From Spain, with love: three friends who started a churro business with Rs 25 lakh, now make a monthly sales of Rs 40-55 lakh
There’s always room for dessert!
Even in a market crowded by delectable delights of pancakes, waffles, milkshakes, and Indian sweets like gulab jamun, rasmalai, rabdi, and kheer, there is always an insatiable demand for newer varieties of desserts, and for yet another sweet, sinful indulgence.
Interestingly, India’s burgeoning breed of food startups have also been trying their hands at almost every kind of dessert that is available across the globe; from Taiwan’s bubble tea to Hong Kong’s bubble waffle. And now, here is the Spanish delicacy, the churros.
Usually served for breakfast, the deep-fried dough pastries covered in sugar is served with either champurrado, hot chocolate, dulce de leche or café con leche. This dessert is a culinary legacy of Spain and Portugal, but if you were to dig deeper, you might find that its origin can be traced to the Portuguese-speaking population of European and Latin American nations.
Perhaps that is why, most Indian foodies would relate the dessert with the popular Mexican joints in their cities. But there are few chains dedicated entirely to this sweet treat.
Enter The Bombay Churros!
Punit Ghadge, Co-Founder, The Bombay Churros
When 29-year-old Punit Ghadge, now Co-founder of The Bombay Churros, entered the food and beverage industry back in 2016, little did he know that his tryst with running a café would one day lead him to something bigger and better.
“Prior to starting The Bombay Churros, I experimented with a small, mom and pop dessert café in Mumbai. The café served generic desserts such as pancakes, crepes and waffles, which mostly catered to young adults,” he tells YS Weekender.
Although his café business didn’t last too long, the experience served Punit a good lesson or two, especially when it came to understanding the pros and cons of operating a café, and knowing “what it took to survive in the Food & Beverage Industry.”
So, in August 2017, armed with this experience and the results of a SWOT analysis of Mumbai’s dessert industry, Punit along with two other friends – Nikkhil Borkar and Nitesh Oza – launched The Bombay Churros. The brand, named after the city where they lived and the dessert delicacy, is a multi-store franchise today that is headquartered in Mumbai and with a presence in four other Indian states.
Co-Founders Nitesh Oza and Nikkhil Borkar
A pocket-friendly experience
There are many elements that separate this brand from the host of other dessert startups in the market. To begin with, their specialisation is churros. And when we say churros, we are talking about a lavish menu, boasting at least three different varieties – classic, glazed, and churros sundae – accompanied by a range of another five-six dips, and almost nine different toppings.
“Classic churros come with seven different types of dips. The most popular ones are the milk and dark chocolate, Nutella, coffee, and coconut flavours. The glazed churros comprise six different chocolate types, where the chocolate is poured on top of the churros and you have nine different toppings to choose from,” says Punit.
He continues, “Churro sundae comes with a scoop of ice-cream and chocolate sauce, and among these, the hot selling ones are Chocolate Gateau, Chef’s Special and Berry Blast.”
In addition to this, the brand has also introduced five new savoury churros to the menu, along with the usual add-ons and accompaniments like nachos and pasta. The plan, as Punit tells us, is to add newer varieties of churros to the menu every eight months.
While experimenting with an international dessert, The Bombay Churros, interestingly enough, has also kept Indian sensibilities in mind. All their offerings are completely vegan as well as pocket-friendly, with prices starting from Rs 105 and going up to Rs 200.
As Punit explains, “We wanted to target a mass audience and also wanted to make it affordable and accessible to everyone, while ensuring that the quality remains intact.”
Bootstrapping their way to success
Operating on a franchise model, The Bombay Churros at present has 10 outlets pan India; four of which are in Mumbai and the remaining are located in cities including Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Baroda, and Goa. The average sales per outlet is between Rs 4 to Rs 6.5 lakhs per month, says Punit.
Soon, the brand will be venturing in to the kiosk model, priced anywhere between Rs 8 to 10 lakhs. The goal ahead is to increase the brand presence in newer geographies, like New Delhi and Bengaluru, and ultimately test the waters in the international markets.
“Our future plan is to open at least 75 outlets across India and 15 stores across Asia in the next five years. We will soon venture into international markets like Dubai and we are also opening two new stores in Sri Lanka and Nepal by the end of 2019,” Punit adds.
Looking back, Punit says they launched their startup with a modest investment.
As a commerce graduate with six years of work experience in management and sales, Punit started the venture along with his friends-cum-business-partners with an initial investment of Rs 25 lakh.
“We believed that the Food and Beverage Industry was a vast field that was open to innovation. People like to explore and are receptive towards new cuisine. And there is always something for everyone,” says Punit.
And the fact that churros as a dessert variety was lesser explored than pancakes, waffles, or even milkshakes, served as an added incentive. But there was also a flipside to this.
“Our customers want to see how the churros are made,” says Punit, “But we maintain a strict policy. We do not allow anyone into our kitchens and we have a ‘closed kitchen concept’ in order to preserve the recipe.”
The traditional Spanish sugar-covered dough pastry is very popular today and with the vast range of flavours that are available and its affordable price points, the churro is now a favourite snack among foodies across the country.
After all, there is always room for some dessert!