pants were down. Banglore level road blocks.Noble was trying to control this raging bull. At the red light people were thinking we are going to road rage any moment. Grrrrrrrr. Odiyan was raging. 

We somehow make it back in time. Chandrettan heats up the porotta stone and roll a few thicc ones. The smell of a Kerala Porotta taking shape is divine. We pack and load and head out to do the bulk delivery. This was late, around 9. The Hyder traffic makes our hearts stop. And for a dude in the car right in front of us.That was literally the case. He walks out of his car, into the street. We knew something was wrong. Did he just give up on life in the jam. He is holding his heart. We ask what’s wrong, he doesn’t answer. He just gesticulates. Fuck it’s serious. This chick walks out of the car and we ask her whats wrong. She says he’s having pains in his chest. We offer him to drive his car to the side. A traffic jam during rush hour in a junction won’t do his heart any good. I take his keys and start the car. Here is a thing with me. I drive an automatic, and my mom taught me how to drive. There wasn’t a petrol head patriarch in my life who initiated me to the world of automobiles at a young age. We never had a vehicle until I was in high school I think.

So I suck at manual transmission. At least for the first 5 mins. And this car was packing so much power and all the dials looked foreign to me. I shift to 1st and make a go for it. No motion. Parking brake machane. Parking breaks.

Noble went ahead with the delivery and I walked back after giving the car back, The guy had an “anxiety attack”. Something which is real and serious, but I put it in quotes since the guy is not fit to drive with such a state. It sort of endangers all parties involved.

It is while this happens that the mallu chicks walk in. And the story goes on from there.

 

Lesson of the day – “ Getting tables will boost business thanks to horny suppressed mallu hormones”

Priorities for tomorrow – “ Design the menu for the wall, shadow tail Chandrettan to get item costs.Put the banner up”

Thought of the day – “ Why do Mallu’s prefer to couple with Mallu ? Isn’t the grass always greener on the other side?

 

 

 

 

I thought it would be a good idea to create a problem solving group for this where I can crowd source ideas and get some insights from anyone who is interested in how a restaurant works. We can trade a lot of information from the business end and you can help us out with your suggestions and ideas on the finer details. I am attaching this Whatsapp group link. If you are interested. Do come and be part of this 30 day tryst with destiny. 

Whats App group  link – https://chat.whatsapp.com/GME8ruaTrIK1HLtznnqUb2

And if you live in Hyder. Try our specialities on the link – https://www.swiggy.com/restaurants/bamboo-foodz-marwa-township-narsingi-and-kokapet-hyderabad-89740

Hyderabad’s next Top Mallu food joint EP 1 – Where the fuck is the restaurant ?

This 30 day series will follow the day to day lives of 3 dudes who have been given the responsibility of opening a mallu restaurant in the city of Hyderabad. None of us have any experience in this vertical prior to this and we are all learning as we go. I thought it would been an interesting idea to join my mates in this quest and document our journey day to day and learn a little bit about the restaurant business and a little bit about ourselves. Expect things to be funny, dramatic and sometimes down right absurd, cause the characters involved have all the attributes to turn this thing on its head. So hopefully, by the end of the month, we will have Hyderabad’s top mallu restaurant.( The metrics of comparison are not quite sure for me at the moment.) But when you and your best mates decide to give it a go. At least all of us will have some fun with it. 

 

 

Day 1. 

Where the fuck is the restaurant ? 

Hyderabad Deccan railway station. Noble comes in with Odiyan. Our 19 year old Zen which can break down at any point of time. We call it Odiyan cause then at least it will live upto its name when it decides to fuck us over. We make our way to Gachiboili. The prime location in North Western Hyderabad. We make a pitstop at this Marwadi department store. 50 Kg of Maida and 30 Kg of onions lifted on to our backs. Needless to say, Noble was looking forward to this since there was a chick there. Lifting 50 kg was fun, but the fact that the chick was M.I.A (Missing in action) didn’t help us. Then Odiyan carried us home to this place opposite DLF IT park in Gachiboli. We drive in past all these food joints. Filled with hopeless techies and homeless immigrants into this chasm where there are no business joints. I am like, macha, we going to our quarters? And Noble replied  that all my questions will be answered in a few seconds. 

