F&B Entrepreneurs, Sameer Kataruka and Ankush Raj had a vision of turning Litti Chokha, the street food of Bihar-Jharkhand, into an impactful brand around the country. They were driven by passion, that led to GoLitti, a restaurant chain, which they started in 2016.
Ankush and Sameer come from diverse backgrounds. Ankush primarily from the finance background was formerly working with Goldman Sachs as a Financial Analyst. Whereas, Sameer comes from the business background of supplying hardware material and completed his BBA from BIT Mesra. Ankush quit his job, with a dream of creating a powerful brand, along with Sameer to spread Litti to the neighbouring states and make it popular!
In Conversation With Ankush Raj and Sameer Kataruka, Founders of GoLitti
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Sameer Kataruka and Ankush Raj talk about their journey in the industry, the story behind GoLitti, the concept of GoLitti, and a lot more.
The Story Behind GoLitti
Recalling their amazing culinary journey, Raj and Kataruka tell how Litti is gaining momentum all over the country due to GoLitti. Rita Singh, Ankush’s mother is the head chef at GoLitti. Rita, with her amazing culinary skills, helps in curating various recipes for GoLitti. GoLitti, originally owned by a private company Beetrules Private Limited serves Litti in two categories – evergreen and trendy. The first comprises the traditional baked variety along with Jain (no onion and garlic) and ghee-fried. The trendy menu boasts Manchurian, schezwan, shashlik, corn, paneer, dahi, matar, and mixed vegetable.
At GoLitti, the Littis are prepared in customized Litti making equipment.
Litti primarily consists of chickpea flour (sattu). Chickpea flour is high in protein, fiber and micronutrients while being low in carbohydrates and calories. Raj and Kataruka say that they aspire to educate the customers all over the country about the benefits of sattu and Litti as a product. Currently, GoLitti has three physical stores in Ranchi, one physical store and one cloud kitchen in association with Zomato India in Jamshedpur and two cloud kitchens in Kolkata.
Concept Of GoLitti
At GoLitti, the entire concept of Litti, a regional staple, has been moulded into a new avatar. Raj and Kataruka have been constantly experimenting with the product by keeping in view the customer tastes and preferences. They have segmented the customer base on the basis of their age groups and choices. This helped them in customizing products.
“Kids usually prefer things like Maggie, Chocolates. Adults prefer paneer, corn, dahi. We have customized Litti’s according to these flavours. We have Maggie Litti, Paneer Litti, Chocolate Litti, and many more choices. It has helped us in catering to all age groups efficiently,” says Raj and Kataruka.
Raj and Kataruka have travelled a lot across the country and tried Litti from other outlets as well. They are proud of the fact that none of the competitors has a concept like theirs. Raj and Kataruka also mention that they are planning to start with the non-veg segment soon.
Major Challenges While Running The Business
Litti-Chokha is hands down the best Indian street food. Apart from being deceptively delicious, it has cooling properties and keeps one active throughout the day in summers. Raj and Kataruka mention that being local street food, the patrons in Ranchi are used to having Litti from street vendors. In order to bring acceptance for the product being sold at a restaurant was a challenge for them.
Raj and Kataruka initially, did a lot of marketing by attending a lot of college events, trade festivals, local events for educating the patrons about, why they should be having hygienic and a quality product at GoLitti and why they were charging more than the local street vendors. Gradually, people started accepting GoLitti because of its delectable taste and super quality. Kataruka adds, ‘People in Ranchi are slowly getting habituated to GoLitti and it is a milestone for us!’
Raj and Kataruka feel pleased to share that representatives of the CII (Confederation Of Indian Industry) liked their product so much that they invited them to Momentum Jharkhand, the flagship investment promotion event by the Government of Jharkhand, to display their product Litti. Kataruka was overwhelmed by this offer and to his surprise, on the day of the event, their sales were x10 times than what they expected it to be!
The second challenge which Raj talks about is the issue of ‘expansion’. Ranchi, not being a metropolitan city has a population of 1.44 Million. Currently, GoLitti has three physical outlets in Ranchi. According to Raj and Kataruka, three outlets are more than enough for the entire city as they are catering to almost all segments of the city. There is no scope of expansion left within the city, even if they desire to expand.
Role Of Technology In the Hospitality Industry
The hospitality industry is one of the major contributors to the economy of developed and developing countries and with the introduction of technology in this sector, it has been growing more than ever. Technology’s greatest impact can be seen on the front desk where property management has quickened over the years, the speed of service, reduced labour cost, improved accuracy and modernized look and flow of operations. Point of sale one of the most important techniques for speedy transactions, controlling cost, reducing wastage and cutting down thefts in restaurants.
While attending AAHAR Expo, The International Food & Hospitality trade show organized by the India Trade Promotion Organization as the ultimate destination for global vendors and sourcing professionals, the founders were introduced to POSist. POSist is a leading cloud-based Point of Sale solutions provider. The major areas they cover are- Controlling Internal Pilferage, Real-Time Reporting, Strong Inventory Control, Process Automation, Costs Control-Prevention of Monetary Losses, 3rd Party Platform Integrations, Stake-holder Management Reporting & Operations Control.
They have been using POSist at his outlet.
“POSist has helped me to manage all my operations very smoothly. I love the base kitchen module, it helps me to manage the production at all outlets with one central kitchen. The kitchen is fully automated, it helps to reduce wastage as well. It has surely helped my production to be stronger,” says Raj and Kataruka.
Secret Sauce To Success
Raj and Kataruka recollect the time when they had sleepless nights during the initial stage of building GoLitti. Their fears and apprehensions could not stop him from creating the brand. In the present scenario, nothing pleases them more than when patrons exclaim ‘wow’ after tasting Litti at GoLitti. Its excellent taste has attracted so many people across the city, that people now visit his outlet and show interest in taking up a franchise with GoLitti!
Raj and Kataruka conclude by saying that sustainability in any business is the key factor. They constantly involve themselves in customer interaction and engagements and pay a lot of attention to customer reviews. They focus on each customer review so that they are able to learn from and implement them thoroughly. Lastly, Kataruka desires that all his efforts help him in taking GoLitti global!