Beginning of the Entrepreneurial Journey

Tahera & Kumail: Begum’s Authentic Hyderabadi Kitchen started as a “One-Dish-One-Day-on-a-Sunday” home Kitchen on the first Sunday of February 2019. We serve delicious Mutton Paya soup (Mutton Trotters) which is one of the rarest and exotic delicacies, not easily available in #nammabengaluru. Tahera, my wife and my business partner, came up with the idea of serving something that is rare and yet cravings are high. The idea was to start something small from our home. I wanted to start Friday Biryani, but Tahera suggested we launch Sunday Paya for Breakfast. Since we had our full time Jobs (Tahera is a School Teacher and I am a Marketing Professor) we wanted to use our Saturdays and Sundays effectively. Hence the idea of “Sunday-Breakfast- Cooked-on-Order-Only” concept Home Kitchen was launched from our humble House in Austin Town, Bangalore, India. 

Challenges on the Way

Tahera & Kumail: Begum’s started as a weekend hobby cum pocket money business model, where we would market our “Sunday Special Breakfast” to our family, friends and foes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays via Whatsapp messages and Social Media Pages.

As a Marketing Professor, I was curious to build a #Brand through viral content that would spread through #wordofmouth without spending a dime on Marketing and guess what, it’s been 3 years and we haven’t spent a rupee on marketing. What started as a hobby business, turned eyes and grabbed attention of people as the concept of PRE_ORDER was not something that People have heard of or experienced before. 

Initially, we started with restricting our orders to 10-15 plates as we had limited cooking capacity. We had to wait for customers to order before Saturday sunset and start our preparations post that. We had issues with maintaining timelines, Quality and consistency of taste, Packaging and Delivering.

We had to ensure that the Breakfast was ready by 7am, as some would prefer early breakfast and most of them would like to have a heavy brunch. As we were only serving on Sundays, we had to source all the raw materials on Saturday evening to maintain freshness.

We also faced issues in maintaining the consistency and taste. As you know, food that is prepared for 3-5 members in a house is totally different when you have to cook for 15-30 or even 200 people sometimes. We went back to books and YouTube videos to learn the art of how McDonald’s and KFC and other global chains maintain taste and consistency.

We even had to deliver the food to customers ourselves. We had issues on hiring delivery agents, as our requirement was restricted to Sundays only. So, we hired college students as a source to earn some pocket money.

We also had the challenge of packaging initially and with research and experiments, we are now spill-proof and aesthetic.

 Millepreneurs versus Other Generation Entrepreneurs

Tahera & Kumail: Of course, it is relatively easier for our generation to start something on our own today than our fathers or grandfathers could. But to get the level of success, you need to execute well and be persistent. 

With technology, on the tips of every young and old, millepreneurs have seen both sides of the generation. In 60-70’s they have heard the struggles of their grandparents who were either farmers or Govt. Servants.

In the 80-90s, we have witnessed LPG along with the IT boom and have accepted the private employment over Govt. Jobs.

India being the youngest country in the world with more than half of the population under the age of 40, we have great access to knowledge, technology and free speech.

The flipside of this entrepreneur bug is that the time to reach a stable financial freedom comes at a very high cost of being patient and persistent. Gen Y and Gen Z are inclined towards instant gratification and FOMO.

Hence the failure and disappointment levels are too high. Mr. Narayan Murthy, Founder of Infosys had to wait for 3 years for a landline connection to start his business, and look at us, we have toothpaste and diapers being delivered within 10 minutes. We depend on Dunzo and Swiggy for our daily needs, we are hooked to Instagram reels and have millions and like and followers whom we are constantly in touch with. What better time to explore entrepreneurship!

Pandemic Impact and Future Plans

Tahera & Kumail: Pandemic was a blessing in disguise for us, we made INR.4 Lakhs in less than 52 days in 2020. When the roads were closed and barricaded, people were scared to eat outside. We saw the demand for safe and home cooked food, and we delivered with same care and love.

It did impact the brick and mortar restaurant models, as they are heavy on operations cost, rentals and staff salaries. Our home kitchen model was just the opposite. We had no overheads and headaches. We ran our show pretty well during Pandemic and that gave us the confidence of scaling it up. 

As the word of mouth spread about our business, people started checking us online. This is when we got our acts together and made a Google my Business account to help people search and locate us with ease. We were crazy behind our customer feedbacks. More than receiving the money, we were hell bent on receiving customer feedback on our social media pages. That helped us reach more customers across who visited us from Kerala, Hyderabad and other parts of the country too. Some landed home following our Google Maps location and we had to host a few of them as our guest too. This led to a lot of food bloggers reaching out and the story spread and the cherry on the cake was when we were invited by NDTV for their reality show called “ICONS OF BHARAT”, an event to promote and showcase 60 Small and unique business ideas across India that changed and impacted many lives. We were conferred and honored with the award “Icons of Bharat” as a couple for our unique business model.

Now that we have been recognized on the national televison, we are excited to spread our business model and support housewives to start up from home. We aim to grow and empower housewives and small business owners to start at least 500 home kitchens across India in the next 5 years.

Advice to Prospective Millepreneurs

Tahera & Kumail:  Millennials are smart and well informed today. They just have to stay focused and be consistent in their vision. It can be as simple as selling momos or even Pani-puri or chai. There is a market for everything. 

I was wish and hope they take a well calculated risk and well informed decision before taking up entrepreneurship.

At no point, I would like them to compromise, school and college degrees. They are very important and meaningful. Education can never go waste.

All the best. 

About the Begum and Sultan of Culinary Delicacies

Kumail Kirmani is a Bangalore born Marketing Professor and Tahera Kirmani is a School Teacher from Hyderabad. They got married in 2015 and with lots of ups and down in their initial phase of their marriage, they stood strong in supporting each other and took life head-on with their hard work and determination. They set a goal to turn their marriage beyond a husband wife relationship. Together, they set a benchmark to be a successful husband wife entrepreneurial couple. 

They launched Begums Authentic Hyderabadi Kitchen in February 2019, a concept cloud kitchen which serves Authentic Hyderabadi Breakfast only on Sundays and you have to pre order before Saturday itself. They were recently honoured with the Icons of Bharat Award by NDTV in May 2022 for their unique business model

About the Millepreneur Edition

Millepreneur edition puts a spotlight on the millennial entrepreneurs. Millennial entrepreneurs are a set of new generation entrepreneurs, brave and visionary. Armed with quality professional education and new-age technology tools, they are here to change the world and make it a better place to live. 

Edition curated by – Dr. Debashish Sengupta, Asia Editor of Future of Earth