DEAR DIET : GREAT SALADS DELIVERED TO YOUR DOORSTEP
Being Nepalese, we opt for our staple diet: daal-bhat. For the most part, it’s good; it sits firm in our bellies and gives us the energy we need for the day. However, it’s calorie packed and to maintain a healthy body, excess calories are a big no-no. We often eat-work-sleep-repeat and this routine does not burn enough calories, resulting in weight gain.
This is where salads come in. Salads provide just the right amount of calories we need. It is perfect for the intake and burn ration, enabling us to fit in the same pair of skinny jeans for years to come.
Salads are more than the humble arrangement of cucumber, carrot and radish slices on a lettuce leaf we get when we order a plate of momo. For most of us, the scope ends at wedding buffet Russian salads and fruit salads. Salads are so much more and needless to say; healthy. Hence, two certain individuals thought that it was time that this underrated dish needed to be upgraded from the abyss of side servings and into the realm of healthy eating.
TNM: TELL US HOW YOU STARTED?
KIRAN: Every now and then I crave for fruit salads. So I pulled over a street vender one day and noticed that the water he was using was murky. Then it hit me; I may be putting something healthy in me, but it’s not exactly hygienic. I also used to be overweight and the gym I go to would suggest me to diet and eat healthy. So when I got home,
I would prepare boiled chicken breasts, which honestly was very tedious and time consuming. I really needed something that would be quick, healthy, as per my diet and fitness requirement and just something delicious. So, I teamed up with my long time friend Sugaurab, who has 10 years of experience and certification from Australia in salad making and what I wanted to do was to deliver quality and establish a culture of healthy eating.
TNM: FITNESS HAS EVOLVED DRASTICALLY FROM WHAT IT WAS PREVIOUSLY IN A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME. WHAT ARE THE OBSTACLES THAT HAS COME UP AND HOW ARE YOU TACKLING THEM?
KIRAN: Our main goal is hygiene and I’d say it is a challenge to keep that up. I mean, we need to keep everything fresh. It’d be so much easier to buy chicken breasts, fruits and veggies in large quantities
but things like these go bad pretty quickly. So, we can’t do that. We have to renew our stock every 2 to 3 days and due to the fluctuating availability of the ingredients, it’s quite difficult. Similarly, items like parsley have prices that go up and down. One day it’s Rs 50, the other it’s Rs. 200. Then there’s delivery. Most of our delivery time is 11 to 2 and that is rush hour time. So traffic is a real difficulty. In addition to that, human resource is another issue because we need skilled people on the job. And the most upsetting thing is that all these are connected. Only a few days ago, one of our delivery men got into an accident due to traffic. And when such a thing happened, everything is held up. He did make the delivery but he was there late and the freshness of the salad was compromised.
TNM: SO HOW ARE THE CUSTOMERS TAKING THIS NEW CONCEPT?
KIRAN: See, our market is very niche and what we want to do is break the trend of “momo chow mein” for lunch. Most of our customers are already into fitness and salads and they are very happy with us. However the new one are going on and off.
They order regularly of a week or so, then break and then order again and go off again. So, establishing and maintaining a trend is another tall hurdle.
SUGAURAB: Plus, people think that salads are for those who are overweight and that’s why they refrain from it. But, what we want to deliver is food that tastes good and is entirely healthy. Also people wonder if a salad is filling or not and whether they’ll get their money’s worth or not. So we need to explain this to our customers to overcome the issue.
TNM: HOW ARE YOU PLANNING TO EXPAND?
KIRAN: Like we said, we want to break the trend of “momo chow mein” lunch. We want to bring a twist to these staple dishes. We intend to come up with different wrappings, like cabbage instead of flour and use fat-free meat. We also want to bring in sandwiches and other low calories items. And obviously, more salads. Maybe even some outlets.
TNM: AND WHAT ARE THE REVIEWS REGARDING YOUR PRICES?
SUGAURAB: Cheap! We’re a new business and we want to keep the prices low. And this actually has generated a lot of confusion. We charge Rs. 200 for everything on the menu and the most questions we get is why the non-veg and veg salads are the same price. There’s an omnipresent concept that veg items are always cheaper than non-veg, but that’s not the case with us. In our veg salads we use cheeses like feta and parmesan and that’s pricy.
KIRAN: Whenever I go out to eat, I like to order salads and I like to compare my product and theirs. These salads are mostly Rs. 300 plus. We charge Rs. 200 for ours and Rs. 50 for delivery, which is free if
3 or more are ordered, and judging by where we stand in comparison to others, I think we’re on the right path.
TNM: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THAT ONE THING THAT MAKES YOUR PRODUCT UNIQUE AND ATTRACTIVE.
KIRAN: Regarding our unique selling point, I’d say it’s our quantity because other restaurant’s salads are hardly 30 to 40 grams. In our case we weigh all of our salads and they’re at least 120 to 130 grams. Moreover, we use just the chicken breasts. Other parts contain fat and the breast is pure fatless protein.
Besides that, our quality is unmatched and no complaints have come in yet.
TNM: AND WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY?
SUGAURAB: It’s been 2 months since we’ve started this and the business is picking up. We’re being called to clubs and events and people are heavily requesting for outlets. So that’s one way to go about it.
KIRAN: Most of our marketing is done through Facebook because it has kept our costs considerably low. Besides that, our name is getting passed around by mouth-to-mouth. If you look at our Facebook page, most of our reviews are by customers and that is how we are growing at the moment. Our penetration is slow but we are happy with it. Our first customer was Sushant Pradhan and people like them are helping us get out there. Right now, we are doing tasting events in which we tell the audience about our products and let them sample some.
We are also co-sponsors for the new campaign conducted by Diet Nepal with Sushant Pradhan named “New Me”. It is basically a transformation program where Diet Nepal provides supplements, Sushant Pradhan gives fitness training as well as diet charts and we provide 1 meal a day to all the contestants everyday for 12 weeks. It’s a campaign to show people than proper diet and exercise can transform people.
TNM: SO, WHY THE NAME?
KIRAN: Well, diet is something that’s really personal to us and to address it likewise, we settled on the name “Dear Diet”