Chakkhna by Chef Sarthak
Since his school days in Delhi, Sarthak loved cooking & Baking. He used to prepare Cakes & Gateaux for celebrations at school not only for friends, but teachers as well. lol.. sadly that couldn’t help him earn any better marks. He then decided to pursue his passion with Hotel Management from IHM, Chennai. In the course of choosing his specialization in Bakery & Patisserie, he notched the top spot in every semester & won many awards. Culinary Student of the Year & Gourmet Guru are his best picks.In his Campus placements he lost out on cracking Oberoi Centre of Learning & Development (one of the best Management Trainee programs in India). Nevertheless, he started his career with The Oberoi Group from the very basic level & then went on to work with Carnival Cruise Lines, USA. Currently, he is the Founder & Chef at Chakkhna. It’s a Quick Service Restaurant focusing on serving dishes with preferred alcobevs. His signature dishes like the very spicy Haryanvi Chicken, another dish with both Chicken & Mutton – Chicken Harfanmaula and a heart shaped pan flavoured mousse Gulfam have been a huge hit. If it were to be analysed on all grounds, entrepreneurship has appeared to be the most challenging for him so far as he not only cooks here but also has to look after sales, budgets, product development & most importantly customer feedbacks.
While he was at job, he never got the freedom to innovate & express his customer service. He even had to switch to a Business center as a Customer Delight Executive for a short period. But due to family concerns, he joined back Carnival Cruise Lines for second tenure & eventually landed up with his own venture in the end.
But heres what’s more important to know about the journey of Chakkhna. Unusually he wasn’t the one behind the idea. His brother in law always had a dream of working for his own venture & it was him who initiated Chakkhna over a phone call one night. Although his sister & close friends had been encouraging him to start up a restaurant since long, but he believes that the second contract at the cruise liner holds much importance for the success of Chakkhna. Not only was he able to save some money, but he also informs that at cruise, one has to go through 9 continuous months of work, without any day off & has to stay away from family & friends with minimum wireless connectivity. With such instability, Sarthak was never afraid of failure, because there was nothing to loose. And guess, thats what made it a success in a short time. Quite similar to what Larry Page said once “I think part of the reason we are successful so far is that originally we didn’t really want to start a business”. Its certainly true in his case.
He recalls the time he started Chakkhna with just one employee & today his team has 10 happy employees, who have been working effortlessly to deliver delicious dishes at the doorstep of their customers. Interestingly, the founding team includes his dear friends Sagar, Mohit and his brother Shivam. While Mohit, the “techie” has been looking after the Brand, Concept & Ideation, CA Sagar on the other end has not only taken the responsibility of managing accounts, but he even invested while the company was bootstrapped. Shivam is an architect by profession and has been looking after the potential business development & facility planning for Chakkhna. Unquestionably he has been an inspiration for Sarthak, as he thinks back on how Shivam distributed the pamphlets all by himself and called all of his friends every now & then to try Chakkhna’s dishes. Well, what better can you ask for in a team!!
But wait, that’s not all. The Business Gurus, his two pillars of strength are his sister Shikhu & brother in law Piyush. There have been numerous occasions when they ran out of funds (like any other startup) and there wasn’t any way out to deal with such issues for Sarthak. With their sheer brilliance, both of them have guided him all throughout and possibly they are the reason for Chakkhna’s existence today. He feels honoured & grateful to have a team like this.
Proudly, they are the pioneers of this segment of suggesting customers dishes which go well along with booze. Chakkhna also has an exclusive menu category on Zomato which suggests you the right dish for the kind of alcobev you prefer. Sarthak’s winning characteristic can be noticed even now as in a very short period they have already won the Gold Partner Award from Foodpanda twice in a span of six months, while Zomato has kept them their exclusive partner for 4 continuous quarters.
According to Sarthak, there are no challenges, except the ones which we assume ourselves. Ofcourse, there are problems (well, in startups– too many), but we all tend to enjoy these problems when we are passionately into it. Just keep the head high and deal with the situation. At just 25, he knows he is not old enough to provide a success mantra, but he expects every day to be full of chaos. Any less makes his day happy.
About Funding status : Currently a bootstrapped company, Chakkhna have made their operations robust now, and have recently started to raise funds from Angel Investors to open another outlet & a base kitchen.
Sarthak thanks the Viral Indian Diary for giving him the opportunity to share the story of their baby – “Chakkhna”. According to him, with the help of government’s initiatives like Startup India, our country is now becoming a land of startups.