Anjali Joglekar & Her Catering Business

Anjali Joglekar is originally from Mumbai and come from a family of technocrats. Both her parents are very well known bio-chemists having worked for many years at Haffekine Research Institute and Shaw Wallace to name a few.

Anjali Jogalekar During the course of their research career, they had been working to develop a number of innovative products in the field of oil fat chemistry.

In 1988, they set up a small manufacturing unit in Mumbai and started manufacturing an oil substitute bread enhancer that dramatically improved the quality and the moisture content of every day bread. Many of the large bread manufacturers in Mumbai were their clients.

In 1995, they had a great success in formulating a 27% oil based margarine, the truly first Indian low fat bread spread and successfully launched it ahead of some big names in India including Amul (Amul Lite). They still hold patents for the manufacturing process and formulations.
All this academic and business of foods and bakery environment provided Anjali with a great learning environment. She remembers, right from her early school days, playing with and experimenting with food, cooking processes and baking used to be a great source of satisfaction and joy.
After completing her schooling from the King George Hindu Colony School,she enrolled for an advanced Diploma in Bakery and Confectionary and also has a Bachelors of Home Science with a Degree in Foods and Nutrition from SNDT University, Mumbai.
As part of practical training during her undergraduate days, she worked closely with dieticians at the Jaslok Hospital at Mumbai and Nanavati Hospitals, planning diets for very affluent patients suffering from various kinds of aliments, taking into account their special dietary needs and providing a balanced nutritious meal plan.
Over the years, she got married and had a wonderful daughter, she is 13 years old now.They moved from Mumbai to Lucknow and then to New Delhi.
At New Delhi,she started making specialty chocolates, initially for family and friends and later as a full-fledged home based business. During the last year of their business,they were set for generating revenues of over Rs. 500,000. She was very happy to have created chocolates for a very high profile family of an ex-raja in New Delhi, as also for the Indian cricket team and the Indian Davis cup teams.

They moved to the US about 4 years ago and initially she was on a H-4 visa, which did not permit her to work in the US. Her husband is a senior executive at a software services firm.They were initially in California for about 3 years and then moved to Texas last year. She utilized the 3-year wait for the coveted ‘green card’ by constantly reading up at the library, meeting and discussing food habits and differences in cooking styles as compared to traditional Indian style of cooking. Every visit to India was a reason to buy dozens of cookery books and also learn new dishes from family and friends.

She formally started “Angeethi” in January of 2002. They prepared flyers on their home computer and distributed through the Indian stores in the neighborhood. Friends and her husband and daughter have been extremely supportive in all these initial period, enduring countless discussions and happily sampling new dishes and experimental recipes.

Through word of mouth advertising, she was able to generate a constant order book of 2 orders per week. Although that was not any great volume of business, but provided her with a very good learning in cost management, packing and transportation.
In March,She experimented with technology and created her very first web site, on the geocities free-hosted members site. That created a good response with potential customers. She is also very actively promoting the site on local electronic bulletin boards and b2c web sites. Now that the volume of business has picked up to a point that they have an order for every day, sometimes even 2 or 3 as well, she invested in a dedicated web site www.angeethi.com which is becoming very popular.

Currently they are servicing the Irving, Coppell region of Dallas, TX state. Most of the orders are still received on the phone. She is also doing some research to be able to receive orders electronically and also accept payment on the web site as well. This facility should be available on her site in couple of weeks.

She has an average of about 6 to 7 orders per week, which with some proper planning, leaves her with enough time to do some of the other things that she likes, so technically this can be termed as a ‘Part Time’ business for want of a better term. However, this also provides her with opportunities to study and plan her next offerings, research cooking and packing materials etc. At this rate, she is on track to generating average revenue of about $2,000 per month.

Customer service has been a primary focus for her.In this line of business, one bad customer reference can potentially cause a lot of bad publicity and affect revenues pretty significantly.She make it a point to discuss the customer requirements in great detail and take notes to remind herself during the preparation process, such simple things as how spicy to make, additional items to be provided like chutney or sauces. Fortunately for me, all the customers have had only good things to say about the food items that they have ordered from her.This is making her venture out to experiment with a wider variety of foods and ingredients.Her guest book at the web site www.angeethi.com says it all.

She said that she is very fortunate to have received a lot of support from her family and friends. The words of praise from her customers provide her with energy that powers to keep on doing better everyday. She thinks that she ventured into this line of business just at the right time. Her daughter is now almost self sufficient and her school hours provide Anjali with enough time for herself to engage in the planning, procurement of ingredients, the actual process of preparation and packing as well as marketing activities and sales.Her daughter is very considerate and does not mind the fact that this endeavor occupies more and more of her time. Her husband, is also very supportive, helping with planning the orders, scheduling, costing and not to mention last minute dashes to the nearest Wal-Mart or Kroger for an important but missing ingredient or packing material etc.

The biggest difference that she observed here in US is that “time” is at a premium. The concept of hired help coming in to do the dishes or to clean the home or even cook is practically non-existent. The availability of funds, access to markets and the purchasing power of the local population is the biggest reason why this business venture is a success.

Contact Anjali @

972.401.2544 or email to info@angeethi.com

You can read the original article in marathi here
http://www.marathiworld.com/muktangan/lekh/lekh8.htm