Interview with Aruj Garg from BhukkadPosted: February 6, 2014
Aruj is an upcoming entrepreneur in Bangalore. A graduate of NLSIU, he started his journey by setting up a campus café in his college. He shared his dream with us and was the first entrepreneur to have his dream DreamScaped with us. He attended our Dream camp and spent time with our team and our mentors.
He shared his journey and plans in this short interview.
Q1. Aruj, can you tell us about you and your food-start up?
I graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore in 2013. Bhukkad was started in 2011 while I was in my 3rd year. At that time, there were mainly two reasons why I started Bhukkad. I did not think that the food options inside or outside campus were adequate and secondly I was not inspired enough in the classroom. I got encouraged by reading various books which chronicled stories of young entrepreneurs (most of them were Rashmi Bansal’s books). I also got in touch with Ankur Singla, who is also an NLS alum, and runs Akosha. I interned with him for a month and that cemented the thought that this was something worth giving a shot. There was no plan, it was an urge to do something more creative and challenging at that particular time. So almost for a year, it was about selling food and making some pocket money from an outlet at the National Law School campus.
Q2. How did you make the jump into taking this forward?
Around the middle of 2012, when a call had to be made on whether this was something which could be full time or whether I should be looking for a job, is when the real analysis and the planning started. The final decision was made around the beginning of 2013 when it was clear that there was an opportunity out there which could be explored. The opportunity arose from that fact that most students I interacted with told me that they did not like the food which was being served to them in and around colleges. Using this information and discussions with various mentors, I came to the conclusion that there was a scope of a student friendly campus food brand. It had its challenges but this was something which could be scalable and profitable.
Q3. How has the process been? What were the biggest challenges you had to face?
So I will divide the process in two parts-before graduation and post graduation. Before graduation there was no tension. The only major challenge was to balance college and Bhukkad. It was difficult in the beginning, but the fact that I really wanted to work on Bhukkad made me manage my time effectively and I was able to devote enough time to the course requirements. Post graduation, the planning and the discussions were brought into practice. A company was incorporated and work began on understanding how the model will work, how can it be made scalable etc. Finally it was decided that we will follow the central kitchen model to keep costs low and to keep track of inventory. Now challenges have been completely different. Dealing with government authorities, banks etc, pressures of making this your bread and butter, keeping employees motivated and happy and constant internal strife of whether this is workable, whether I can make a living out of this etc.
Q4. What are your plans for the future?
So all this while, the plan was to make it a campus based food brand. However, as I spend more time understanding the business and interacting with people who have spent considerable time doing this, I am beginning to realize that it cannot just be a campus food brand. Though the segment is attractive but it may not be sustainable over the long run. I am yet to take a call on what the future holds or which direction Bhukkad will go. Again, it is an internal battle I am fighting. To convince myself that what I believed for such a long time, may not be true.
No matter which segment we finally decide to target, the plan is to open another outlet in another 1-2 months.
Q5. What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
Patience. I guess this sums up all what I can advise somebody. Any kind of enterprise takes time. There will be exceptions, however the adage, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ is true for most things we do and certainly applicable when you are setting up a business/company.
You can watch Aruj share his Dream here : http://www.dreamin.in/dream_page.php?id=7