Apart from healthy offerings like Quinoa Biryani and Black Rice Pulav at its Bandra restaurant, Foodgasm provides a healthy meal monthly subscription service for a limited customer base.
Vasanthi Krishnan, a 32-year old software engineer, was planning a lifestyle change and decided to start with a fixed fitness regime and a diet chart. She was geared up to follow this new plan, but continuously following a fixed diet schedule was difficult.
It was tough to find the right kind of food when she wasn’t at home, meaning she needed to carry food wherever she went or risk breaking her diet. Most places that serve health food restrict themselves to soups and salads, which isn’t only what people on a diet want.
Food for thought
Looking at this, 35-year-old Kapil Ghorpade, a fitness freak, half marathoner and Crossfit enthusiast, founded Foodgasm, a restaurant in Bandra, Mumbai, which was centred on the concept of tasty and healthy food.
Foodgasm takes customers’ health needs into consideration while creating dishes and believes it’s important to make people aware about the importance of eating right. Apart from the restaurant, Foodgasm runs a healthy meal monthly subscription service for a limited audience.
“During my previous work stint I used to travel a lot. My food habits and timings always weren’t right and even after putting 100 percent efforts on the fitness front, running half marathons and doing Crossfit, I could not reach my desired fitness level. The answer was simple. Correct your food habits and see the magic happen. That was the cue for our concept; the next big thing was to differentiate it from diet food. So we engaged one of the industry’s top consultants and the result is in front of you.”
His eatery prides itself on serving fresh, healthy and natural food. The team has successfully carved a niche in the health food space with dishes such as Quinoa Biryani and Black Rice Pulav to name a few.
It has also launched a healthy meal service One Up, which caters to the corporate crowd, health enthusiasts and people who stay alone. The team provides consultations with a dietician along with customised meals to help customers achieve desired fitness goals.
The challenges of a food business
Kapil feels the food business is super challenging.
“Every day you face a new issue and solutions need to be real time. Consistency of raw material, customers and compliance with authorities all are important and need attention all the time,” he says.
When the Foodgasm team realised that the eatery premises were not compliant with rules, it led to a major setback for a year. “We rectified the issue and now are back on track to grow in better and compliant manner,” Kapil says.
With a special menu, procuring quality material was a challenge. It meant tying up with vendors from different parts of India, including those in Bengaluru and cities in Rajasthan and sourcing black rice from Assam.
Kapil does not come from the food industry so hiring the right staff also posed a challenge. However, it took a simple job posting on LinkedIn and two meetings to select their Head Chef, Ketan Mokashi, who studied at IHM, Mumbai.
Apart from Ketan, Foodgasm also recruited Varun Inamdar, known for curating great food menus, guests and clientele. The team claims that as an Executive Chef and Business Development Head, his clients comprise the "who's who" of the world, including Queen Rania of Jordan, the royal family of Al Sabah, Al Khalifa and Al Saud, Barack Obama, Nicholas Sarkozy and Vladimir Putin, Sachin Tendulkar and the Ambanis.
The rest of the team was selected in consultation and through Ketan’s connections in the industry.
“Today we have a team that’s hungry and passionate to experiment and deliver quality and tasty food,” Kapil says.
Hungering for growth
Currently bootstrapped, Foodgasm generates revenue from dine-in services, and remains heavily focused on delivery and monthly meal services. Zomato prices the average ticket size for two at Rs 1,000.
In January, the team completed a year of operations and claims to have achieved satisfactory numbers for their top line and traction on deliveries. Their meal plans and customised meals are growing at a faster pace compared to dine-in customers.
The idea of fusion cafés is fast catching up, especially in Mumbai, where the likes of Masala Library and Auriga, to name only two, have already made their home. But restaurant businesses, especially in the fusion space, are capital-intensive and require constant innovation. Others in the market include Desi Deli and Bombay Salad Company.
On future plans, Kapil says, “Our focus is to cover locations we have short listed in Mumbai first and later move to Delhi and Bangalore. We are confident of our concept, food and staff. The entire team is working towards making the brand successful. Once we break even, the numbers will speak for themselves.”