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Odisha Engineers Run Biryani Thela Besides Full-Time Job; Earns Rs. 8000 Per Day

Ayushi Raina
Ayushi Raina
Odisha Engineers with their Biryani Thela Poster in Hand

Every evening, a food cart is parked on the roadway near the town collector's office in Malkangiri, Odisha. This cart has been in operation since March 2021, serving a limited menu of delicious biryani and chicken tikkas, which is enough to spread the aroma of spices across the street.

Surprisingly, the individuals behind this now-famous cart are not chefs. They are two corporate employees who want to make a change in their town's eating culture through a small business named Engineer's Thela.

Do you want to know what sparked this unusual business concept?

Offering solutions to a problem

Sumit Samal and Priyam Bebarta, both engineers, have been friends since childhood. While the COVID-19 virus kept them working virtually from home, the duo would hit the streets in the evening for a fix of biryani from local street vendors.

However, Priyam reveals that following closer inspection, the condition of these stalls appeared to be quite doubtful.

“Everyone enjoys street food, and for many individuals who cannot afford better, such cart vendors are their only source of nourishment. We were eating at a cart that was positioned near to a sewer drain. The quality of the meat in the dish seemed to be questionable based on appearance, and we were left questioning the quality of this meal that was feeding so many people every day,” Priyam told.

This sparked the duo's desire to launch a similar business selling handmade food. The owner's vision was to create clean food with equally wonderful flavours and make it accessible to people from all walks of life.

Setting up the street cart

Priyam explains that, despite neither of them are chefs. He learned how to prepare biryani at home while cooking with his mother.

“To take this a step further, we both spent many hours researching various recipes, how ingredients complement one another, and how menus are created. Eventually, we came up with a short menu with fixed recipes,” he explains.

The next stage was to find someone to carry out the recipes and a location for them to be carried out in.

He reveals that the pair pooled their earnings to make an initial investment of Rs.50000/- in order to get the business up and running. Two cooks were employed, and a room was rented to manage the day-to-day operations.

Sumit, the co-founder said "the goal was to provide foods that are similar to home-cooked meals. To assure quality, we carefully monitor all cooking processes. Even purchasing raw materials from the market is done by the two of us.”

Every evening after work since then, they have set up the food cart in its usual location to sell the meals. One single plate of chicken biryani goes out for Rs.120, while half a plate costs Rs.70.
Engineer's Thela, which is popular among regular customers, is now selling over 100 plates of biryani each day, in addition to side orders of their sizzling chicken tikka.

“Our daily cost is about Rs.1000/-, but our production is worth up to Rs.8000/-. After subtracting operational expenses, we end up with a monthly profit of about Rs.45000/-,” Priyam shares.

Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, the model is now running on a delivery system, but the popular cart with its eye-catching yellow hoarding is set to return to the streets shortly. 

To get a taste of their delicious biryani, contact Priyam Bebarta at 7978147252. 

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