Think Kolkata, think Street Food. In fact, the influence of street food is so entrenching on the culture of Kolkata that the chief minister calls fritter frying as a prominent industry of the city. Amidst all the interesting things to eat in the alluring streets of Kolkata, one thing you cannot ignore is Kolkata’s palpable ‘phuchka’ or as the world calls it ‘golgappa’-crispy, superlight and crunchy globules of wheat filled with a delectable boiled potato filling, you will barely find a soul in the city, who has not been charmed by its sheer enticement.
However, looking beyond its mouth watering earthen flavours, have you ever cared to notice that puchka-making has indeed emerged as one of the most prominent industries of Kolkata? With more than a thousand puchkawalas gathering to entertain their clients every evening in various parts of the city, Kolkata phuchkawalas, sure have a lot to teach budding entrepreneurs about some rocking Brand Management lessons.
Do some Market Research before you embark on the journey: You will notice that phuchkawalas seldom set up their establishments in areas where there are other eateries or in the presence of another of their kind, unless it is a peak season, like Durga Pujo. This states the fact that phuchkawalas research well for the demand of their products really well and direct their services only towards those clients and in those localities, where it is wanted.
Build Customer Loyalty: You may love more spice or more sour or more herbs in your phuchka, but your favourite phuchkawala shall always remember your choice and never mess it up or confuse it with others. This is the sign of a good businessman to know the demands of his client and attain exclusiveness in it, so that the customer chooses to return to him over and over again.
Emphasize on Delivery: Wonder how does your favourite Phuchkawala make 20 Phuchkas in a blink? Well, it is the result of years of practise, something each entrepreneur must aim to attain. Fast and effective delivery will differentiate you from the competitors.
Maintain proper accounts and audit: He serves 20 people simultaneously but never messes up on who eats how many. Want to be successful? Be like your neighbourhood Phuchkawala!
Growth hacking while maintaining a satisfactory Return on Investment Policy: A wise phuchkawala never increases the price of his products beyond a margin, even if the market price of his raw materials has undergone a hike. Yet he will always find a way to ensure he profits by balancing his gains and losses.
Give Customer incentives: Ever wondered why your favourite phuchkawala always provides an extra piece completely free of cost? Well did you just now? Yes, exactly! Ensure your customers too, have something extra to pipeline your growth!
Keep your Customers engaged: Isn’t it great to have a range of flavours to choose from amongst all that your phuchkawala has to serve? Don’t your clients too deserve the same? Well, they do in case you want to see them back. Engagement will help you build a active community that will help you sell your products through.
Build a honest relationship with your customers: Of all Phuchkawalas in every locality, why is one particular your favourite? Well because you love the way he says, 'didi jhaal hobe (should i make it little more spicy mam)?' or when he smiles saying 'dada shob bhalo toh?' Similarly, listening to your clients can make you stand out.
Map your Customer Demand well: His raw materials are expensive and the cost of his products low on an average, but yet he has to make enough for his family and himself to survive. Wonder how he makes it? Well, he always gauges how much demand would his products have on a given day, depending on his situations and weather conditions like rain etc. In order to minimise your losses and maximise your gains as an entrepreneur, it is essential to gauge your performance on basis of various business cycles.
Discipline and Time management are the keys: If your Phuchkawala gets late by 10 minutes, you may choose to opt for the kathi roll down the street instead, isn’t it? Thus, a phuchkawala has to ensure that he reaches his spot on time everyday and remains at work for the optimal business hours to ensure the highest consumption, just what an entrepreneur aiming for success must do.
Build a super efficient Quality management process: No matter what you do, ultimately the quality of your products/services is the key to success; would you like to have a stale plate of phuchka? Similarly, you should ensure that you serve the best to your customers if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Success lies in each crunchy bite of phuchka, you just need to get the drift (if the taste allows you get distracted, that is).
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About the Author
Ayesha is one of our Founder Magnets, who loves her ‘Blue Note Book’ more than anything. No. She loves More more! Jokes apart, she is one of the leading experts on Retail Consulting. An alumni of SP Jain School of Management, Ayesha has more than 18+ years of consulting experience. She is that ‘Fin’ that helps Magnets swim across :)