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Monday, April 15, 2024

Meet Debashish Majumder who built Rs 18 crore fast-food biz from Rs 3.5 lac

Debashish Majumder launched Momomia’s first store in Guwahati in 2018 with a Rs 3.5 lakh investment. The fast-food business now clocks a turnover of Rs. 18 crore.

When Debashish Majumder was a child, his grandpa advised him, “Do something to establish a reputation for yourself.” As the only child of his parents, with his father working as the family’s main earner at a garment store, these sentences made an indelible imprint on his young mind.

Debashish dared to dream big and chose to become an entrepreneur at the age of 30, despite having lost almost Rs 8 lakh in an ice-cream store he had launched as a side company while working at Axis Bank.

Despite the loss, he resigned his job and opened Momomia, a momos business, in 2018 from a 110-square-foot shop on Guwahati’s GS Road, with three staff. Though the first three years were difficult and commerce was slow, he aggressively expanded up in the post-pandemic period, opening 55 outlets in only 12 months – between February 2021 and February 2022 – to record a turnover of Rs 18 crore during FY 2021-22.

Debashish finished his secondary school in Kolkata before moving to Guwahati, where he attended Pandu College and earned a bachelor’s degree in business in 2008.

“Coming from a Bengali household, one is expected to become a banker, doctor, or engineer and settle down with a solid wage,” Debashish explains.

“In 2014, I secured an off-roll position as a Business Development Officer with Axis Bank.” Due to his great performance, Debashish was rehired as an on-roll employee after a year.

He was promoted, and by the time he married Ritashree Chakraborty in 2017, he had ascended to the position of cluster sales manager, with a monthly income of roughly Rs 1 lakh. However, while still working at Axis, he established an ice cream store in 2016-17, which failed miserably and cost him over Rs 8 lakh.

After resigning his position at Axis, he was ready to try his hand at entrepreneurship again, this time with momos. He developed the idea after visiting a momo store in Guwahati and finding the momos to be of poor quality. “His wife and mother encouraged him to establish the business, but his father was apprehensive.

Nonetheless, roughly a year after closing his ice cream business, he opened the first Momomia restaurant with Rs 3.5 lakh financed at 10% APR from a private lender. Initially, he had three employees, but in the absence of one, he had to clear dishes and wash the tables.

When he approached potential investors, he was informed that his business was too tiny, and some even challenged him to sell at least 2-3 franchises in a year in order to attract prospective investors. The first year was difficult, but by 2019, he was able to generate monthly sales of about Rs 1.5 lakh.

When the Khelo India School Games were held in Guwahati that year, the business saw a surge in traffic. Then the delay occurred, initially as a result of the regional turmoil over the NRC (National Register of Citizens) problem, and then as a result of the Covid lockdown.

“Our first day sales were Rs 610 when we reopened the business in May 2020,” adds Debashish, who went through a lot of mental and financial turmoil during this time.

As a result of daily loan repayments and decreased personnel compensation, the team was able to slash expenditures and pull through. His wife supported him, despite the fact that her family members pointed out that she had been married to a banker who had suddenly resigned his work and founded a momo business.

“I can safely declare that I couldn’t afford to lose in business because I didn’t want my wife to lose in front of her family.” This incident motivated Debashish to find the fortitude to make a consistent post-Covid return.

“My never-say-die mentality, my family’s unwavering support, and good fortune paid off when our first franchise store opened in Haridwar on Valentine’s Day, 14 February 2021,” says Debashish. “We haven’t looked back since, growing from one to 55 stores in a year, between February 2021 and February 2022.”

Only six of the 55 locations are owned by the corporation. To mention a few, the firm now has outlets in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, UP, Gujarat, and MP.

Bhopal, Kanpur, Guwahati, Itanagar, Ranchi, and Balasore are among the cities with outlets. His brand’s cheapest Momo is Veg Steam Momo, which costs Rs 50 a plate with five pieces, while the most costly is Sizzler Momo, which costs Rs 170.

Momomia’s owner, Taipo Foods Pvt Ltd, is franchising 5-6 outlets every month.


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