If you see a devour-able Mystery Machine trundling along the streets of Delhi handing out edible happiness, the woman manning the wheel, literally and figuratively is Pallavi Kuchroo. She craved owning her own restaurant like a kid craves her frugurpops on a hot Delhi May afternoon, and she chose never to let that resolve melt away. When you read her interview with Binjal Shah for Shethepeople.tv, you’ll see how your Frugurpop actually has the sweet taste of her victory:
1. Was being a restaurateur always a dream?
Becoming an actor or owning a big restaurant is every kid’s dream, and I was no different. (Winks)
2. When you left a stable corporate job to start Frugurpop, was it an easy decision? What was going through your mind, and what finally made you take the entrepreneurial leap?
After getting a professional degree in Mass media from Sophia Collge Mumbai, I started work at Aidem Ventures and thereafter NDTV Goodtimes. I loved my work but I always knew that eventually I would want to be my own boss. Pretty soon I realised that my true loves lies solely in food and owning a restaurant changed from a distant dream to an honest reality.
Yes, it indeed was not an easy decision, but after having found a product like Paleta and seeing a gap in the market for it, it made me confident about my decision.
3. How did the concept of Frugurpop come about? And how did that adorable food truck figure in?
The search for something magical led me to partner with Sudheer Grover who is a Doon School pass out. Having done a course from New York & graduating in Business management from Jai Hind College, Mumbai, Sudheer’s expertise lies in making lip smacking popsicles . Our desire to provide consumers with food that touches the heart led us to take the first step towards Frugurpop.
With continuously increasing fast paced lives,We looked for a little inspiration to ensure our customers get what they want, when they want it. Enter Furgurpop on Wheels, a way for consumers to explore a totally unique concept in India – ‘The FoodTruck’.
We have a set schedule for the van and it enables us to reach a wide audience which was our main agenda behind starting the van. With service at your doorstep, Frugurpop Van has gained a lot of popularity and appreciation.
4. The workforce of permit-givers and license-enforcers is entirely male-dominated in India. Did that act as a hurdle to you, while initially setting up?
When I started work on the van, I realised that it won’t take much time before the van is ready, but getting all the licenses, permissions IDs etc weren’t as easy as expected.
I approached a lot of govt. officials, other hawkers in hope of getting some light on the permits, it is difficult, but it depends entirely on your approach. I never went with a mind block that lots of women have, I went as an entrepreneur and got my work done. I won’t disregard that people at times, do take women lightly, thinking we won’t be of any good, but one’s perseverance and go headedness proves otherwise. At least it did in my case.
5. You’re living the Dream, with the wildly successful food chain in the country’s capital. What part of this life do you love the most? Especially as a woman entrepreneur?
I love being on the truck. I love meeting all our happy customers and enjoy getting appreciated for our product and the truck.
People often come to me and appreciate the fact that being a woman, I am always there at all events and regular society visits, and I always wonder as to Why I shouldn’t be ther? This is my bread and butter by the end of it or should I say, This is my DESSERT!!
6. What does the future hold for Frugurpop?
We are in the process of increasing our capacity as we are gearing up to launch in the retail market and are working on our packaging and logistics for our popsicles. We are also going to be launching two new products very soon. These are again related to Ice Creams/ Frozen Dessert. We plan on reaching out to the market through tie ups with restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, cinemas, clubs, set up company owned shops in high street locations kiosk model in malls.
7. In India, women are seen to manage kitchen at home, but the ones at restaurants are dominated by male chefs. Any explanation for this paradoxical situation?
Give us a break, we can’t be in the kitchen at work too! Jokes apart, if you see in most professions men outnumber women. That is how it has been, not only in India, but world over.
Given the mindset that used to prevail in our country, initially, even men were reluctant to enter this industry. But times have changed and the society has become more accepting towards unconventional professions. Hospitality, like media, is a very demanding industry, where timings and schedules are erratic. In a country like India, that gets extremely problematic for women. Change doesn’t take place overnight, I’m sure women will discover and their passion and use it constructively!
8. President of NRAI says he predicts a rise in the number of female chef-owners opening restaurants in the larger cities throughout India. What do you think kept women from the industry all this while, and how is that changing?
In terms of entrepreneurship, a regular Indian woman has many responsibilities and her natural selfless nature keeps her away from thinking about her professional capabilities, due to which I feel over the years most women started to lack confidence and moreover support from their counterparts. Especially because a business requires a lot of time and dedication. This does not only require passion in food, but also a business acumen to succeed. As we’re progressing, people are becoming increasingly aware of the various possibilities to start a business. Even if safety is considered a hazard for women, they can start from home. Multiple avenues in this day and age have added to the ease in starting a business. The F&B business is growing exponentially and I’m sure in a few years women will be at the forefront here too!
Feature Image: SheThePeople.TV
In-article Image: Restaurants Dot In