City360 Food

Fast food in a healthy avatar

It is around 11 on a cloudy day when I reach the rather unassuming building that houses the kitchen of PurpleBasil. Once I step into the small kitchen, I find it buzzing with activity, vessels being heated up, delivery boxes spread out and loaded with goodies and the first batch is all set to go.

PurpleBasil is a Bengaluru-based food startup that specialises in delivering healthy food to patrons in Koramangala, Indiranagar, parts of the Outer Ring Road and M.G. Road. It was bootstrapped by four working professionals and boasts of a growing clientèle in the city, with their vermicelli version of the chicken biryani and a range of tasty and healthy sandwiches and wraps finding favour among the many fitness conscious professionals in town.

Rashmi Ghale, one of the co-founders is busy instructing staffers and adding in the final touches to an order of vegetable sandwich, complete with a ‘secret sauce’ and a tangy drink.

Over a cup of steaming milky tea, she explains, “ We have just moved into this space. Our kitchen was smaller. We get about 50 orders every day and manage well within this workspace. We work with a small team that handles cooking, packaging and delivery. We feel it is helpful to have our own delivery channel, instead of relying on external agencies. Our day starts around nine in the morning when we start cooking, chopping and preparing the kitchen for the day ahead. Since we run through the day, we also get orders in the evening and night and finish by around nine p.m.”

She adds, “We hand-picked our recipes from around the world and added a dash of innovation to make them our own and superbly healthy. We then coupled them with sides and beverages that compliment the flavour of the main dish to make for some perfect three course meals -- from our Vietnamese bahn mi meal, vermicelli biriyani meal or our pulled jackfruit burger -- we finally created healthy food that tastes like fast food.”

Another founder, Dhananjai Raja gives insights into the genesis of the company. “Rashmi and I used to struggle to find something healthy to eat. We discovered there is nothing in the market that is focussed on healthy eating. With a couple of friends, who faced similar issues, we began to approach specialists and culinary experts and designed a series of three-course meal including juice, main course and dessert.

We wanted to provide a wholesome meal that offered all-round nutrition, with exquisite taste and convenience rather than focusing just on calories.”

He adds: “We have repeat customers and ensure that if it is something we would not eat or buy ourselves, we will not sell it. We also keep altering the menu.”

“When we launched PurpleBasil a few months ago, we decided to keep things simple and not set up a massive centralised kitchen with huge machinery, ovens and other equipments. We designed our menu in a manner that it works best in an assembly line production, something like a subway, where a quick meal can be whipped up in no time. Our recipes are well set and we find it easy to work this way. Once you send an order on Whatsapp or mail, we get an immediate notification and our team whips up the meal and delivers it you ASAP. Everything is made fresh and the system ensures that there is no wastage of food either. We aim to be the KFC of healthy eating someday.”

As the orders begin to build up, Dhananjai points out: “Our orders spike in the afternoons and late evenings. We work on Sundays too. Though the volumes are not as big as on weekdays, we discovered that many people ordered in on Sunday, preferring a healthy meal to whipping up food on their own.”

“Saturdays are the only off days in the week. We spend most of the day in meeting suppliers, buying raw material and miscellaneous activities. It is hard work, but we love what we do,” the founders say.


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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 3:59:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/Fast-food-in-a-healthy-avatar/article16800088.ece

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