Anant Singh was working in the American Express when the idea of setting up a bakery business struck him. He’d tried a lot of new bakeries and personally found that all of them were lacking innovation. They had a minimal menu and only 3-4 basic cakes to offer each time. Anant along with Karishma, his colleague and now his business partner, decided to get innovative and offer premium freshly baked cakes to people within 90 minutes, and this led to the beginning of the Mystical Bundle.
Singh started this initiative in his apartment and after a couple of months moved to a dedicated kitchen space in Vasant Kunj. Mystical Bundle currently works on a delivery only model and delivers cakes across South Delhi within 90 minutes.
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times Anant shares his story, the challenges he faced, the importance of technology and a lot more.
In Conversation With Anant Singh Of Mystical Bundle
Mystical means being associated with spirit or soul and Bundle means a collection of something. Mystical Bundle does not only offer cakes and desserts but also offers a selection of happiness and positivity which relaxes the soul and mind. The speciality is the mystical snack where one can choose a box of cupcakes, and their box of rainbow cupcakes are quite the hit among the kids.
Mystical Bundle positions itself as the brand which provides premium handcrafted cakes within 90 minutes. That means that your cake is made only on order and then delivered to you. ‘We do not keep any cakes ready with us; you need not place an order 4-5 hours in advance. We have a fascinating menu and have 15+ cake options which are available for doorstep delivery within 90 minutes’, says Singh.
Importance Of Location
According to Singh, not only for a patisserie, location matters for every F&B business. It is essential first to identify the right set of audience for the brand. ‘Before setting up the base kitchen in Vasant Kunj, we did a lot of research,’ says Singh.
In a market where everybody wants to open a restaurant today, there are few things which restaurateurs have to keep in mind before starting up the business which includes cuisine, ambience, quality, services, and location. Choosing a place with high footfall will give an upper hand in the market.
According to Singh, visibility is the most important factor, and people can only reach your outlet if they can see it. Setting up an outlet at a high traffic place or college campus would be great. Advertise the brand by placing boards or one can also make an eye-catchy logo so that people could figure out their next stop to dine at. ‘In Vasant Kunj, we only have two competitors whereas in other South Delhi areas we have more than 4-5 competitors. Vasant Kunj has excellent potential for any F&B business’, says Singh.
Dealing With Competition
It is highly important to come up with innovative ideas to deal with the competition in the market. ‘At the end of the day be true to yourself, and know your capabilities,’ says Singh. ‘If you have less number of people in the kitchen and you know they can churn out just four types of cakes just don’t put six options on the menu and make them screw up the other four,’
To maintain the customer repeat rate, we keep updating our menu after every three months. We also run BOGO (Buy one get one) offer throughout the year on selected desserts.
According to Singh, menu planning is critical as well. It should be short & crisp, it should not be overdone. But, gradually, if you feel that you have enough resources and manpower, then you can go ahead & play with the menu.
‘Mystical Bundle is a customer as well as employee centric brand. We mostly hire freshers and train them according to our menu and culture. We provide accommodation and one-time meal to our kitchen staff as all of them are outstation candidates and we do a monthly R&R (Rewards and recognition) ceremony. We offer meals to our delivery team as well, and they are paid 100/- Rs for every extra hour they stay at work. If people working for you are happy, for sure your consumers will be happy’, says Singh.
Ensuring Quality Of Cakes
Maintaining a balance with your vendors is essential because they are the ones responsible for your profitability and success. Unless the quality of the raw ingredients that you use is good, you would not be able to prepare premium items. According to Singh, identifying a perfect vendor for your business is a lengthy and time-consuming process. Keep things simple, especially when in India where most of the vendors are rigid. There are three tips to keep in mind while managing with the vendors. Pay them on time, be honest and fair as well as avoid arguments.
The biggest challenge of running a bakery business is maintaining the quality and structure of the baked goods. According to Singh, cakes are fragile. When the weather isn’t favourable, cakes tend to melt. No matter how hard we try, and despite having proper delivery bags equipped with Ice packs, still some cakes meltdown.
‘In this situation, we deliver a fresh cake again and pick up the previous one to retain the customer. We get to know customers’ food ordering frequency through our CRM. We have consumers who have been with us since we started. Very soon, we are planning to roll out rewards program for consumers who are loyal to us that would help us in customer retention too,’ says Singh.
In the bakery industry, balancing quality requirements with production and demand is challenging. But with the implementation of technology, manufacturing is faster, and requests are well catered for. Today, even a small bakery will have to use some technology to speed up the bakery process.
‘Mystical Bundle works on a delivery model, our business entirely depends on the technology. We get a lot of orders through food aggregators like Zomato and Foodpanda. All the requests are directed towards our POS. We also have a delivery app which we have provided to all the riders. Through our POS we can directly assign the delivery to the desired, and the customer is notified about the delivery status. Customers are provided with a link through which they can track their orders’, says Singh.
Singh’s Mantra To Success
‘We are planning to open a brick and mortar Mystical Bundle outlet. A lot of our consumers are demanding it, so we are currently working on the same. We are a bootstrapped business, hence we are taking baby steps and being very cautious about certain things. Running a restaurant seems very flashy, but there is a lot of hard work involved especially when you don’t have investors money to burn,’ says Singh.
Singh concludes by saying that ‘if you are a bootstrapped business, you play a lot of roles in your store. There are times when I go out for deliveries, handle customer feedbacks, wash the dishes, sweep the floor, do the accounting but at the end of the day its fun.
If you are passionate about doing something and you do it with all your heart without being bothered about what people will say you will definitely succeed. This is what the secret sauce to success for a bakery is for me.’