Drive into the New Year with Raghav Joshi: Israel, fitness, and calendaring top Rebel Foods CEO’s list for 2021

Drive into the New Year is a YourStory series featuring leaders as they rev into 2021. The series, powered by Mercedes Benz E Class, offers you a view into how Indian changemakers plan to navigate the road ahead. Today, we have Raghav Joshi of Rebel Foods in the driver's seat.

Mumbai-based cloud kitchen startup Rebel Foods (formerly known as Faasos) has had a profound impact on foodtech in India.

Founded in 2010 by Jaydeep Barman and Kallol Bannerjee, Rebel Foods runs more than 350 kitchens, globally. Popular for brands like Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, The Good Bowl, Oven Story, Sweet Truth, and Slay Coffee, among others, the company aims to revolutionise the sector in India. 

The foodtech startup is backed by marquee investors including Alteria Capital, Coatue, Goldman Sachs, and Go Ventures, among others.

In a recent interaction with YourStory, as a part of our Drive into the New Year series, powered by Mercedes Benz E Class, we caught up with Raghav Josh, CEO - Indian Business Unit of Rebel Foods, to know how he is planning to navigate the road ahead. 

“I think what 2020 has taken away from us, 2021 has to cover up to some extent. The new year should be about giving opportunities to everyone, especially those who were impacted from the pandemic,” Raghav says. 

He says, his top three priorities are: travelling to Israel, focusing on fitness, and calendaring his way into maintaining a schedule. 

Travelling on the list 

Like many across the globe, Raghav missed out on travelling this year due to COVID-19 and is eagerly looking forward to it, for both personal and professional reasons.

“I look forward to meeting our teams present in the 350-plus kitchens across the country, and visiting my friends and family,” he says. 

Topping his list of travel is Israel. As a vegan, Raghav is excited to splurge at one of the top three countries for vegan food — Israel. 

“It has been on my list for the last couple of years. It’s a country with great culture, a massive amount of history, and they have done some really interesting stuff in technology as well,” Raghav says.

He also plans to research more on finding dairy alternatives and give a shot at learning to cook great-tasting vegan food. 

Goals for 2021

Raghav does not believe in New Year resolutions. He says, “Resolutions don’t always have to start with a new year. If we believe in something, we can make a resolution about it right now.” 

His biggest priority is to continue learning. And this, Raghav says, he plans to do by reading more. “There is a lot of catching up that I have to do on reading. I plan to be able to read a book every few weeks,” he adds. 

The one book that Raghav wants to read in 2021 is Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, “To get better at decision making,” he adds. 

And, the one documentary that he is watching and plans to finish is The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team, produced as an original for Amazon Prime Video. Additionally, Raghav also plans to listen to podcasts by Ray Delio.

He also wants to be able to squeeze out time for his family and for himself. “I want to be more efficient and be able to do more in less time,” he says. The CEO plans to focus on fitness — both physical and mental — and looks forward to going back to his yoga mat and meditating his way into mindfulness. 

“I would like to push myself to do at least 80 to 100 pushups at one go, and increase my capacity to doing at least 10 pull-ups,” he says. 

In 2021, he also wants to take a shot at playing squash. 

Professionally, he aims to make Rebel Foods the best brand in various categories, and across geographies. At present, the team is in talks to take Wendy’s, the US fast food chain, across the country, and Raghav personally is very excited about it. “India has a huge potential for burgers,” he says. 

Team at Rebel Foods

Guiding principles 

For Raghav, the idea of work is to have fun while doing it. “Otherwise it becomes overbearing,” he says. 

An ardent fan of Steve Jobs, his motto is the late business magnate’s famous quote, “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” 

“One should always be willing to learn more,” Raghav adds. 

Talking about managing time, he says one should work on managing one’s focus and less on managing time. “What needs 100 minutes with 60 percent focus, can be done in 60 minutes with 100 percent focus,” he adds. 

Raghav also emphasises on prioritising. Meetings that do not require one’s presence should be politely declined. Additionally, one should focus on calendarising what’s important. “When in meetings, try to follow the principles of hard stops,” he adds. 

On his tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs, Raghav suggests listening to customers. 

“Your customers can tell you much more than you think they can tell you,” he adds. 

Saying that aspiring entrepreneurs should always focus on the problems that they are solving, he says, “Be maniacal about the product-market fit right and getting the size of the market right.”


Quotes that Raghav plans to live by: 

  • Our past is a place to learn from, not a home to live in. 
  • Be light and be the light. 
“Don't have excess baggage on yourself, be the guiding light for as many people as you can,” he signs off.  
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta


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