Big Bang Food: The rollup foodtech startup that acquires and scales mass-market food brands

Founded in October 2021, Gurugram-based rollup foodtech startup Big Bang Food has already acquired two brands — 34 Chowringhee Lane and Puran Singh Ka Mashoor Vishal Dhaba.
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In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic stormed India’s foodtech industry. And when the dust settled, nearly 25 percent of restaurants in the country had shut shop, forcing over 24 lakh people out of jobs. 

In October last year, the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) also reported the restaurant industry fell 53 percent over the year-earlier to Rs 2 lakh crore in FY21.

NRAI’s report showed how cataclysmic COVID-19 has been for the restaurant industry despite people going for dine outs and ordering takeaways. 

Abhimanyu Singh Rana, a Delhi-based entrepreneur, says, “We have been consulting for many restaurants for over a decade, including Barista. We have fixed restaurant outlets and chains while opening new outlets. We have also brought in profitability for many players.”

The IIT-Delhi graduate — along with Sonia Mohindra (a hospitality consultant), Sonia Sinha (former co-founder, Doubtnut), and Manu Mohindra (a food and beverage consultant) — started Big Bang Foodtech in October 2021.

Before launching the startup, Abhimanyu had run at least three restaurants across Delhi, including Route4 in Connaught Place. He had met Manu and Sonia as consultants when he was launching his first restaurant. 

“Since we were advising other restaurants on fixing their issues and launching them in new geographies, we decided it was time for us to get in the game too,” adds Abhimanyu. 

Run by HDA Flavour Pvt. Ltd., Gurugram-based Big Bang Foods Tech scouts and acquires restaurant and foodtech players who already have a product-market fit instead of building a brand from scratch. 

Credit: YourStory Design

The rollup brand

Abhimanyu explains, “Our strength lies in scaling up a food business instead of creating one from scratch. If a brand already has a presence in the market, then we acquire it, fix it, and scale it up. Very simple!”

Before any acquisition, the startup looks at brands that could work with its “existing supply chain model”. Second, the company checks if that brand serves middle-class Indian families — which sees a higher demand compared to premium brands. 

“For instance, if we look at pizza as a food, we would acquire a brand that sells pizza for Rs 300 instead of Rs 700,” he explains.

Like any rollup company — including Mensa Brands, GlobalBees, or G.O.A.T Brand Labs — Big Bang Food acquires brands and works on multiple aspects. For starters, it invests in the acquired brand’s food technology that would help enhance the taste. 

The foodtech company operates centralised kitchens, where food is prepared and delivered to the brand’s store and food delivery aggregators for distribution. It also tries to cut down on the operational costs by helping streamline raw material sourcing, bettering supply chains, and lowering the marketing cost.

Big Bang Food is trying to grow its brands online, including delivery platforms Swiggy and Zomato, and offline channels such as kiosks, stalls, and outlets at highways, metro stations, and airports, among other venues. 

Acquisitions and metrics

In January 2022, Big Bang Food acquired 34 Chowringhee Lane — a 22-year-old Delhi-based savoury roll brand — to solve its stagnant growth. “After being in the business for many years, food brands hit a ceiling,” says Abhimanyu. 

At present, 34 Chowringhee Lane operates in seven cities, including Indore, Gwalior, Raipur, Chandigarh, etc.

Earlier in May, the foodtech startup acquired Ambala-based Puran Singh Ka Mashoor Vishal Dhaba, and plans to open at least 100 of its new outlets by the end of March 2023. Big Bang Food has already sold two franchises in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). 

With an aim to have at least seven brands under its belt by 2022-end, Big Bang Food is negotiating a deal with a bowls brand, which retails products between Rs 150-300, and a biryani brand. 

The six-month-old startup is in talks with brands across Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, and Amritsar, with plans to scale them across India.

In April 2022, Big Bang Food raised Rs 4.8 crore in a seed round from Mumbai-based Artha Venture Fund; Harsh Jain (Co-founder, Groww); and Ashneer Grover (former MD of BharatPe), among others. 

According to Statista, the Indian restaurant industry majorly consists of unorganised players, with Rs 2.5 trillion in market size, while the organised market is worth Rs 1.6 trillion.   

Further, between 2022 and 2026, online food ordering is expected to grow by 11.92 percent annually, with a projected market volume of $21.95 billion by 2026.  

While operating in a non-crowded segment, Big Bang Food faces competition from Ankit Nagori-led Curefoods, quick chain restaurant chain (QSR) startup Rebel Foods — which runs Faasos and OvenStory — and Y-Combinator-backed Nino Foods, among others.

Edited by Suman Singh

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