Home Cooked Meals – the success Story of Mama’s Kitchen
My name is Razia Farooq and I started my small business of Food and Catering by the name of Mama’s Kitchen eight and a half years ago. I belong to a middle income family of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. My father was a government servant and my mother was a house wife. We are five sisters and one brother. Having brought up in a limited resources environment, we always had small amounts of recreation and entertainment at home. On weekends instead of eating out and partying, we always had a scrumptious traditional feast cooked by my mom, who was an expert cook. When I was 14, my father passed away in a road accident. This was a devastating time for my entire family. The emotional trauma was unbearable. And with every passing day our sorrows and hardships seemed to be increasing.
Apart from the emotional set back, the financial burden on us was also building up. After the death of my dad, we moved to Lahore where most of our relatives lived. With whatever little savings my father had left us we bought a small house but the day to day affairs were becoming hard to manage and the stigma of having five daughters and only one son was also becoming an unwelcomed burden for my simple mom. When I was 19, me and my elder sister tried getting some small jobs like teaching but our shortfall of educational qualifications left us with no option but to start our own business. The only talent that we could think of was cooking that our mother and us did well.
Gathering little information about the business hubs of Lahore, we compiled a small menu of home cooked meals and circulated it in different banks and multinational and national firms of the city. Initially we started the business with the Gulberg Area only but later on we expanded. And wow! What a great business response we got! We offered the first lunch box for free, as a tester for the customers. And then onwards we charged for the weekly menu.
The key idea of the business was to provide clean, hygienic and quality home cooked meal at very competitive prices during lunch hours for various offices. We had hired a delivery boy for the purpose whom we paid on commission basis upon the number of boxes that he delivered in a day.
The key marketing strategy of our business was word of mouth, fliers and brochures. After two years or so, we had if enough experience to start on a larger scale and we moved on towards catering for small parties, get togethers and corporate dinners and meetings. Today we have about 10 delivery boys and a kitchen large enough to host a five star feast. My mom still supervises every recipe that is cooked in that kitchen with the help of 6 – 7 skilled workers. It is this personal involvement and dedication that has made my family a successful business enterprise.