In an exclusive interview to Restaurant India, Jyoti Ganapathi, Founder & CEO at Dosa Inc shares the concept of mobile food trucks and its response in the region.
How was Dosa Inc born? How is the response so far?
Dosa Inc’s concept of mobile food trucks (we have 2 at this point and are the only food truck company with multiple vehicles) emerged from a real demand in the market. It is a demand for fresh, hot and crisp South Indian food at their doorstep i.e. at home or at their office desk. South Indian cuisine is rarely ordered for delivery because by the time it is delivered the taste and freshness is lost. We are within residential neighbourhoods or office driveways and office complexes where we take orders, prepare the food and serve.
Our response has been great. Not only do people wait for our visits, they even call us for catering events and refer us to neighbourhoods of their friends and families. Our trucks visit over 80 and more neighbourhoods in the Delhi-NCR region and are a regular visitor at over 10 company/institutional locations.
Tell us about your business model?
We are the only truly mobile food truck in this area. Our goal is to go to the customer and unlike a restaurant or a shop where they are waiting for the customer to walk in or call. When we are in a neighbourhood, we are the only option for food that residents will think about; nothing is more convenient or compelling than us on that day. Ours is a flash sale model so we don’t go to the same location too frequently. This way, we ensure that the demand remains high and people are genuinely looking forward to our visit instead of becoming complacent.
You have a wide variety of South Indian offerings. What are the basic techniques that you keep in mind while designing your menu?
The food we offer is very familiar with the South Indians. It is a food that most people have had before and enjoy but what we do is ensure that the taste is authentic and has a home feel to it. This is what keeps customers asking for more. When we offer catering services, our options are more varied and include more options from all the states of the South. However we are clear that the cuisine which we serve is vegetarian south Indian.
How do you decide the pricing of the products?
The pricing is somewhere between dine-in restaurant food and street food.
Which particular cuisine in South India food contributes to your revenue the most?
Without doubt, Dosa, Masala Dosa and Mysore Masala Dosa are our top sellers.
What is your expansion plan?
The past two years have been about arriving at the right business model, developing the market for our product and services, creating the right kind of work processes, specific techniques suited to our kind of work from vehicle specifications to how the food is cooked and preserved to serve under all weather conditions in the outdoors, etc. We have also been working on providing the right kind of training to the staff to be able to function in a multi-disciplinary kind of work system.
Our plan is to increase the number of vehicles we have by the end of the financial year to service the Delhi- NCR region. We are also looking at more specialized South Indian cuisines and the kind of model that would work for it, not just in Delhi- NCR but in other metros as well.
What is your investment plan? Are you planning to take any external accruals?
At this point, we are self funded (by myself and my partner Satya Koniki). Depending on how aggressively we plan to expand, we may or may not look externally for additional funding. The more important thing for us is to build our brand through the quality we provide both in terms of products and services and to understand the market demand as well.
According to you, what are the upcoming trends?
I can see emergence of ethnic/regional cuisines and fusion cuisines in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru. Food trucks will also play a role in this kind of a trend. Like in the west, food trucks will soon become go-to places for unique/experimental foods. I also see some locations/markets (like it has already in HKV in Delhi) becoming a hub for these little places or for food trucks.