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.
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.
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 ?
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.
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