From not figuring out the place their subsequent meal would come from to incomes lakhs in the present day whereas supporting 10 different households with a gradual month-to-month earnings; the story of brother-sister duo Debjyoti Saha (28) and Jyotirmoyee Saha (22) is really inspirational.
The Higher India caught up with this dynamic workforce from Khardaha in West Bengal to grasp how they managed to show their lives round.
An engineer by qualification, Debjyoti had a gradual job pre-COVID and was managing the family bills and educating his sister together with his salaried job. Nonetheless, the lack of his job throughout the lockdown modified all the pieces.
“With the lack of my job got here the burden of paying off our EMI and discovering a approach of working the home and paying the charges for my sister’s school training,” he says.
The months previous March 2020 have been crammed with anxiousness and helplessness for the Sahas. However respite got here within the type of inspiration from considered one of Kolkata’s most beloved avenue meals – the puchka (pani puri).
The duo began their dine-in restaurant referred to as Phuchkawalla aka ‘Fuchkawala‘ on 18 October 2020.
“We have been right down to our final little bit of financial savings once we selected opening this restaurant. All we had was roughly Rs 15,000,” says Jyotimoyee.
So, all the pieces within the restaurant was completed by the duo; from cleansing the house to portray the partitions, and getting it furnished and working. “It was a workforce effort. We even made the nameplate that hangs exterior,” she provides.
‘Nothing extra to lose’
When beginning the restaurant, the duo felt that there was nothing extra they might lose. “We had nothing to name our personal and knew that someway we needed to make it work to outlive,” says Debjyoti, including, “We knew that issues couldn’t deteriorate additional for us and that’s the reason we determined to make the leap.”
He continues, “I needed to be sure that Jyotirmoyee continues her training and finishes her course.”
A store house that their father, Sridam had bought virtually a decade earlier was what helped them. Debjyoti says, “The store just isn’t on the principle highway and had remained locked for over 10 years.”
However whereas the brother-sister workforce was certain of their thought, it wasn’t so effectively acquired by their father. He questioned why each his youngsters, who have been effectively educated, would select to promote phuchkas to make a dwelling. “It was not one thing that he appreciated at first,” says Jyotirmoyee with amusing.
One wouldn’t come to a restaurant to eat phuchka. Debjyoti says, “This appeared like a distinct segment market. One by which there was no competitors within the restaurant house. It appeared like an thought that would work if executed effectively.”
The duo say their USP was working a “distinctive restaurant”. They didn’t need to supply what was available out there. “Provided that each of us are foodies we thought lengthy and arduous about what we may serve. In actual fact, we each considered phuchka virtually concurrently. Nonetheless, to ensure it was served with a twist, we checked out altering the stuffing to fascinating issues,” provides Jyotirmoyee.
At Phuchkawala one can savour chicken-filled phuchkas, corn cheese puchkas and one thing referred to as ‘Bangladeshi phuchkas’, which include an egg filling. A plate of six phuchkas value Rs 120.
They began by serving seven completely different stuffed phuchkas and in the present day serve over 25 forms of stuffing.
“To cater to all palettes we’ve spicy, tangy and candy fillings out there. From hen and corn to chocolate and ice cream, we’ve all of it,” Jyotirmoyee says.
It’s the distinctive twists to puchkas that retains clients coming again for extra. Kunal Chakroborty, one of many clients who frequents the restaurant, says, “Not solely have I loved all of the fillings that this outlet affords however I’m additionally ready for the brand new ones to be launched.”
Engaged on a childhood dream
Jyotirmoyee at all times needed to grow to be an engineer. Talking about supporting his little sister, Debjyoti says, “I needed to finish my BTech however my household’s monetary situation didn’t enable me to try this. As a substitute in 2015, I accomplished my printing engineer. Not having the ability to realise my very own dream made it that rather more necessary for me to help Jyotirmoyee’s dream.”
He provides, “It was a do-or-die state of affairs for us.”
Jyotirmayee’s school charge amounted to Rs 3.5 lakh and she or he says that it’s only due to the gross sales on the restaurant that she was capable of proceed her research. With yet one more yr to go, Jyotirmoyee is hopeful of finishing the course with flying colors. “All due to Phuchkawala for giving me the prospect to finish my diploma,” she provides.
“After we began operations in October 2020, it was Durga pujo in Kolkata and our gross sales have been exceptional. That not solely boosted our confidence however gave us the much-needed monetary increase,” she provides.
Nonetheless, when the second lockdown was imposed, it introduced with it loads of loss. “We weren’t capable of function the restaurant and that was arduous on us. But once more, it was our clients who insisted that we begin delivering the meals. Thus, we started our dwelling supply service. Initially, we have been doing the deliveries ourselves after which we tied up with on-line meals aggregators to assist us,” says Debjyoti.
With the sort of response that the restaurant has been getting, the duo has opened their second outlet as effectively in Kankurgachi Pantaloons meals courtroom in Kolkata metropolis. “There are good days and dangerous days however on common, we make near Rs 1.5 lakh a month. We now have 10 full-time, salaried workers too,” provides Debjyoti.
Inside just below two years, the restaurant has garnered loads of love.
Just lately, Jyotirmoyee was additionally awarded the youngest ladies entrepreneur of the yr award by AEMPL and GEM Enterprises in Dubai.
In the present day, Puchkawala is a household enterprise for the Sahas. Whereas Debjyoti and Jyotirmoyee have been concerned since its inception, their father handles the accounts, their mom, Sushila is in-charge of the menu curation, whereas Debjyoti’s spouse, Poulami, is the social media strategist.
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(Edited by Yoshita Rao)