MD & CEO of Being Chef
We as VictoryTales, with our long & arduous search for bringing more and more meaningful and powerful stories from around the world, this time are introducing our audience to Mr. Shubham Maheshwari, MD & CEO of Being Chef who is making cooking and nutrition convenient for the masses.
Shubham is a Mechanical Engineer from NIT Jaipur. He was awarded as the Best All Rounder of his batch. Before starting his venture Being Chef, he has worked with a US-based consulting firm and helped renowned companies with their sales and marketing strategies.
He also runs a self-help group named People For People, in which his team works for bridging the gap between societal problems and their solutions. For his social contributions, he was awarded the “Youth Change Maker Award” in the year 2010. He is also a motivational speaker and has spoken in various events and colleges like FMS, IMI, IIT, NIT, etc.
Being Chef is a start-up operating in Gurgaon since 2014 in the Food and Beverage space and provides an exhaustive solution to daily food requirements in a healthy and economical manner by flexible mode of subscription and on-demand nutritional meals. Being Chef's - Recipe kit empowers consumers to cook anything in less than five minutes. It provides buyers with all the ingredients (chopped & processed) customized as per one’s taste with a simple 8 step recipe card. Along with this, Being Chef has built other lines of business like delivery of fully prepared meals, customizable meal boxes, customizable party packs which have helped them in absorbing their fixed cost and generating profit.
Our exclusive interview with him:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey, please;
I was born and brought up in Jaipur and have pursued my engineering from NIT Jaipur. Post that I joined a US-based consulting firm at its Indian office in Gurugram. For the first time in 2013, I left Jaipur and was out of my comfort zone. Initially, living an independent life was fun but soon I realized the challenges with it. I was staying with my friends and we hired a cook to manage our daily meals. After too much effort, we found a good cook but were really disappointed with boring and repetitive meals. Finding a good cook is such a big problem, because of huge demand-supply mismatch, that you are afraid of firing him even if you have to face hassles like frequent offs (without prior information), limited knowledge, etc. We also tried cooking ourselves, but it was so much time consuming that we ended up eating from outside most of the time. This was an unhealthy option but there was no alternative.
Also, one thing always bothered me a lot – “ FOOD WASTAGE “. A lot of food gets wasted in the millennial's kitchen (in both raw and prepared format). In a country like India, where more than 15% of the population sleeps hungry every night, this becomes a major concern.
So, we started working on a product which could make cooking easy and fun. We did extensive market research and started working on building the product full-time (left the job in 8 months of joining). In March 2014, Being Chef was formed with a product, known as 5 Min. Recipe Kit.
Being Chef’s Recipe kit empowers buyers to cook anything in less than five minutes. It provides buyers with all the ingredients (chopped & processed) in exact quantity along with a simple 8 step recipe card. By simply following those 8 steps, one can cook any dish in any cuisine with zero wastage of ingredients. The quantity of cooked food will be as per the no. of persons you have ordered for, thus resulting in zero wastage of raw material(s) and/or cooked food. Quality concerns are also taken care of as buyers can physically see the quality of the ingredients being used for cooking the food. Thus all hassles of managing ingredients, kitchen, pre-processing, etc. are taken care of, thereby resulting in saving your time for near and dear ones.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship over the job?
Since childhood, I was inclined towards social causes. In school days the pressure of studies doesn't allow you to do a lot and thus I started exploring it properly from my college days. During college, I got involved in multiple initiatives working for the betterment of society, along with my curriculum. I was also lucky enough to get an opportunity to coordinate INDIA AGAINST CORRUPTION movement in Rajasthan. We organized a big rally with more than 70,000 people attending it. I was supposed to address them and I was really nervous. After my speech, I came out as a more confident person with more risk appetite.
I also did a few internships during college and realized that a monotonous job in a big company can never be my cup of tea. Initially, I joined the job as I didn't have the conviction for any such big problem that needed to be solved. After moving out of Jaipur, I soon realized that food which is one of the 3 basic necessities, needs proper attention. It's one of the most important yet the most ignored things in our life. And thus I jumped into the boat of entrepreneurship to contribute to this sector to the most possible extent.
What gets you out of bed in the morning i.e. what’s your source of motivation?
I have learned one thing from my family that life is short and it should be lived with experiences instead of regrets (I wish I should have done - that kind of regrets). So I get up every day with a single thought to live that day as much as I can. This thought boosts my energy up and helps me in keeping going.
What challenges/obstacles did you face in your journey so far?
Challenges and obstacles are part of every journey, may it be a job or entrepreneurship. I also faced a lot of challenges. I started at the early age of 23. Also, most of the team members were around the same age. Initially, vendors used to take us lightly, but then our work started speaking. Also, I was having zero knowledge of food. Understanding the industry was a little time consuming, but it also helped in innovation in our products, as we used to think with no preconceived notion that " Yeh To Aisa Hi Hote Aaya Hai ".
Any accomplishments that motivated you in this journey?
It has been an exciting journey of 6 years now. I am glad that our team is intact since the beginning and has shown their integrity and commitment to positively impact as many lives as we can. Because of their efforts, we did accomplish a few things like:
Have served 5,00,000+ meals till date.
Received the " Transformation of the Year '' award at Amazon SMBhav 2020 (biggest event of SMBs of India) in presence of Mr. Jeff Bezos and many other distinguished personalities.
Recognized by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Govt. of India.
Served lunch and dinner to 17,000+ people in a single day at 5 locations simultaneously.
Finalist (out of 20,000+ start-ups from India) of Smart50 competition, which was organized by Govt. of India to find those 50 companies which will transform India.
Have 1,00,000 + followers on Facebook even with the operations in just one city.
How do you handle the pressure and manage stress?
Pressure, stress, etc. comes when you overthink. Ups and downs are part of life, business, and everything you do. So instead of overthinking, if we enjoy the journey and the flow, and boost up the morale, looking at the final goal because of which we started, things get managed on their own. Also, I do practice Yoga and Meditation, and it helps me a lot in balancing my energy.
What is that one strategy you believe has helped you grow as a person/start-up?
I believe in accepting the mistakes and try avoiding repetition of the same. As human beings, we always make mistakes. Accepting and analyzing them grows you as an individual.
In your opinion what is the key to success?
I believe that living every day happily is the key to success.
What advice would you give to the budding entrepreneurs?
Firstly, understand how big the problem is. Don't ride the wave of entrepreneurship because it’s cool. Trust me, it is not that rosy, as it seems. So it’s really important to have a very strong conviction for your own idea. Do proper analysis before entering this wave. And once you enter, just stick to it no matter what. Make changes, adapt as per the market trends along with setting some new trends of your own too, evolve, struggle but stick to what you believe in. To win a game you have to be in the game.