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.
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.
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.
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.
- Flex is up
- Meat store location learned
- 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