While the COVID19 pandemic in India continues to wreak havoc on the lives of those of us who live here & the economy, I find that it has lead to some pretty amazing turn of events in one particular area – the rise of Indian home chefs & small businesses in the local food space. And like many adventurous Bangaloreans whose ‘appetite’ for culinary experiences didn’t die down due to the fear-mongering around eating food cooked outside my own kitchen, I made it a point to try out some of these offerings.
Now, a word of caution before I proceed: I do not consider myself a food writer or food blogger simply because I do not come equipped with the skills, experience and understanding of techniques and flavours required to be one. I am fully aware of my blind spots, and I hope to work on them. However, I do feel there is some merit in talking about my own experiences as a customer that centres not only on the food itself but also the many interesting ways some of these individuals & businesses are choosing to brand, market & promote themselves. There are quite a few lessons out there for aspiring home chefs and food businesses who want to carve a niche for themselves in the minds of customers. While some of the names mentioned in this series have been cooking up a storm even before the pandemic, they’ve had to adapt quickly to the (I hate this phrase) ‘new normal’ and rely on some interesting ways to attract, engage and retain customers. I’ll be taking a look at some of them across some posts on this blog: here’s part 1 ft. a family-run small food business.
How Big J’s – Catering & Grill uses a menu pattern to encourage customer stickiness
I have known Dan for quite a few years now, and have on previous occasions eaten some of what he and his team have made under the Big J’s – Catering & Grill brand at various festivals and events in Bangalore. Over the past few months, Big J’s – Catering & Grill has been putting out a weekend menu with each of the three days featuring some of their most popular items on a regular basis. They’ve consistently followed a pattern with their popular dishes: burgers on Saturdays and biryanis on Sundays. Of course, they frequently add new additions to the menu aside from these two categories (with an interesting rotating menu for Fridays that features asian delicacies, Anglo-Indian dishes and/or coastal fare), but by deliberately sticking with this schedule, they’ve created a sort of stickiness in the minds of their regulars. So much so that if someone asks me where to order a good biryani or a great burger from over the weekend, Big J’s – Catering & Grill is the first place that comes to my mind.
The other interesting method of increasing retention Big J’s – Catering & Grill uses is to send order confirmations over WhatsApp, and in doing so, leverages the opportunity to let customers know that they can sign up to receive their weekly menus. This nifty little opt-in is both respectful of the customer, and also ensures that the brand remains top-of-mind on a regular basis since you get the menu for the week sent to you every couple of days.
My recommendations for what to order from Big J’s – Catering & Grill
This was one of the first places I ordered from right after the first lockdown ended in early May. I surprised my family by showing up at their doorstep after weeks of not being able to see them in person (this included not being able to celebrate my 30th birthday with them!). So we reunited over some excellent mutton biryani and chicken kebabs that I pre-orded the day before from Big J’s – Catering & Grill. I highly recommend these two dishes – they’ve been consistently good each time I order this combination. Subsequently, I have also tried their All-American hamburger & pulled pork burger which are both incredibly satisfying.
You can reach out to Big J’s – Catering & Grill in Bangalore by calling/texting/WhatsApping +91 9972192511 to place your orders or DMing them on Instagram/Facebook. You can get your food picked up and delivered by Swiggy/Dunzo.
Disclaimer: while I may know some of the people & brands featured here personally, I have paid for every order.
Read Part 2 of my marketing & promotions lessons for Indian home chefs series to learn how an enterprising couple uses food combos to offer a fulfilling at-home Pakhtoon dining experience. Then, read Part 3 of the series to learn how a professional chef uses Instagram Stories to sell small-batch condiments & special dishes made in his home kitchen.
Featured image: mine
Post images credit: Big J’s – Catering & Grill Instagram page