How this class 10 dropout built QSR chain Momo King that clocked Rs 7 Cr turnover in 3 years
Thirty-seven-year old Shyam Thakur’s tryst with entrepreneurship started quite early. Shyam says, he was not interested in studies and did not even clear his class 10. At the age of 14, he decided to join his grandfather’s rice mill business.
“I realised I had strong business acumen and that I could run a business of my own,” he adds.
Shyam tried setting up many businesses for nearly two decades, and then decided to try his luck with momos as he saw India as a big market.
Shyam startedin 2017 and since then has clocked a turnover of Rs 7 crore. Today, Delhi-based Momo King is one of the fastest-growing QSR chains serving traditional Himalayan delicacies like Kothey, Sandekho, Choila, Jhol, and more. It has also launched gluten-free and vegan momos.
Speaking to SMBStory, Shyam narrates how he single-handedly set up the momo business overseas and built the brand in India with the thought of ‘sticking to his roots’.
Bringing momos to India
But what made Shyam start a momo company at a time when it can be found in every nook and corner in India?
Chicken Sandekho Momo
Shyam says, during one of his trips to Australia, he saw hundreds of people flocking a food joint. He thought it must be a very popular dish. When he went closer, he realised it was ‘Noodle Box’, the popular Australian quick service restaurant chain.
He thought, “jab ye noodle bech ke itna kama raha hai, toh momo kyun nahi?”. Thus, the idea of Momo King was conceived, says Shyam.
Shyam then went to Malaysia and tried making momos by himself. After receiving feedback, he worked on it according to the preferred tastes. He then opened the first Momo King store in 2017 from his personal savings.
On the first day, he sold momos worth Rs 2,000. In just three months, he started making Rs 70,000 per day, and since then the numbers have only been increasing.
Shyam then decided to return to India and set up the business in Delhi NCR. He launched the first Momo King QSR in Gurugram, and in the next three years, he has managed to open four outlets across Delhi-NCR with four cloud kitchens. The bootstrapped company has priced momos in the range of Rs 129 and Rs 149.
The brand claims to have raked in a turnover of over Rs 7 crore in three years.
Challenges and competition
When Momo King debuted in India, Shyam says people were used to relish momos only as street food, and QSRs like QDs and Hunger Strike captivated the major share.
“It did take us some time to change the mindset of food enthusiasts and instil the idea of momo being offered as a traditional delicacy. We managed to change the concept of momos being a street food to positioning it in a gourmet category,” he says.
According to an internal report by Momo King, the global market size of the F&B sector is $10 billion, and is worth $6,000 million in India. The brand primarily differentiates itself by turning the momo into a gourmet delicacy.
Malaysian Laksa Momo
One of the major challenges faced by the company was establishing a network of trusted local vendors and those who can supply high quality yet affordable raw materials. Connecting these vendors and making everything run in coordination was another challenge faced by Shyam.
“Another teething trouble was to find a suitable location for our kitchens from where we could establish our stations and supply to premium locations in Delhi/NCR. Setting up similar standards in our restaurants to retain the taste and satisfy our customers was our initial conflict. We resolved this in no time with the help of our dedicated and passionate staff,” Shyam tells SMBStory.
The way forward
Momo King is now eyeing global expansion and plans to go big in western countries. It has registered trademarks and plans to expand to every market beyond Asia.
In the next two years, the brand intends to spread across Northern India, Southern China, Asia-Pacific countries, and other western countries. Momo King is also planning to bring frozen momos to the retail segment.
The company said it is planning to diversify its offerings by opening a day club in Goa in the next few years and a pooling club in Gurugram.