A student knows what a night is worth. The ideas of both fun and hard work involve claiming a fair share of nights in the lives of most students. That’s what Abhas Kataria and Akshay Jain of IPS Academy, both the first semester students of this prestigious Indore institute, realised early in their days in this industrial hub of Madhya Pradesh. Most of their nights around the examination time were spent studying in groups. However, they often felt that most of them had to curtail the studies because they would start feeling hungry after midnight.
Though the city is known for its delicious snacks and a great appetite for all kinds of food, most eateries shut shop by 11 pm, leaving the student community to fend for itself. This gap in the food business and a desire to reach out to the student community appeared as a viable business opportunity to Kataria and Jain. They formed a team with their friends Anurag Chhajjed and Rahul Singh Vaghela and started a new venture Mid Night Food.
With a youthful play on words, they created a punchline ‘Now no one sleeps hungry’ and set up the first outlet in the Bhawarkuna area of the city on 6 February 2013. The choice of the area was rather careful. This area caters to the residential needs of the large student community of Indore that comprises people from all over Madhya Pradesh and uses its 40-odd business schools and a much larger engineering institutes.
Mid Night Food only delivers food home and operates only from 10 pm to 3 am. The timing serves dual purpose. On the one hand, it becomes a USP of the brand, which helps the student community connect with it and, on the other, it lets the entrepreneurs carry on with their education. Three of the four founders of this eatery are still students, who work in shifts in a team of two with the help of one chef and one delivery boy. Of course, the founders take turn to deliver too.
Though their enterprise is rather recent, they have done enough ground work to see the trends in the business and augment their capacity to face the challenges of the business. They noticed during their pilot study that the best demand for their food articles comes during 11 pm and 1 am. So, all six members of the team are present at the outlet during this period. Keeping the economic profile of their customers in mind, they offer items starting from Rs 15 and a maximum of Rs 75.
Looking ahead, they hope to recover investment in this self-funded venture in the next two to three months. After which their next target is to cover the whole of Indore and expand beyond the student community in the next six months. The team hopes that once this target is achieved, they will be all set to take their brand out of Indore.