There are many perspectives that are built around food. One could be the fact that you don’t think about where your food comes from, since the sourcing of ingredients, preparing them over heat and placing them in your plate, is something that is taken care of by someone else. Another perspective could be that you do everything yourself – from sourcing the ingredients all the way to preparing and decorating it for your own satisfaction and enjoyment. Or maybe, another perspective could be how you’re a mix of the two perspectives described in the last two sentences. It all depends and changes from person to person, and as per each person’s own socio-economic circumstances and habits developed over the years.
Coming to the current market situation in question, the first lockdown in March did serve as a habit changer of sorts for many individuals in multiple aspects of their lives; food being one of the many. Some discovered how they actually like the whole process of preparing their food. Some realized how sourcing ingredients was a pain, and started-up their own grocery sourcing and delivery service. Some realized that their food habits were not that great and decided to get back in shape with good food habits and physical wellness. Again, different perspectives and different circumstances.
Today, at Bangalore Insider we spoke to the husband-wife duo behind Sajan’s Kitchen in Whitefield. Passionate foodies themselves and coaxed to start-up by their friends and family members, because of the sudden change caused by the first lockdown, they are still going strong. Below are the excerpts from our conversation.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Sajan’s Kitchen is an FSSAI registered Home Kitchen based out of Whitefield – Bangalore. This home kitchen was set up by Swapna Sajan & Sajan Abraham. This husband-and-wife duo who are passionate foodies were convinced by friends and family members to start a kitchen in their house and serve the special delicacy that they would make for friends and family during the various occasion in their house, to others. Happy about the suggestion they obliged and Sajan’s Kitchen was born.
We call ourselves “The need of the hour start up”, while all other businesses shut down and had a severe impact during the Covid 19, we believed in ourselves and ventured into setting up Sajan’s Kitchen as people were looking for healthy, affordable, and home-cooked food.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
Like is said before, the need of the hour was very clear during the first phase of the lockdown, with almost all the eateries shut 100% it was very difficult for the singles and the elderly to source food daily.
With encouragement from family and friends we saw an opportunity to fill this gap to provide healthy, affordable, and home cooked food.
This solved the problems of many elderly and singles in the city who we catered to during the lockdown who had trouble finding a cook or a restaurant for their daily supply of food during the first phase.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
As professionals, we are from the media and hospitality industry. Having spent over 19 years in the Media and Communications business, we were running a successful homestay in Kerala. The lockdown brought our hospitality business to a complete standstill and we were wanting to do something different, and SAJAN’S kitchen happened.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are a Bangalore based startup and we feel this is the best place for us to be, because, we get to experiment with a lot of different variety of food due to the cosmopolitan crowd that resides here, this in turn helps us learn too.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Over the last 3 years, we have established ourselves as one of the few recommended home-cook providers in our area. We have also gained confidence from a good number of regular clients who patronize our service regularly. So, there is nothing that keeps us awake at night.
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?
We have never been in the business of competition, we can’t be in our business, because everyone is different and they all have their own style of preparation. So, we try to make our food as healthy and affordable as possible so that our clients get the best at all times.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
We have found an easier way to find a work-life balance, First; as a Kitchen, we operate and provide only lunch, and Second; we work only from Monday to Friday. Some weekends in a month we have HOUSE SPECIAL menu on pre-orders. So, we have enough time to spend with our family post noon on all days, and weekends are well spent with friends and other family members.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
No, we have not raised any funds yet to setup the Bangalore Kitchen, we have some plans to take Sajan’s Kitchen to different cities in the coming few months, we may look to raise some funds then, if required.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
There was never a misconception in people’s mind ever, in fact, Sajan’s Kitchen has actually given them more confidence and the trust level has increased way above the regular days.
What gets you excited about this company?
Interesting question; what really excites us about our company is that food really helps you connect with people at all times. Through our kitchen, we have been able to connect with many more people in this new city, which otherwise would not have been possible for us. Every day is a different day in terms of preparation of food, creating new dishes which are not the regular run of the mill has an excitement of its own. Getting feedback from your guests is another exciting part of this business. And finally, this company drives us to the edge to get the best from us which is very challenging, interesting and every day is new learning.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
So, our day starts early before sunrise on most days of the week, by around 5:00 AM. Then starts the work of cleaning and cutting. We take our first break around 6:30 AM for a little exercise & then continue with our cooking up to 12 noon. From noon after the dispatch of all food till late evening, we spend our time reading, replying to various queries on mails and messengers, looking up suggestions received from clients, and reviewing the same. We also catch up on watching some movies on most days, if we don’t watch a movie then we watch some cooking videos and discuss the specials that could be made over the weekends as House special.
Shopping time for next days is around 7 pm. We have an early dinner and hit the bed before 11 pm on most days.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
We are a two-member team who met each other in their teens in a city called Bombay and have been married for over 23 years.