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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Meet Ankush Arora who built Rs 14 cr American fast food brand from Rs 2 lac

Ankush Arora started the first outlet of Uncle Jack’s in 2016 with an initial investment of Rs. 2 lakh. He now runs an American fast food  business that clocks a turnover of Rs 14 crore.

Ankush Arora, an electrical engineering graduate, took over a small street food shop named Burger Café in Chandigarh in 2015 and operated it for a few months before opening the first Uncle Jack’s location.

Uncle Jack’s has evolved into a prominent food franchise with 14 locations throughout Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi, and has become a preferred spot for young people to taste American street cuisine such as burgers, hot dogs, sliders, and sausages.

Ankush like American cuisine and has learned how to prepare it. I spent a lot of time at Burger Café researching different meals like Sliders, Loaded Fries, and Freak Shakes “Ankush, the Chandigarh-based creator of Uncle Jack’s, a Rs 14 crore revenue eatery franchise, agrees.

“Burger Cafe provided me a lot of opportunities to learn the trade firsthand.”

The great reception at these locations gave me the courage to open my first Uncle Jack’s store in June 2016.”

Ankush invested Rs 15 lakh in his first business, a 200-square-foot space at High Street Café, a prominent food court in Chandigarh. He was only 26 years old at the time.

 He began with five staff and earned Rs 3 crore in revenue in his first year. The next year, he launched his second location in Mohali.

“In the years after Chandigarh and Mohali, we added stores in Patiala, Ludhiana, Panchkula, Jalandhar, and Delhi,” Ankush explains.

In 2017, the turnover was Rs 7 crore, followed by Rs 12 crore in 2019 and Rs 14 crore in 2022.

All of the locations are owned by the corporation, and the brand does not provide franchises.

Ankush comes from a typical middle-class business family in Chandigarh and attended the city’s St Anne’s Convent School.

“Even though my family was in business, I didn’t detect the daring, risk-taking entrepreneurial spirit in them when I was growing up.”

My grandfather and great-grandfather took all of the risks. “The company was carried on by my father’s generation.”

Though they were not the company’s founders, they upheld the family’s history of excellent business ethics throughout.

Ankush was a typical’street-smart’ student at school, earning between 60 to 80%.

In 2013, he graduated from Chitkara Engineering College in Chandigarh with a degree in electrical engineering and afterwards attended Harvard Summer School in Boston for a certificate course in marketing and business management.

During his time in the United States, he became acquainted with American street cuisine and acquired a taste for it.

“I used to go to New York on weekends when I was studying in Boston.” “The street and the culinary culture there really influenced me,” Ankush adds, emphasizing his love of food and its presentation.

“I once served French fries in a glass jar at a friends’ party in New York, and it was an instant success.”

After college, he founded Glimpse, a lifestyle magazine, and Medusa IMC, a public relations firm that he ran for roughly two years.

Some of his acquaintances worked in the food industry and owned restaurants.

I knew I wanted to work in the food industry since I was a child. “Then, in 2015, he finally had the chance to experiment in it when he took over Burger Café, and in June 2016, he opened the first Uncle Jack’s location.”

They had no understanding how the QSR company was booming in urban India and attracting the youthful working population and dual-income families because they came from an industrial business background.

The family has retired from their conventional brick-making company, and they now share various roles at Uncle Jack’s.

Ankush’s father, Vijay Kumar, is in charge of logistics, while his mother, Amita Arora, is in charge of production.

Sakshi Arora, Ankush’s younger sister, supervises the bakery, while Roshni Arora, Ankush’s wife, manages shop operations. “We didn’t have any prior experience running a business.

We learned everything on the job, from inventory and staff management to store pilferage “Ankush, the father of a 14-month-old daughter called Jiah, goes on to explain his family’s role in the firm.

Ankush is aware of the competition from large corporations such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and others.

He is aware that they have a larger market presence.

Nonetheless, he believes in focusing on preserving product quality and constantly attempting to improve.

His second selling point is his meal presentation.

The foods on the menu have odd names as well, emphasizing the American connection. The Sliders are named after US Presidents, such as Obama 2012 and the Clintons.

Burgers and sandwiches are named after Hollywood films, artists, or bands such as Lord of the Rings, Mick Jagger, or Linkin Park.

Ankush believes that these specific techniques will help his firm flourish as a home-grown brand of international quality American street cuisine that can compete with the larger brands.

Ankush hopes to establish Uncle Jack’s into a pan-Indian brand by 2025. Ankush explains why he chose the name Uncle Jack’s: “We chose ‘Jack’ since it was a common American first name.”

It gained a personal warmth by being prefixed with ‘uncle.’ “Ankush and his colleagues are actively assessing the markets of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.”

They intend to set up a base restaurant in Silvassa to serve cities in the neighboring states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.


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