Debaditya Chaudhury, the visionary behind Chowman, Oudh 1590, and Chapter 2, embarked on a remarkable journey from music to culinary excellence. His childhood memories fused with a passion for Chinese cuisine birthed Chowman. With over 42 outlets across Kolkata, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, and Hyderabad, Chowman’s expansion plans promise an exciting reach into new territories like Chandigarh, Chennai, Mumbai, and Pune. Anirban Dasgupta spoke with the visionary entrepreneur about his journey and passion for food.
- If you could share with our readers about your journey and how the concept of Chowman came to your mind?
Chowman’s journey has been commendable so far, it’s unbelievable that we began with just a thought and my passion for Chinese food, and we have reached so far. I began my journey as a musician, as one of the founding members of Kolkata’s leading Bangla rock band Lokkhi Chara. I started Chowman with merely one small outlet where in the initial days I delivered food from door to door and now by the non-stop hard work, we have more than 42 outlets including Chowman, Chapter 2, and Oudh 1590. We’ve just hit 4 zones Kolkata, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, and Hyderabad by now, but I hear people talking of Chowman from different places in India.
Chowman was not an idea, it was my entire childhood memories combined with my passion for food along with my thought of building something that can be a comfort zone for the middle-class people, that’s how Chowman was originated. Back in my childhood days, I had a resident next to a Chinese restaurant called Kim Wah I still remember the aroma of all the dishes through my window. The amount of people visiting each day made me realized that there is a huge demand for Chinese cuisine and its flavor in Kolkata. Along with this I travel across seas and on my visit to China I loved the tradition that they follow especially regarding food what made me so emotionally connected was the implementation of the culture in their daily lives that’s what I wanted to bring along with me back to Kolkata.
- What factors have contributed to Chowman’s success as one of the leading brands over the past 13 years?
It has been since a while I put my thoughts into play and the rapid growth has been consistent. It has taken multiple forces to bring Chowman to the position it stands today. It is vital to understand the perspective of the customers in order to cater to them with what is preferred by them. I often do a survey in order to enhance my restaurant and its deliverables; I travel across seas and have taken inspiration from all the different places I visited. I tried to inculcate all that I get inspired with into action whether it is with the traditional dining setup, the rustic Chinese ambiance, or the most authentic Chinese cuisine. There are a number of factors that have contributed to Chowman’s success as one of the leading brands.
The proficient backend teams, one of the main factors that have contributed to the success of Chowman are the faces behind it. Everyone under this family has worked equally hard to bring this recognition.
Chowman App: Chowman App has been not just an innovation but one of the biggest achievements. Though it started just 3 years back, our all-new Chowman App houses features and options that are no less than any advanced and leading app known across the country. Our Chowman app has inculcated all the features like any other leading applications. We always maintain and mark the preferences and choices of our customers.
Our Delivery Fleet: Another difference to mention is that Chowman is the largest self-owned delivery fleet, and this could only be so successful by the combined efforts of all individuals involved in the process. It overwhelms me when I see the endeavor of each and everyone behind putting this thought into action. Chowman houses the largest delivery fleet in India in the Chinese chain category with a commitment to serving better. And the aim is to expand our reach to ensure that our food packed with love and effort reaches your doorstep faster than ever amidst hail & storms.
- How has Chowman differentiated itself from other Chinese restaurant chains in Bangalore, Delhi-NCR, and Hyderabad?
Chowman is more than a restaurant. It is an emotion that we were able to build into an empire. And to keep it standing highlighted amongst the rest isn’t something difficult. Chowman’s presence in the market with its unmatched and unique flavor has kept it standing out from the rest, inspiring its flavor into the hearts of the customers.
We make all the effort possible to keep the customer happy, hence we take all the necessary measures. We import our crockery cutlery from distinct parts of Asia and creating an interior decor and musical ambiance that could represent the traditional ethos of China was on my agenda. We were one of the first restaurants in Kolkata, to begin with a Cloud kitchen strategy.
We tried to incorporate our ‘authentic Chinese’ ideal in every minute detail. Even our delivery packages included Chopsticks- something that none of the pre-existing Chinese hubs could come up with before. This was because I wanted to present not just Chinese food but introduce their entire art of eating into every household in Kolkata. Till today, these are a few of the things that have kept us leagues ahead.
We not only focus on serving the best but providing an environment that keeps pulling the customers back. It is equally important to make sure that the customers are content with the way they have been catered to.
Chowman has its own water that gets supplied straight from the Himalayas, unlike any other Chinese chain of restaurants. It gives me immense pleasure to see our democratized neighborhood fine dining has succeeded in serving the middle-class gentry. We have always had inclusivity in our application, according to the preferences of all. Most importantly we have a kid’s menu so that they too feel equally special.
- If you could share your thoughts on this. Chowman’s national expansion plans have been implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, apparently one of the most difficult.
One of the biggest advantages we had was our own delivery fleet. During COVID-19, one of the most important things we noticed was the sharp rise in online platforms. During COVID, Chowman was able to win over the public’s trust by maintaining its own delivery fleet and upholding high standards of hygiene and safety. It then gave us a high profit in the income in the times when most of the industry was facing a loss. With that profit, I had an expansion plan in mind and efficiently planned and worked forward with it.
- Can you provide more information on upcoming expansion?
I started Chowman with merely one small outlet where in the initial days I delivered food from door to door and now by the nonstop hard work we have more than 42 outlets including Chowman, Chapter 2, and Oudh 1590. We’ve just hit 4 zones: Kolkata, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, and Hyderabad by now but I hear people talking of Chowman from different places in India. Our upcoming expansion includes additional locations in Bangalore and Hyderabad. We’ll be introducing a branch in Chandigarh, and in the South, we’re set to launch in Chennai.
Furthermore, we’re planning to add four new outlets in Delhi soon in the South, followed by openings in Bombay and Pune in the West and in the North. My plan is to open outlets of Chowman across the country begging with all the metropolitan cities furthermore we will start with Mumbai by the end December to January with our first outlet in the west, followed by Pune within a few months of Mumbai opening. We target to open more than 3 at minimum in each of the cities depending on the market demand.