Odiyan rolls into this 3 story apartment from what looks like pre war Kolkata. To its left a run down house with the most hideous coat of paint you can possible put on a building. ( Maybe the Trump tower tops that in terms of acrimonious appearances.) And in front of that. Is this sign. Bamboo foodz. With a fucking Z. 

MY QUESTION WAS- “ WHERE THE FUCK IS THE RESTAURANT ?”

LETS REWIND 2 MONTHS 

My mate Jeevan was offered this chance to manage this Mallu food kitchen in Hyderabad. It would be the first time that he is leaving kochi. Soon after, my other mate Noble followed him with a degree in hotel management and a stash of Banglore’s finest weed. And I thought it would be a great idea for me to join the boys in this venture and apply some of the business acumen which I had acquired over 9 months scoping chicks in Decathlon and help a new business find its feet. I have been hearing a lot about this over the past few months. And finally after the Russian classes and the Kerala cycle trip. It was time to take the train up to Nizam country and start this restaurant.

Now back to the question – “ WHERE THE FUCK IS THE RESTAURANT ?”

Well. All I see is this abandoned building. What I had in mind is this building with 4 walls and a roof. ATLEAST. This setup didn’t have anything. Literally, a fucking roof was such an upgrade to what it is now. The look on my face…..it was not new. Jeevan. And after him Noble had the same pucker faced, “ I am so fucked”  visage which anyone would have. I will elaborate on it soon. 

But the day went on recovering from the shock of having to be incharge of publicity of a restaurant. Which exists only on a signboard. Fuck man. 

 

 

Meeting the executive chef 

For what Bamboo foodz lack in…..structure. The chef there is a super kosher. Chandrettan ( No, its not a generic Mallu ammavan name for a chef) is an amiable man who looks more like that Paavam mathematics teacher from secondary school. Quite spoken, calm and with a Kavi mund and a shirt which has oil stains below the convex lens belly which is a prerequisite to enter into the hotels business in Kerala. His food was great though. I tasted the Biryani with some beef and fried chicken on the side. For a restaurant which exists on paper. The food is legit good. I can’t call it great. And we are not aiming for fine dining Kerala specialities from the Malabar coast with a hint of Portuguese flavours. Its a mid range Mallu restaurant which serves the basics with quality. 

Chandrettan has a lot of stories to tell and if you are patient enough to listen to him, maybe we can unearth a lot of value in this guy. While I was tying at night. He told me the story of how his son confronted him after reading Chandrettan’s diary. Even after Chandrettan had coded the steamy bits. ( Fucking kids). As of now, the kitchen is undermanned and Chandrettan has a lot on his head. For a sexagenarian, it’s a bit much, but his enthusiasm somehow seems to make it look easy. He is the only person who makes this look easy. The rest of us are struggling.

Well a lot more happened that day and there is a long way to go. Tomorrow I think I will do my area reconnaissance and get some insights into how I can channel more people into this place. You will meet more characters soon. Even I am yet to meet a few. 

There are a lot of problems here. And the most pressing being the lack of mutual respect between the workers and their constant efforts to undermine Jeevan’s authority. But more on that latter.

 

But even though this has flushed down my expectations on what to expect from a restaurant. I see potential here. Low competition with high demand in the Mallu expat community can lead to us getting a lot of orders through our delivery partners Swiggy and Zomato. That is what I am here to do. Increase that traffic. The dining thing is still beyond me at this point, but I will have to contribute into that facet of it too. But no expectations there. I am here to sell the business online and increase our revenue there and I think the amount of potential there is still worth the effort and we can really make a go with this.

 

 

CIAO. Oh sorry. I meant Namaskaram.

 

 

 

 

 

I thought it would be a good idea to create a problem solving group for this where I can crowd source ideas and get some insights from anyone who is interested in how a restaurant works. We can trade a lot of information from the business end and you can help us out with your suggestions and ideas on the finer details. I am attaching this Whatsapp group link. If you are interested. Do come and be part of this 30 day tryst with destiny. 

Whats App group  link – https://chat.whatsapp.com/GME8ruaTrIK1HLtznnqUb2

 

 

If you live in Hyderabad. Do try out our dishes on the following link on Swiggy – https://www.swiggy.com/restaurants/bamboo-foodz-marwa-township-narsingi-and-kokapet-hyderabad-89740