25-Year-old Sharmila Deodhar always knew that cooking was her true calling. She always believed that ‘love what you do…and do what you love’. And she did exactly this. She turned her passion for cooking into a full-time venture and there has been no looking back for this bundle of energy and vivacity. Soon after completing graduation in Mechanical Engineering, Sharmila enrolled for the Master in Management Studies program at Prin.L.N Welingkar Institute of Management (WeSchool), Mumbai. While the two years were well spent in learning and mastering management skills and being mentored towards entrepreneurship in the InnoWe Lab, another story was quietly emerging.
“We three young school friends, with the passion for food combined with grit and determination were ready to take the first few steps towards starting our own venture. The current start-up ecosystem and rising opportunities in food tech space held our attention and we started my venture breakfastkaro.com,” recalls Sharmila.
While Sharmila is a mechanical engineer, her colleague Vaibhavi happens to be a computer engineer and Neha is a chartered accountant. “Our group has always been passionate about food. All three of us did not want the stereo-typed corporate careers; we wanted to have something of our own. Ever since this idea struck our minds, we have been working on it and right after completing my MBA, we started our first outlet. Past few months of our lives have been the most amazing ones filled with an adrenaline rush, setbacks, achievements, and disappointments, like a roller coaster ride,” says Sharmila.
Being new to this industry, Sharmila and her team had their share of woes. “We had to put in a lot of hard work to find correct vendors, maintain efficient employee base and tweaking our model to a point where our customers would like it,” informs the young entrepreneur.
Starting with a small pilot project at Juhu beach, selling breakfast to the morning walkers, this exuberant team has surely come a long way. “At Juhu beach, we began serving fresh and wholesome items like Oats Idli, Oats Upma, Soya Sliders, Granola Yoghurt and Coolers like Panha, Kokum etc. The result- we ended up building a community of people enjoying the seaside walk and then waiting for our breakfast outside the beach,” quips Sharmila.
“But we couldn’t just stay at that stage. So, the team started planning for the next step and soon our website went live. Today, our food range includes items suitable for health conscious people who prefer oats, wheat etc and also for people who crave carbs and filling food items. Our menu ranges from Maharashtrian specialties like Amba Daal, Panha to south Indian dishes with a twist like oats idli, western hits like Granola parfait and varieties of sliders. Our Granola Store displays our signature specialty – classic dry fruit granola- rich in nutrients and taste, a perfectly healthy meal for a busy, traveling professional. Currently serving breakfast from Andheri to SantaCruz, breakfastkaro.com aims to become a well establish venture in the food tech space. While keeping the customer as the key area for focus and keeping customer experience at the top priority, the trio of founders at breakfastkaro.com are confident to stabilize in near future and get ready for taking it to the next level,” she adds.
A message for women
Sharmila lays emphasis on the fact that women in India have started to focus on becoming independent. “There should be more and more encouragement for girls from schools and colleges as well as from their families to successfully pursue their career goals,” says the ebullient personality.
Source of inspiration
She is a die-hard fan of Indra Nooyi , as she is one of the few non-American-born female professionals running a Fortune 500 company, PepsiCo CEO.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, her work ethics and personal leadership are instrumental in making her the great CEO that she is . She balances her career and family responsibilities with equal panache and Nooyi’s family has played an important role in her legendary work ethics,” concludes Sharmila with a twinkling smile.