Bengaluru/Bhubaneswar: It was in 2016 that IT professional-turned-entrepreneur from Odisha, Biraja Rout, established a quick-service restaurant chain called ‘Biggies Burger’ from Bangaluru. And today, his QRS start-up is competing with McDonald’s & Burger King by offering a delightful taste of authentic grilled burgers to its customers.
A resident of Bhubaneswar, who did his BTech from Silicon Institute of Technology (SIT), Biraja moved to Bengaluru in 2011 to work at Infosys. It was here that he tasted burgers for the first time at the age of 21 and fell in love with it. “I was aware of the famous vada pav from Mumbai, but I had never seen a burger all my life. I was aghast to know that despite its existence across the world as well as in some parts of India, it was unavailable in my hometown,” he told The Better India.
During his research on burgers, he found that there was not a single Indian homegrown burger chain and saw an opportunity to scale up a global burger QSR from India.
Biraja started with only Rs 20,000 and a dream of reforming India’s fast food culture. “I started from scratch which includes a basic understanding of burger ingredients, and the art of making it from YouTube and blogs. After diving deep into the burger-making process, I came up with a small kiosk that was 5×5 feet where I started Biggies Burger. I spent my weekends selling burgers at my kiosk near my office which attracted food enthusiasts from all around. The struggle to start Biggies Burger yielded initial results when one of my customers volunteered to take a franchise Biggies Burger. Today we are a franchising-led business,” the food chain’s founder told Livemint.
He told a podcast that his roommate Subrat took a loan of Rs 1.5 lakh to support him. “My financial condition was not good and I used to use credit card to buy lettuce from Namdhamri’s Koramangala as it was not available everywhere. Those hard days have taught us how to run a company in an optimised way,” he said.
By 2016, he had four franchises — two in Bengaluru, and one in Raipur and Bhubaneswar each as two customers and a friend decided to expand the business and invested about Rs 20 lakh. Then they all quit their respective jobs to focus entirely on growing the business. “We increased the range of products, which remain healthy, as our products are grilled or baked, but not fried. Our burgers have lean meat, and we use wheat buns,” he said.
Amid reports about junk food adversely affecting people’s health, Braja introduced baked burgers, which he claims has 30 per cent less calories than others in the market.
The burgers cost between Rs 150 and Rs 200.
Today, his burger chain has 46 outlets across 14 cities, earning him crores. Each outlet now also has about 400 sq feet of space that allows customers to sit and enjoy a comfortable experience. In addition, the company has also entered the cafe segment with ‘BIGG Cafe’, the gourmet burger cafe.
This year, Braja is eyeing a revenue of Rs 100 crore with its primary focus on increasing the store count and venturing into new regions.