Chickeera- Kartik Juneja: An Entrepreneur’s Story of Rapid Success

Dedicated, Determined, and full of grit is perhaps the only way to describe Kartik Juneja– Co-Director of Prime Eateries. A team worker with the ability to solve problems swiftly, he delved into the food industry at a young age with a deep-rooted love for food and pure instinct. Kartik has channeled his passion into a successful profession with Chickeera, a fast-casual restaurant chain. True to its Halal-cart roots, the brand’s cuisine is a healthy fusion of Middle Eastern and American influences.

Kartik decided to drop out in the final year of his BBA from IILM Lodhi Road. A greater sense of ambition prevailed with him, the desire to become an entrepreneur. He always felt his place was somewhere other than a classroom. Kartik immediately decided to join his family business and after a few months began managing the import side of the business. The opportunity to travel to 47 countries within this time led to an immense learning experience largely dedicated to his travels, meeting different people and the mistakes made that come within the ambit of learning. He is a strong believer that education is something that can be gained without being confined to a classroom.

Chickeera

Being a part of the QSR Sector, there are mainly two challenges that Kartik faces. The first one is to maintain a team of employees who remain motivated. He is always seeking to hire those who are capable, bring a sense of uniqueness and add value to the team. It is also equally important to him to hire a team that aligns with the growth vision for Chickeera. He tries to inculcate the mindset that if the brand grows, the team grows simultaneously and
motivates them to perform to the best of their abilities. It also proves challenging to maintain consistent quality when running numerous kitchens across the city. He wants to ensure that every customer from each corner of the city is delivered the same stellar experience.

No journey is without its fair share of hurdles and challenges. The same goes for Kartik’s entrepreneurial journey with Chickeera. He delved into the business at a young age and had to learn the workings of the business entirely himself. With a great belief in the appeal of Chickeera’s food, he anticipated overnight success. He soon learnt that patience is a virtue best learned early. Disheartening at first, he slowly began to develop systems to continue with the ambition to grow, but in a gradual and sustained manner. Kartik learned quickly that the success of the brand is more than just a good product and became cognizant of secondary factors that affect the business such as distribution, storage and customer preferences to name a few. Another important aspect learned quickly was to develop mechanisms that ensured consistent quality no matter the time, day or location.

Chickeera now has a streamlined-based kitchen system with investment in sophisticated machinery and technology which allows them to ensure the food delivered is the same in quality regardless of the location. Almost 80% of the food is partially cooked in the base kitchen which is then vacuum sealed, packaged and delivered to each location. Every location places an order to the base kitchen according to their requirements which have been invoiced. In theory, the entire system is complex, yet convenient and helps Chickeera to run like a well-oiled machine.

Kartik aims to open 8 new Chickeera outlets around Delhi-NCR in the next quarter. By June this year, the brand will have 14 outlets operational across the city. By the end of this year, he is looking to open outlets at 4 more locations, taking the tally to 18 outlets around Delhi NCR. His ambition for the next 5 years is to have 100 outlets operational. Opening an outlet or store requires an immense amount of research. There is a designated team that is put in place that conducts continuous research to find out the statistics related to feasibility and returns for each proposed location. Studies conducted indicate aspects relating to customer demands, sales, and preferences of each location to arrive at a firm decision. There is now a wide database that has been developed by the brand with details from different areas of the cities to assist in making such decisions.

Opening a dine-in location and operating a cloud kitchen are different with respect to maintaining motivation within the team and creating an atmosphere that is full of drive and energy. A dine-in location comes with a service and interaction aspect that helps encourage the staff to keep spirits high. A cloud kitchen on the other hand often sees staff feeling discouraged. Kartik feels it is easier to open a dine-in location, however, remains committed in such scenarios to enforce the growth agenda to keep the staff focused and committed to the brand vision.

Kartik’s main focus currently is to further develop the condiments into legitimate sealable products. The Chickeera sauces are some of the most beloved products present on the menu and he wishes to develop them further into squeeze condiment bottles. Undertaking a task like this comes with a bunch of obstacles. Various lab tests have to be conducted and securing distributors often seems like a Herculean task, however, Kartik remains committed to developing the best product for customers. He is also looking to bring Baklava, another hot favourite on the menu as an e-commerce product. Lastly, he has plans within the next 6 months to launch his very own fizzy beverages.

When creating a recipe, the main principle always remains to create something new. Kartik works alongside a team of professional chefs who create every dish seen on the menu. Chickeera’s secret white sauce which is the brand’s USP follows this very principle. It remains the star of the menu and is unlike anything you can purchase in the market.

Kartik’s biggest advice for all the young individual’s embarking on their entrepreneurial journey is to stay patient. He believes the world today is indeed competitive and often we expect overnight success. Everyone has their own path and there is a lot of hard work and tireless amounts of effort that is required to excel in any field.

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