Granny’s Delicacies is the brainchild of three young entrepreneurs Swagat Thapa, Divyanga Thapa and Bhaskar Man Singh, who turned a family recipe into one of the healthiest momos on the market. Established in 2020, the brand has quickly gained traction for creating a healthier and low-calorie alternative to our nation’s most well-loved food, rebranding it as both a nutritious and delicious meal.
We had a chat with one of the co-founders, Mr. Swagat Thapa about navigating a business amidst the pandemic and finding purpose in his entrepreneurial journey through a social aspect.
Read our conversation to learn more!
How did the idea to start Granny’s Delicacies come about?
It was a spontaneous idea that stemmed from a casual invitation to try my grandmother’s killer momos, which was a hit amongst my friends. It made us think, momo is a basic staple food for Nepali people and can be a good product anywhere, which gave us the inspiration to try our own venture. We were already aware of the technical know-how of the food and beverage (F&B) industry, so we eventually started by creating a one-year plan. We set up our office, estimated production costs, and allocated most of our funding towards research and development (R&D) to improve our product prior to launching.
What is the story behind the name of the brand
As the name suggests, the momos are my grandmother’s recipe which we manifested into this brand.
How did you raise the starting capital for your business?
Actually, Granny’s Delicacies is a very small start-up that we only scaled up, later on, so we required very low capital that was obtained through a joint investment of the partners.
What products do Granny’s Delicacies offer?
We currently offer Darjeeling-style chicken and plant-based momos with a Nutrinugget filling. Our plant-based option is suitable for all customers as it actually mimics both the texture and taste of meat, unlike other brands that use paneer substitutes. In addition to our momos, we also offer Dalle ko achaar, sourced locally from Dakshinkali. The availability of the Dalle itself is seasonal and limited hence, aren’t sold commercially like our momos.
How is Granny’s Delicacies momos different from others on the market?
Currently, we are one of the cleanest and healthiest options on the market. We are very conscious about catering to the health of the public through our product by sourcing high-quality meat, avoiding the addition of preservatives, substituting fat with cooking oil, and including a variety of fresh vegetables to enhance the taste. Our main ethos is to promote and progress a healthier lifestyle of the Nepali public, which is reflected in our logo – “A healthier choice”.
Who is your target customer base?
Our target includes the general Nepali public since we know they love two main things, they love their thali and they love their momo. Our product can almost be described as a basic necessity in Nepali households, which is simultaneously so versatile because you can have it anytime of the day, in any style, and with any dipping.
Where can we find your products?
We supply to various restaurants, Bhat-Bhateni Supermarket (BBSM) and Salesberry department stores, which have a lot of walk-ins. Both our momos and pickles are also available for direct purchase through our Instagram or Facebook.
As a frozen momo business, do you have many competitors?
Yes, in fact, there are 12-13 momo vendors within our main stockist BBSM! Due to the pandemic, the majority of small-business owners shifted to small frozen items, amongst which momo was the easiest one so the competition grew exponentially.
What are the main challenges you faced since starting a packaged food business especially during the pandemic?
The pandemic was a very challenging time for us since the lockdown started right as we opened our business. Our production was viable under strict health and safety protocols in place however, we weren’t able to deliver due to the restrictions. We only had a two-hour window in the morning and evening for delivery, during which time we used to get 30-40 orders per day and it was very hectic but we persevered. Fortunately, as the restrictions have eased, our demand has steadily increased again.
It is stated your company supports women homemakers. Could you please elaborate on how you selected the candidates and in which parts of the process they’re involved in?
Our entire production line is handled by 12 women homemakers, it’s a small team since all our momos are handmade and take a long time to ensure consistent quality. In our initial hiring stage, we met a single unemployed mother, struggling to make basic ends meet and subsequently got introduced to other women in a similar situation. So we three partners sat down and decided to involve just them in our production line. Most of the women workers don’t have anyone to look after their children, so we fix the working hours around their schedule. We heavily invested in their training and received hardworking, loyal, and efficient workers in return.
As a relatively new company that has gained immense fast-paced popularity and growth, what are your future plans in regards to Granny’s Delicacies?
We experienced exponential growth through the year and are re-investing our returns to scale up our brand. At present, we are carrying out R&D to introduce a healthier Buff momo, which will soon be on the market. Irrespective of the high demands, we do not want to compromise on the quality of any product therefore, we invest a lot of time in R&D. From a business owner’s perspective, if your product is strong, regardless of the quantity and low-profit margin, the money will come in when consumers trust the brand and like your product.
We are trying to expand in an integrated manner, keeping in line with the frozen market. We have partnered with an expert pizza maker to come out with frozen pizzas in the coming month, our other plans include mainly frozen finger foods such as sweet corn and nuggets. Our main concern with our products is to ensure it’s a healthy choice and good quality which is why we have taken a longer time with our products.
As a social entrepreneur, what was the main lesson you learned through your business?
The most valuable lesson I learned is there are many entrepreneurial models you can follow but helping a social aspect gives you a more fruitful experience. Especially in a developing nation such as Nepal, entrepreneurs need to focus on a vision or mission that also impacts society positively to build a stronger economy.
Finally, any word of advice for young entrepreneurs?
These days, many entrepreneurs out there will try to capitalize on trending concepts for instant returns but that’s not always the case. Just because a concept is new or unique to a country, does not necessarily equate to success, so I would definitely say stick to the basics, of which our brand is a good example. Success always takes time, which is another thing we were able to see from our brand. We were able to see the investment of our hard work, dedication, fulfillment of social responsibilities, and our concept.
Looking for healthy and delicious momos whilst also supporting the livelihood of women workers affected by the pandemic? Order now!