Nitin Kapoor – Co-Founder & Director, Lub Lub Lebanese

Lub Lub Lebanese is a restaurant with a difference because of it’s unique product, vision and team. Lub Lub Lebanese is a Mediterranean QSR chain serving delicious and healthy Lebanese and Mediterranean food. They sell a crisp range of product from Lebanese cuisine. The flavour, fragrance and taste in Lub Lub has created a magnetic effect in making our customers want our food several times in a week. The venture was started by 5 friends from different professional backgrounds and joined hands to pursue their love for food. It was launched on November 22, 2015. We are publishing an interview with Mr. Nitin Kapoor, Co-Founder & Director:

Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Please share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
We realized that there is dearth of alternatives which serve healthy and fresh food in Indian market and there are few cuisines which actually serve guilt free food, this led towards inception of Lub Lub Lebanese. This was a big enough problem as most of Indian Market was flooded with food which is not that healthy and comes under the category of Junk Food. Lebanese cuisines is considered one of the healthiest cuisines around the world and became our first choice as there were not much of players who were focusing on this cuisine.

Q.: Please tell us about the founders
Lub Lub Lebanese is a story of five childhood friends who came together to open this start up. Since childhood we always wanted to open up a F&B Brand and this thought process got shape when one of our friends, Chef Ashish, got selected in Masterchef and became household figure during that season.

  • Chef Ashish: He is the face and integral part of the brand and Mentors Kitchen Team.
  • Kumar Gaurav: – He Heads Digital – Marketing & Technology Department and comes with 16 plus years of experience as DoT in one of the largest digital agency in the world.
  • Kumar Saurabh: – Architect by profession heads Finance & Administration Department and leads all construction related activity of the Brand.
  • Dr. Sumit Arora: – Doctor by profession as well as avid traveler and food connoisseur heads Branding and Vision Department of Lub Lub Lebanese.
  • Nitin Kapoor: – Corporate leader with 18 plus years experience heads overall operations of Lub Lub Lebanese.
Lub Lub Lebanese - A Mediterranean QSR chain serving delicious and healthy Lebanese and Mediterranean food

Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles.
Sure. They are:

  • Morris Pasha – Works as District Manager and takes care of operations at restaurant level. We see him evolving over time as Manager Operations who runs entire operations with the help of Team Members.
  • Shrideep Chatterjee – Works as Operational Consult and helps us establish operations at all levels. He comes with 20 plus years of experience in setting up operations. We see him as a guiding force to establish restaurants pan India.

Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. How did you get your first customer? Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
When we started out there was a void of healthy and fresh food in India. Our R&D took almost three to four months before we designed our own big and healthy Shawarma. Our first customer was the one who actually barged in and said please start from today we have been waiting for this to open for almost a month now, so this is how we started selling our food to customer.

Q.: What is your USP?
Our USP is our Products. Ingredients of all our products are made in-house and are continuously being perfected with indepth R&D and we continuously strive to perfect them.

Our Products are made more relevant to suit the palate of Indian Market and we are exclusive “healthy food” Quick Service Restaurant. Uniqueness to our startup is product and process orientation and we have specialized training department which ensures that our staff is trained with all new recipes and products from time to time. Our uniqueness lies in simplifying all the process and also to maintain the core of our business which is food. We believe in one theory “kitchen is considered the most holy place and energy generated from the kitchen drives our business.”

Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
There were not much of assumptions when we were entering the market, only thought process was to give best Shawarma to consumers. We have come long way as a team in terms of learning, we are more organized now and have stable mindset. When we started out, we lived by the day, now we can plan three months in advance. Hopefully with time, we will be able to plan for complete year. Anyone who is hungry is our ideal customer and our long term vision is to be available everywhere where people our hungry and looking for healthy and fresh food options. Yes we still serve the ones who were our first few customers and that gives us enough motivation to build the base.

Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??
As the journey has been not that long, we really cannot zero on any failure as a biggest one, we have always considered them as a learning and ensured that this does not happen again. The only thing if we focus hard is going to be financial resource management. We tasted instant success with our consumers and our growth rate was pretty amazing and we were little defocused towards financial management and when we realized that this is not going in right direction, we took immediate steps to fix this and brought process driven methodology in our business and the learning we got was even when you get recognition and you taste success one should never defocus from the basic thought process of generating profits from the business.

Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Our pricing is on little higher side as we believe in giving quality and quantity products. We have already started working on products which are going to be little economical but will maintain the core of giving quality products. Our model is more towards Freemium.

Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
As of now we are looking out for investors who are willing to invest in our business to take it to the next level. We are also looking out for investors who are willing to invest even store wise, but our model as of now is only company operated models to maintain the quality we are known for.

Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? Please explain in detail.
We have sold over a million shawarmas so far. What started as a desire between childhood friends to work together has now taken a entirely different shape and form and achieving all financial milestones which we are now setting up. We expect to triple up our stores and turnover by end of next financial year.

Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
We are planning to take this Pan India and as planned we will soon be focusing towards Delhi and eventually moving to other states as well.

Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Everyone who is part of this industry has their own USP and way of working, so we really don’t perceive anyone as a competition and firmly believe that we all can coexist if we follow fair practices.

Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months? Any other information you would like to share?
Our goal would be to stabilize newly opened restaurants and then start venturing out towards Delhi and reach out to more consumers.

Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Just believe in value you started out with and ensure that you always stay true to them. Also never ever miss out on one thing that is core of the business and get defocused by over the top marketing and realize it will help you little but eventually if your core product is not right you are bound to fail.

Thanks Nitin. Best wishes!