People living outside Sivasagar may not be very familiar with Gaon Ka Khana but in the past couple of months, this small start-up by a young entrepreneur has been the reason behind multiple ‘foodgasms’ and, some new beginnings.
22-year-old Hironmoy Gogoi, an undergraduate who is currently doing research in entrepreneurship via online study, is the brains behind Gaon Ka Khana which is an Assam-centric start-up. It promotes ethnic food and provides livelihood for local youth and women. The main aim of Gaon Ka Khana is to generate 3000 jobs in rural Assam in the coming years; they already have 300 youth working with the team, directly or indirectly.
The First Bite
It all started when Hironmoy asked himself, ‘If a foreign brand like KFC can capture our market with their own recipes and do great business then why can’t we capture our own markets with our own ethnic recipes and build a fantastic business?’
Through Gaon Ka Khana’s Facebook page, customers in Sivasagar can order hot meals – basically Assamese cuisine with an innovative flavour. It is hard to believe that Gaon Ka Khana started in Hironmoy’s home kitchen where they only had one stove to prepare all the meals. The initial investment was only Rs 10.
‘It was basically an experimental project to prove that business isn’t all about investment, rather it’s about hitting on the right idea by understanding market needs and following up with reliable execution.’ Once they were flooded with requests that needed more manpower, they shifted to their present office located in Rangghar Chariali.
What’s On The Menu?
The cooks who work the magic in the kitchen are not professional chefs, they are local women who know a thing or two about authentic Assamese flavours that keep people coming back for more. ‘We have a R&D wing under which they keep practising their cooking skills to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction.’
They also have tie-ups with local vegetable growers, most of whom are women, which means that their dishes are made with the freshest ingredients. Not only that, all their items are extremely affordable. The chicken/pork gravy (12 pieces) is priced at around Rs 100, the vegetarian thali comes for Rs 30, and jolpan is only Rs 30. Apart from Assamese dishes, they also offer biryani, fried rice, fried chicken, roll and chow.
Gaon ka Khana takes 100-150 home delivery orders a day along with bulk orders from employees of many big companies operating in Sivasagar and Jorhat.
Hungry for More!
Gaon Ka Khana also owns and runs GKK Naturals and GKK Mondita Snacks. GKK Naturals is unique in the way that it connects small scale vegetable producers with consumers who can buy fresh organically produced vegetables without even leaving home. GKK Mondita Snacks, named after Hironmoy’s mother Mondita, seeks to empower the women in rural areas. The unit produces ethnic food items which are sold in regional as well as national markets.
They are also planning to introduce GKK Relationship mode where couples can book a table to indulge in ethnic dishes and get free gifts; GKK Party mode which will allow customers to order western cuisine apart from ethnic food items; GKK accommodation mode where people will be able to book a room across Assam in their empanelled hotels and avail discounts; and GKK travel mode to help tourists explore Rangpur and know about the Ahom kingdom.
Of course, Hironmoy still struggles with funding but that has never been a deterrent. ‘Due to insufficient funds, we have to scale gradually but we will never give up as we will build the opportunity through our constant improvements and dynamic actions.’
Hironmoy and Gaon Ka Khana is a great inspiration for home cooks everywhere, who can dream big within the confines of their own kitchens. He has also shown that the success of any start-up depends on the right idea and the right utilization of resources.
By Meeta Borah
This article was first published in May 2017 issue