In an interview to Restaurant India, Nisarg Doshi and Vivek Jhaveri, Jitasa Hospitality talks about the idea of starting a Mexican delivery brand.
What was the whole idea behind Loca Lucho?
Loca Lucho is the first brand under the banner Jitasa Hospitality, which is a Mission-Style Mexican delivery kitchen. Loca Lucho is devoted to serving clean, fresh, healthy, wholesome burritos, burrito bowls, soft shell tacos and salad bowls. The first cloud kitchen is now open in Carter Road, Khar with another opening in South Mumbai in November. The company intends to have two more delivery outlets and one 25 seated- QSR next year.
We see that people these days are looking at easy to grab options and finer meals. Was this the inspiration behind coming up with a Mexican food concept?
We want to create a fun, happy, fresh, healthy & wholesome experience for our customers at affordable prices. There is a lacuna of options available for ordering in good Mexican food in Mumbai. The inspiration has been Chipotle – Mexican Grill in the US. Chipotle is an extremely successful chain having more than 500 stores across the US. Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC’s are very successful here but we have not seen a Burrito brand crop at every corner. For the mass markets everyday food options range from Sandwiches, Burgers, Pizzas, Rolls, Falafels – but we don’t see the healthier, more wholesome item Burritos as the option that people are going for. We aim to make Burritos the next big thing and option for people to select from.
How much money you have invested in setting up the delivery kitchen?
We have invested approx 70 lacs in setting up the delivery kitchen. The investment has been used for research, equipment, branding, space, vehicle, consultant and sourcing of the best ingredients from the world.
Is it bootstrapped or have you taken some external funding?
This venture is bootstrapped and has not taken any additional funding. Purple Ventures has made a commitment and signed a Term Sheet for an investment after two months based on some milestones and successful deliverables that the brand needs to have.
What is the radius of delivery and in which areas are you delivering?
From our current Carter Road outlet – our food aggregators are serving from 5 km (Swiggy, Zomato & Uber Eats) to 13 Kms (Scootsy). For now we will be delivering in Bandra, Khar, BKC, Santacruz and Juhu areas. We plan to open in South Mumbai which will cover Nariman Point to Mahim too.
What are some of the elements that you are looking at to keep the local Mexican flavours?
One of the key ingredients is Avocados, Peri Peri Powder, Chipotle Chili & Powder, Tomatoes, Meats and Tortillas. We have done some extensive research on all of these and have set up channels of imports, local sourcing from organic and specialised farms across India as well as have multiple distributors and imports of speciality foods in place.
How is the menu designed?
We have designed an extremely simple menu for people who are not used to Mission Style Mexican food, though Tex-Mex and Indianised Mexican is famous in India. We have a “Make your Own” section where consumers can easily choose what they want from our 7 menu item such as – Burritos, Burrito Bowls, Soft Shell Tacos, Salad Bowls, Nachos, Drink and Desserts. Where consumers feel they are confused as to what they would like we have made it easier for them to choose from one of our many signature pre-sets.
What is your view on the growing food trends in India? What according to you would be the biggest trend in 2019?
Healthy, Healthy and Healthy – this will be the mantra for the growing food trends in India according to us. More and more health oriented concepts are cropping up across India. As Indians get more health conscious – the food choices tend to get stricter. People are choosing Brown Rice over White, Brown Bread over White, whole wheat pastas over normal, Glutten free breads, oil free food etc. Fresh, Healthy wholesome and affordable foods will be the biggest trend in 2019.
What is the average order that you are doing. And what is the average ticket size?
An average meal for 2 would cost 900 INR which will include a drink and a dessert.
Who do you see as your customer?
Our customers are of a large variety – age groups of 10 till 55. Students, working Professionals who order at work, working couples who order at least three meals a week from outside, youngsters ranging from the generation Z to millennial to young adults and senior citizens.
What is the plan expanding the delivery service as well as setting up more innovative concepts?
Loca Lucho plans on expanding to 4 more delivery outlets with a front facing store within the next 18 months. We plan to replicate this concept over Tier 1 cities across India. We also plan to have food trucks which can start catering to large events and busy locations. Other innovative concepts are also being ideated such as Dessert Parlours and the famous Californian rage – Poke. Lebanese food again is also something that Jitasa wishes to offer in its portfolio soon.