Crush your cravings

By

How one young company aims to feed Dhaka

Tarin Fatema

One of the most common complaints I’ve heard at every office I’ve worked at, was when my colleagues and I had to figure out what to eat in the middle of the workday. During a busy week, when commutes and deadlines take up so much time, meal prep is a luxury few can afford. This is where a company like Picnic can be a real lifesaver.

This month, we caught up with Baboye Intikhab Ahmed Nasir, the founding partner at Picnic to get a better idea of just how this company can make a huge difference for hungry young corporates like myself. 

Let’s start with a very basic question. What exactly is Picnic?

We identify picnic as a 360 degrees food solution company.

We have several food brands under the ‘Picnic Umbrella’ (Fat Boy Pies, Dumplings of Fury, Oh My Rolls and a few others). We operate 24 hours and provide delivery (both, ourselves and through delivery partners like Foodpanda, Buy Here now etc.).

We also cater to all sorts of events. From birthdays to boubhaats, we pretty much cover it all. We have a big kitchen and a sizable and capable work force with diverse culinary expertise which allows us to cater most cuisines.

Lastly, we also manage cafeterias. Currently, we manage Standard Chartered Bank’s Head Office, Nestle Bangladesh’s Head Office and 3 sections of BIT (Bangladesh International Tutorial).

What was the initial idea behind Picnic? How did you come up with the plan?

I have been in the food business for almost a decade now and my partner, Saqueeb, has been in food industry for almost 6 years. We are both highly passionate about food and have the same ideology; serving good quality food and never compromising on quality as well as quantity.

A couple of years back, we were discussing how we both want to branch out to multiple food cuisines and scale them slowly and sustainably. And hence, Picnic was born.

We decided to approach investors and we got lucky and blessed. Within a couple of months, we were up and running with just 3 brands and a handful of employees.

How does it work? 

In a nutshell, we have a large and well-equipped central kitchen and a sizeable and capable work force.

Our managers take care of most of the day-to-day work while Saqueeb and I look after the overall operations.

We have our own marketing team that allows us to push sales and get more business at a lower cost.

We have our own delivery team that takes care of all our direct deliveries (but only during the day time).

We believe we are self-sufficient and can do a lot more as we do not always have to rely on external services.

What kind of food do you offer?

Here is a list of food that we offer:

Fat Boy Pies – Pizzas and Pastas

Dumplings of Fury – A large variety of Authentic and Fusion Dumplings

Oh My Rolls – Wraps/Rolls and Chicken Wings

TEAse – Beverage

Holesome – Donuts and Desserts

The Hari – Bangla Cuisine

STACK – Burgers (coming soon)

Momo Mia – Momos (coming soon)

All ‘Bout Chicken – Fried Chicken, Grilled Chicken; Chicken Wings and more (coming soon)

Other than these our catering and cafeteria menu consists of a lot of items:

Snacks and Finger Foods such as sandwiches, Patties, Rolls, Fried Chicken, Tehari, Polao, Roast, Khichuri, Beef Kalabhuna, Chicken Roast, Deshi Chinese, Indian, Thai, Live BBQ etc.

How do you source and store the material? 

We have multiple vendors/suppliers that we deal with on a day to day basis. However, for fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, we get them from Karwan Bazar and Gulshan 1 DCC markets where we have specific vendors who assure us fresh produce at good prices. I believe this is similar/same as other food businesses.

How many people currently work at Picnic? What are their roles?

We have almost 50 members working under Picnic.

This includes:

Kitchen staffs – Chefs, Assistant Chefs, Helpers, Cleaners etc.

Operations – Managers as well as the Partners of Picnic.

Logistics – Delivery Persons.

Marketing Team – Designers, Social Media Manager, Content Creators, Query Management Team, Copywriter etc

What are some challenges of this line of work?

We face many challenges, but two are perhaps the most persistent. The first is market conditions. It is extremely hard to deal with the prices of raw materials as they keep on increasing every few months if not weeks. The USD rates growing uncontrollably is making imported products way too expensive. Over the last 6 months, imported dairy products such as cream cheese and whipped cream are hardly coming into the market, resulting in scarcity and prices increasing exponentially.

Our second biggest problem is funding. It is not easy for startups in the food Industry to get investors. To grow our business, we definitely need investments and funding but it is extremely hard to get investors to invest in food business as opposed to other industries.

What are your future plans for your company?

We are always researching and experimenting with food to create new products and launch new food brands. We are always looking for more people and businesses to cater to. We are always on our toes trying to set meetings with companies that have an existing cafeteria or need to create one in their premises. Basically, to expand on what we are doing right now.

But other than that, we want to eventually switch to a ‘Hybrid Model’.  We want to shift our operations to a much larger spot at a very good and accessible location (such as Banani 11 or Gulshan Avenue).

This will allow us not only to do what we are currently doing, but also have a large dining spot where people can come in and dine-in and experience our food fresh out of the kitchen.

Website | + posts

Tags

Come Back to Me

Bowling Over Barriers

Blossoms of Existence

A Regal Rendezvous