'The history of popcorn dates back to 4700 BC', says Chirag Gupta, who along with his partner, Ankur Gupta ventured India’s first gourmet Popcorn kiosk at DLF Saket in March 2013. Talking to Restaurant India, he throws light on what was the need to venture into popcorn segment when international cuisine is evolving in every nook and corner of the country.
What has made you venture into the popcorn segment when the international cuisine is emerging today in all parts?
Despite the growing emergence of international cuisines, popcorn is very popular product which has not been invented to its potential in India yet and it still remains the most favourable product for all ages. Also, a key snacking food element was missing when you go to a mall or go out for shopping. Considering these two key elements as our basis, we studied the evolution of popcorn around the world and have tried to bring the same to India in an Indian-ised version. We launched 4700 BC Popcorn in prominent malls by introducing it with fresh range of flavors.
How has been the response so far after opening your first outlet at DLF Saket in March 2013?
The response has been very encouraging with thousands of positive reviews, feedbacks and emails. We have been receiving requests from customers to come to their cities or nearby locations. We are planning to open more outlets in Delhi-NCR in the next few months while doing our groundwork for other metropolitan cities.
What is the profit margin?
Profit margin is similar to any other food business. However, the area where Gourmet Popcorn can overcome other food businesses is its reach and acceptability. It is not just limited to malls and high streets but is going to be a good element in the gifting industry.
What was the reason behind naming it ‘4700 BC’?
The oldest evidence of humans popping corns is dated back to 4700 BC. Based on the evidence found in the caves of Peru by researchers hence we could not get a better name rather calling it ‘4700 BC’. At all our outlets, we have shown through pictures the evolution of popcorns which would continue through other sources as well.
What is your plan of expansion? Are you planning to go pan India?
We have already made in-roads into Punjab and would be moving out to other metropolitan cities very soon.
How do you prepare the different flavours of popcorn?
Flavours are something which is not conceptualised in kitchen by chef or experts but by reading the consumer habits and their demands. We have extensively studied Indian consumers eating habits and realised that Indian consumer are accepting international concepts and becoming more and more aware of different food and taste, yet have the strong Indian taste buds. Hence, we introduced a mix of Indian as well as international flavours under one roof. Example, we complimented Cheese Gourmet Popcorn with seasonings to ensure a rich and acceptable product. Similarly, everyone love chocolates these days, and hence, we introduced chocolate popcorns flavouring them with the richness of peanut butter, nuts, French biscuits, cookies and much more.
Do you have skilled chefs to prepare these varieties? What are the criteria for selecting a chef for your kiosk?
Yes, we need a skilled chef. Because we continuously believe in innovation and only a skilled person can do the same. Well, criteria for a chef would be simple, innovative and think out of box.
You are presently available in kiosk model. What are the other formats you are looking to venture into?
I would keep it as a surprise element until we open.