I mean, if someone would have told me 3 years back I'd be writing letters to 20k+ people every single week, I would have laughed. Like...a lot!
But here we are..on our 35th Sunday Letter and I'm a little bit proud today. Not because I write to you guys, but after my 9th or 10th letter, you guys actually started writing back...which is priceless.
Anyhoo, Welcome to Dohful's Sunday Letter , today we are not going to be talking about Dohful at all!
When I left Mumbai in 2012 to do MBA from IMT Ghaziabad, I knew I wanted to start my own venture. It was my only reason for doing an MBA. I didn't know much about starting a company or running it, but that didn't stop me from dreaming about doing it someday.
And the first time that dream got realised for me was Sandwedges. In today's Sunday Letter, I want to share with you guys the story of how I started my journey as a foodie entrepreneur.
I don't know how many of you know this, but both Chaman & I, met in IMT Ghaziabad. It was a typical good girl meets good boy kinda story.
To the world, they look poles apart. She raves about Cheesecakes while his favorite food is Pani Puri. She finds solace in dark, sinful chocolate and he's drawn towards Aloo Parathas and Chole Kulche.
He is a thinker, she is a doer. He is a methodologist, she goes with the flow. But together, they know they can rock the world!
On a perfect weather afternoon (well, as perfect as it could get in Ghaziabad), and they go out for golgappas. The girl couldn’t stop talking about Mumbai and her favorite foods there, but the guy could think of just one thing. In a hasty moment, before he could procrastinate more, he blurted “Will you be my Co-founder?”
And that's how Sandwedges was started. Well, almost!
Sandwedges is a sandwich & burger-based food outlet that we opened nearby our college, while we were still doing MBA. We offered sandwiches, burgers, shakes, and fries...basically staple food for any college student.
We both wanted to start a venture right from college albeit for different reasons! Chaman was ripe, ready to do business because he had been reading, breathing, eating, sleeping businesses ever since he was in Engineering college.
I, on the other hand, was just so excited by the prospect of starting something of my own, that I decided to wing it and just learn on the go.
Both of us used to spend all our after-college hours at the Sandwedges store, trying new recipes, taking feedback, serving our customers (some of whom used to be our friends!), training the staff, and so on. We implemented all we learned in our B-school books and more.
The only thing on our mind was to serve mind blowing food to the people of Ghaziabad.
We started with a 90 sq.ft. shop which ended before you could even step inside it. But by the time we graduated from IMT, we made enough from that shop to cover one person's post-MBA salary.
We were getting more and more customers with each passing day and our food was being loved by everyone who walked in. I remember one guy once told us that he had visited Sandwedges more than 40 times in the last 2 months. And he wasn't exaggerating at all!
Even today, Sandwedges remains a name associated with scrumptious, mouth-watering food at pocket-friendly prices, and I think people in Ghaziabad would corroborate with me on that.
After graduating from IMT, we quickly opened one more store...and then 4 more after that. At our peak we had 6 outlets (including one in Hyderabad).
That's when the house of cards started to collapse on us.
The operations were too labor-intensive. With every new outlet, we started from level zero. We were doing good, but by no standards, we were a known brand, that people would rush to try every time a new outlet opened up.
Our mind-blowing food and the desire to spread it all across India seemed really small in front of these hurdles.
So, after a lot of self-interrogation, we decided to scale back and focus on the things we had already built rather than expanding mindlessly. A couple of outlets even shut down, including the one in Hyderabad.
At the same time, we started Dohful, a craft cookie brand that would make handcrafted cookies and deliver them all across India.
But Sandwedges was not forgotten, no Sir.
We didn't expand geographically, but we continued to expand our Ghaziabad outlet as much as we could. Today we occupy 1000+ sq. ft. space and cater to 500+ customers on any given day.
And today, when we visit the store, we get a heartwarming feeling of having built something that has gradually become a phenomenon in itself in the city of Ghaziabad. In a city where the food scene was almost non-existing, we were able to create a place where youngsters could go and grab a bite along with their friends on a daily basis.
I once read in a book about Starbucks that they were building neighborhood coffee places in all of America.
We both were deeply inspired by that and that's why we also built our place in such a way that people would feel comfortable about visiting us on a daily basis!
So...that's our story, how we got into the food business, and what led us to start Dohful subsequently.
This backstory was actually long overdue.
A very few people who have come to know about the connection between Sandwedges and Dohful, have asked us again and again to share our story. Of how we got started with a food venture in the first place.
I hope you enjoyed reading this guys, thank you so much for taking out the time. If you have any questions for us, or if you have any ideas about what we should be sharing in our Sunday Letters, hit that reply button and let us know now!
P.S.: You know that you get a 15% off on buying 2 boxes of cookies right? Use coupon code TreatYourself
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