By Priyanka Praveen
Swiggy’s account manager Abdhul Nisham explains the success formula that is driving this small restaurant, E=MC^2, in one of Kerala’s beautiful coastal cities.
The pandemic left many from the food industry in a limbo, with jobs lost and restaurants shut down. So when Junaid Jabbar and Krishnapriya Hariharan, two culinary graduates who were working in Bengaluru restaurants found themselves in the same situation, they moved back home to Kozhikode, Kerala.
What could seem like an ending to many, was simply the next page on their menu. Because it was only once they got home did they start their own restaurant E=MC^2, and their story is simple but as interesting as Einstein’s Big Idea.
With a Swiggy account manager like Abdhul Nisham who took up their account, and two enthusiastic chefs who love food, this equation was bound to have great results.
Here’s how Nisham helped Junaid and Krishnapriya take their small kitchen to greater heights, with not just organic and inorganic levers, but with a lot of love and care too.
Fresh, fried and fabulous
Krishnapriya and Junaid didn’t have much when they started E=MC^2 in August 2020, working out of their “mothers’ kitchens” they had to make sure that they didn’t step on their toes (literally in their case). “Once we returned home, Junaid came up with this idea of making fresh Nashville-style fried chicken burgers but the plan was to only have this running for a week or so. So I decided to bake burger buns for him. It was tricky since we both were working out of our mothers’ kitchens. But it was only once things started taking off that we decided to move into our own kitchen,” explains Krishnapriya.
Junaid, who ran a food blog on Instagram, converted his page to one with the restaurant and slowly started taking orders there. “We started very small, initially only taking pre-orders from our Instagram followers. We would prepare for the day in advance and get ready for what we had to deliver,” she says while adding that initially they would only accept 10-15 orders per day.
Over the next few months, orders began to fall. “Some days we wouldn’t get any orders at all, things were that bad. It was then that we paid a local person to get our food delivered to customers, that wasn’t working out too well and so we went with a local delivery company,” says Krishnapriya.
When things started going downhill with the delivery partner, Junaid and Krishnapriya decided to pause and move on to Swiggy. She says, “We’re a team of two who prep, cook and pack. That is a lot of work for two people, we didn’t have the time or space to spend on accounts or the delivery part of the business. So when we signed up with Swiggy, we got to focus on what we know and love doing best, food.”
The team on-boarded with Swiggy in the first half of 2021, while Nisham took over the account in the later half of the year. “When I took a look at the E=MC^2, I realised that they have a high rating of 4.5-4.6. That is incredibly good for a kitchen. So how could I help a restaurant with such high ratings? That was an interesting challenge,” says Nisham.
The ketchup to their fries
Junaid and Krishnapriya had the food situation under control with their fresh and tasty ingredients, so Nisham set to work on getting the kitchen more business. “I did a few basic checks, suggested new growth plans that included cost-per-click ads and discounts, within a month they started seeing improvements and an increase in business,” Nisham adds.
In addition to that, “Nisham also suggested that we change our menu description, add new food images and add combos and offers. Not only would he suggest new plans, but he would also tell us what we could expect in return and the results were on point,” says Krishnapriya.
Nisham also harnessed their huge Instagram followers to drive more business to their page. “I suggested that they opt for the “Order Food” option on Instagram that directs customers to their page on Swiggy, this started bringing a lot of customers to their kitchen,” Nisham explains.
But what really made a difference to Junaid and Krishnapriya are the things that Nisham did for the team. “He always went above and beyond his call of duty. During one of our orders the delivery partner didn’t pick up one bag of food, we had no means to contact him and this was around 9.30 pm, well beyond Nisham’s work hours. We had no option but to ask for his help. Without hesitating, Nisham made sure a new delivery partner was assigned and the order reached the customer, his spontaneous action helped us tremendously. These small things go a long way in showing us that the partner and Swiggy really care for small businesses like us,” says Krishnapriya.
Junaid adds, “It wasn’t just the organic or inorganic levers that Nisham suggested, the way he cares for our kitchen and us is what sets him apart from any manager at any delivery company we’ve worked with so far.”
Partnering with Swiggy and Nisham has helped the team in more ways than one. “So many things are taken care of. For instance, we know what sales we’re making, we have a better understanding of our customers and obviously the best part is that delivery is taken care of,” says Krishnapriya.
Over the last two years E=MC^2 has expanded their menu to include a lot of things, in addition to that, they also launched another brand, Burg 99, exclusively for Swiggy. To top it all, E=MC^2 won the Swiggy Star reward in November 2021, for customer experience.
So how has the journey been? “We never expected to keep going for so long, it was a temporary kitchen but we’ve come a long way,” says Krishnapriya.
Well, whatever the future holds for the team, one thing is for sure,E=MC^2 has changed the way Kozhikode eats.