More often than not, a successful start-up finds its feet by identifying a gap in the market. For Anubhav Dutta and Siddharth Patel, that gap was for authentic homestyle Indian meals delivered to the doorsteps of its customers situated all around county Dublin – and to some nearby counties as well.
Anubhav founded the company O’Desi Meals to fulfil this want in the summer of 2019. He is also a current student of Trinity Business Schools Executive MBA batch of 2022. An education at Trinity is something he shares with his co-founder, Siddharth Patel, who is a 2018 Trinity Business School alumnus. It was actually from Siddharth that Anubhav learned that Trinity MBA is the only programme in Ireland that offers a hands-on module on Social Enterprises, which was a key reason why he decided to enrol.
O’Desi Meals is Ireland’s very first subscription-based cloud kitchen, aiming to win the hearts of lovers of Indian cuisine who are disappointed with westernised versions of traditional meals. The company is committed to delivering an experience that is not only truly exotic in taste but also a less oily healthier option and home-style flavours as compared to most restaurants and takeaways. Event catering is also on their menu – they have catered for private, corporate, and major Indian community events in Dublin.
But at its core, O’Desi Meals is a social enterprise, reflecting the trend of more community-minded entrepreneurs coming out of Trinity’s MBA programme.
Refining their social mission
Both Anubhav and Siddharth tried to take their yearly charitable “Christmas Project” up a notch by even exploring the possibility of employing homeless people at their company.
Anubhav started the Christmas Project in 2015. “Both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Night, I prepare presents for the rough-sleepers and do rounds of Dublin city, spending time chatting with them before handing them their Christmas gifts,” he says. “One gift pack contains a number of items which are handy for the cold Irish winters (beanies, socks, gloves, dental kits, moisturisers, etc.),” he adds.
The desire to start a small business to support his Christmas work is what gave Anubhav the idea to start O’Desi Meals in the first place. In the summer of 2019, he took a few days off from his job with Meta, hired a chef and started delivering the meals to customers himself. Six weeks in and he was joined by Siddharth, a Chartered Accountant and top-class chef. Anubhav looks after the sales, marketing and customer experience aspects of the business, while Siddharth manages logistics, procurement, and kitchen operations.
While O’Desi Meals figures out how to refine its social mission in Ireland, Anubhav and Siddharth pivoted their focus to India by donating 50 percent of their annual /surplus to the Blind Boys Academy in Kolkata, run by the Ramakrishna Mission. The balance surplus are used for supporting company operations and funding the Christmas Project each year.
Anubhav says people sometimes ask why they support charitable work in countries that are 8,500 kilometres apart. His answer always is, “We belong to both Ireland and India!”