Serial entrepreneur teams up with IIM-C alumnus to float biryani brand, Nawaab Sheikh


After a successful stint as entrepreneur with her pre-school chain, Little Einstein, Kopal Maheshwari teamed up with IIIM (Kolkata) alumnus Vinit Srivastava to launch Nawaab Sheikh, an authentic biryani brand in Chennai which offers the famous delectable dish from the era of the Nawabs and Nizams.The duo began their startup journey on the culinary road in December last year. “The idea at Nawaab Sheikh was to launch a platform where people could taste different types of biryanis from around the world,” says Kopal. Nawaab Sheikh offers variety of biryanis, including Iraqi, Awadhi, Kolkata, Sindhi, Lahori, Hyderabadi and many more.

Biryanis offered by Nawaab Sheikh are divided into two kinds -- the ‘kachchi’ and the ‘pakki’ biryanis. All ‘pakki’ biryanis have rice cooked separately and the meat marinated separately and then combined in layers for the dum pukht taste. The ‘kachchi’ biryanis on the other hand are cooked with raw ingredients in one dum only.

“The garnishings and spices are all different for each kind of biryani on the menu and so are the accompaniments. Where

Kopal Maheshwari, co-founder, Nawaab Sheikh

Hyderabadi biryani has ‘mirchi ka salan’ as an accompaniment, the Iraqi ones are normally eaten with kebabs, and the Awadhi biryani is served with mutton korma,” adds Vinit.

Most of the biryanis offered by the startup cost less than Rs. 180, which is cheaper than biryanis available in restaurants or dhabas.

Small businesses serving biryanis usually compensates quality by using potatoes instead of meat and sprinkled kewra water instead of saffron for the aroma. “Nawaab Sheikh was conceived with the idea to relish the differences in flavours between regions and get the authentic, aromatic and flavoursome biryanis,” points out Kopal.

So far the company has received rave reviews for its variety of biryanis. “The repeat customers have been beyond our expectations,” says Vinit. Nawaab Sheikh has a base of loyal customers who have ordered 10 times over a period of one month. “On Zomato, within two months, Nawaab Sheikh holds #2 positions in terms of popularity as the best biryani place in Chennai,” he adds.

Biryani is cooked in a slow process and hence delivering the dish to customers on time is a big challenge Nawaab Sheikh faces daily. “Yet we’re committed and try and deliver it within 30 minutes. We are using technology that can monitor the exact movement of the delivery boys which helps us save time,” says Kopal.

Nawaab Sheikh operates on pure takeaway and delivery model. The company leverages GPS tracking to control and monitor the delivery. The startup plans to take Nawaab Sheikh to all the regions of Chennai in the first phase. “After consolidating our presence in Chennai, we will look for national as well as global footprints,” adds Vinit.


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