Debaditya Chaudhury

Debaditya Chaudhury

Chowman

In Kolkata, there are about 200 Chinese restaurants, and perhaps innumerable street vendors. In such a scenario, how does someone who wants to start a Chinese restaurant in Kolkata strategize for success? Thirty-nine-year-old Debaditya Chaudhury, who opened his first Chinese restaurant, Chowman, in Kolkata in 2010, asked himself the same question. How was he going to stand out? A first-gen entrepreneur, Debaditya put in his savings to start his first outlet. Today, he has 22 of them, 18 in Kolkata and four in Bangalore. “Kolkata has the most densely-populated Chinese restaurants. My plan was something else. It’s based on Alfred Ford’s philosophy of democratizing cars for everyone. Similarly, I wanted to democratize fine dining. I wanted to open small outlets of Chowman with high-end decor, crockery, and cutlery like the ones in plush restaurants, and food that is on par with any five-star hotel at reasonable and affordable pricing,” says Debaditya. He did two things differently, which are paying off now especially in these times of lockdowns. One, he built his own delivery team, and two, he started cloud kitchens even before the concept became popular. As with most things, these two ideas came about accidentally. “My first outlet was a small one. About 350 sq feet restaurant. The kitchen was also small. To do justice to people who were coming to dine in and those that wanted to order, we set up a full-fledged kitchen behind the restaurant to serve only the delivery orders,” he says, adding that he did not know the terminology cloud kitchen at that time. He was confident of the cloud kitchen business then, and more so now. Before the pandemic, his dine-in business and delivery were at par. “After the first wave of lockdowns, when restaurants started opening up, we had 80 percent delivery and 20 percent dine-ins,” he says. In the future, he plans expansion in Bangalore, after April 2022, Hyderabad, then 2023 in Mumbai, 2024 in Pune, and 2025 in Mumbai.

State : West Bengal

Gender : Male

Sector : Food Processing

Video Link

https://yourstory.com/smbstory/kolkata-chowman-secret-sauce-how-to-open-chinese-restaurant/amp

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