Truck it out

Truck it out

Flavour Labs presently runs two gourmet-themed trucks, Kobri and Hoppers, in the NCR region. In the next two years, it aims to initiate many more Indian cities to this concept of fun dining

A business idea that began as a one-minute pitch to The Stanford Ignite programme is now Flavour Labs, a full-fledged entity that has introduced Gurgaon (and soon, a lot more of India) to the concept of food trucks. “It all started with a one-minute elevator pitch at the Stanford Business School’s programme on innovation and entrepreneurship in Bengaluru last year. I was awarded a fellowship for the same and the programme was a great platform to take the idea from concept level to a thorough plan covering various aspects of the business and backed by a number of experts,” says Nandita Shetty, founder, Flavour Labs. Incidentally, two of her co-founders were also a part of the same programme. Today, the founding team of four – Shetty, Rohan Rajgarhia, Ankur Agarwal and Vasanth Kamath, want to give India a fun dining experience through the food truck format and its present offering comprises two gourmet themes, Kobri and Hoppers.

While food trucks by themselves are new to India, what’s newer is the menu on board, take for instance, the idli sandwiches and the dosa wraps that put a global twist on south-Indian ‘tiffin’. “Our head chef was instrumental in executing this idea including crafting some exciting filling options. One of the popular filling options for our idli sandwiches and dosa wrap includes crispy fish served with a vegetable roulade and an in-house tartar sauce,” shares Shetty. As the business gained traction, Shetty and team kept churning out new menu ideas and that’s how Hoppers was born, with an emphasis on food for the soul. Interestingly, the company has also redefined the price point for gourmet fare as its price points range between Rs. 120 to Rs. 180.

Getting on the trail

As Shetty puts it, the founding team loves to eat, but it desperately needed a professional head-chef to do the cooking! And this didn’t happen easily. “I remember screening hundreds of resumes as we were not willing to compromise on this position. This paid off because we finally recruited an extremely talented head-chef who drives the innovations at Flavour Labs,” she adds. Getting the truck set up was another huge challenge as the company had to fabricate its design while keeping it modular and operationally efficient.

A lot is still new at Flavour Labs and Shetty is not beyond admitting that the team is still figuring out key processes such as sourcing, managing supply chain and reducing wastage. However, the company only wants to make this idea bigger and better and is working on having the right back-end to support its ambition. “From the get-go we knew we wanted to build a scalable and sustainable venture. This prompted us to set-up a base kitchen with strict systems and processes in place,” says Shetty.

“Going through the process first-hand and having executed numerous services which have led to further improvements in the design, we now feel very excited to have understood the nuts and bolts of making food trucks that will be successful in India,” states Shetty. By the end of 2015, Flavour Labs aims to increase the number of its trucks in NCR and begin expanding to newer cities. The company is also in talks with several investors to fund this expansion. In the next two years, Shetty and her co-founders, would love to see India warming up to the idea of trucking it out!

Flavour Labs Food Technology QSR