Branding & More / Food & Travel

Marketing & promotions lessons for Indian home chefs (Part 3 ft. Gautam Krishnankutty)

Read Part 1 of my marketing & promotions lessons for Indian home chefs series to understand how a family-run small food business uses a recognisable menu pattern to remain top-of-mind. Then, read Part 2 of the series to learn how an enterprising couple uses food combos to offer a fulfilling at-home Pakhtoon dining experience.

Like many OG Bangaloreans, I’d been eating Chef Gautam Krishnankutty’s food long before I had my first conversation with him. If you’ve ever tucked into one of those world-famous Moo burgers at Cafe Thulp!, slurped on some Asian delicacies from Asia in a Box, or (more recently), made your way through a charcuterie board from The Smoke Co., then you’ve sort of ‘met’ him too. While all of these ventures have found their way into the city’s list of restaurants that we miss, Gautam continues to deliver his magic in a different way by selling small-batch condiments & special dishes.

When the city began to shut down in mid-March 2020 because of COVID19, many of us were forced to look at our kitchens in a new light. Some, like me, decided that learning how to cook the basics was better than surviving on Maggi. Others who generally cooked for their families on a daily basis discovered that there was an audience of friends who would be willing to pay for a weekly indulgence: a ‘safe’ home-cooked meal by someone within their inner circle. Then, there were small food businesses who adapted their existing catering & experiential dine-in offerings for the new normal. Gautam is great example of a different set of people that combine some elements of these last two groups with their professional expertise as chefs. Except this time, their playing field is not a large professional kitchen with a team of staff but their own home kitchens.

How Gautam uses Instagram Stories to sell small-batch condiments & special dishes

A lot of times, individuals and businesses get caught up in form over content – especially on social media. I think the misconception is that elaborately designed templates and/or food photography in beautiful lighting are mandatory for making a sale. While each of these things has its own rightful role to play in product promotion, Indian home chefs & small food businesses should really step back and think about what works for them and their brand. The whole idea of buying from a home chef or small food business hinges on having a slightly more deeper connection with the maker of the food – is the passion for what they’re making contagious? Are they putting out food that they are proud of? Sometimes, unedited videos of parts of the cooking process or simple images of the final product in everyday-use bowls and plates can be very convincing sales tools. More than anything, what catches someone’s attention is the personality of the creator and the ability for this to shine through whatever they do, whether its their food or the content they put up online.

What I find most interesting is the very organic way in which Gautam uses Instagram to put his items up for sale. More often than not, its literally a close-up image of the final product with a non-flowery description and price (all in one of Instagram’s own built-in font options).

He sells out, almost immediately.

Of course, this is testament to his reputation for consistently putting out food that exceeds expectations. But I think what is equally important is that his choice of dishes and his ‘style’ of communication aligns very closely with Gautam’s own personality. You’ll probably see this word bandied about very often, but the description I would use here for this type of content is authentic. Even if you don’t know the creator personally, you end up learning something about them just by looking at a few posts. If this piques your attention, it will make you want to engage more.

My recommendations for what to order from Gautam Krishnankutty

Gautam is best known for his red meat specials & bottled small batch condiments like pickles, chilli oil and pastes. He’s constantly experimenting with flavours and ingredients most often used in Thai, other Asian and North East cuisines so expect some bold flavours and unique combinations that aren’t found on too many restaurant menus. If you can, get your hands on his smoked pork pickle – it can brighten up the most dreary meal of chapathi and palya/sabji/bhaji. More recently, I ordered a portion of his Thai smoked pork curry with pineapple and it was incredible. He’s also been experimenting with beer, so look out for those dishes as well!

You can reach out to Gautam in Bangalore by following him on Instagram (@gonzogarbanzo). To place an order, watch his stories like a hawk and DM him the minute your heart begins to race when you see something delicious up for sale. You can get your food picked up and delivered by Dunzo or Swiggy Genie.

Disclaimer: I know Gautam personally & have previously had a professional association with him for a project. I have paid for all orders except the Smoked Pork Pickle which he generously sent me.

Featured image: Gautam’s Instagram account
Post images: Mine

About Author

Bangalorean. Foodie. Bookworm. Animal lover.

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