Collect your biryani now

Offering an unmanned takeaway order experience is BVK Biryani’s latest venture
Representational Image. (File | EPS)
Representational Image. (File | EPS)

CHENNAI: The dusty streets of Kolathur lined with old establishments and tiny shops have recently welcomed a new building that has created quite a buzz in this neighbourhood. Enter BVK Biryani’s new, blue-and-golden-themed outlet. Not humans but four machines greet us here. After almost two years of contactless deliveries, when people have finally agreed to enjoy food offline at restaurants, BVK adheres to it too, but with a twist — an ATM model biryani delivery service. Claiming that it is India’s first manless takeaway, Faheem S, owner of BVK Biryani says, “We wanted to build a premium brand for biryani. To the people who are used to the routine at restaurants and takeaways, we wanted to provide something unique. As a premium brand, we don’t want human interaction to cause a bitter experience for the customers.”

This experimental venture was launched during the last week of January and has become quite a go-to for the crowds in this area. According to Faheem, it was curiosity followed by the simplicity of the device that encouraged people to opt for this. Faheem also consciously chose Kolathur, instead of Velachery, OMR, or Anna Nagar to try the experiment in a less tech-savvy area. He says, “Kolathur and Permabur are known for biryani. We wanted to start from there and slowly venture into other neighbourhoods.” 

Trying out the tech
We went to find out what all the hullabaloo was about. From kids to senior citizens, customers helped each other to place their orders. While it is nothing more complicated than withdrawing money from an ATM, however, a board of instructions would have eased the experience. Considering the suggestion, Faheem says, “Since it is an experimental initiative, we want people to give us reviews to improve our service. We are also considering launching the menu and other instructions in Tamil on the ATM.” 

The machine lists a vast menu which includes starters, biryani, kalyana naashta, vegetarian options, organic beverages, soft beverages, and desserts. You can add items to your cart in the same manner you place an order on Swiggy or Zomato. Once selected, create a profile by entering your name and phone number. Then, proceed to the payment option. Don’t forget to avail any discount or promo code in the required box. BVK offers payment through card, Paytm, and UPI scanning.

Once the payment is confirmed, the wait time is four minutes. Faheem explains, “These four minutes are for the backend operations. As soon as the customer checks the menu on the machine, the staff on the other side receives a mirror image. After they have confirmed and finished the payment, they will fill the delivery box with the boxes of food the customers have chosen. Once the waiting time is over, the customer receives a message asking them to collect the order. They can open the small compartment on the machine below the touchpad to collect the food.” 

BVK Biryani started as a cloud kitchen in 2020 when Faheem, with his tech and e-commerce background, pursued the idea of building a biryani brand in India. The lockdown came as a blessing in disguise for the company as people switched to ordering foods online and BVK offered a variety of options of food neatly wrapped in decorative boxes. “Even though my previous experiences gave me confidence in handling the workforce and understanding customer pulse, it took me almost 10 months to learn the commercial part of the food business,” he says. 

BVK Biryani started as a cloud kitchen in 2020 
|  P Jawahar

After cracking the recipe and food menu to suit the Chennai audience, the focus is now on the branding part. ATM biryani is the beginning of their long list of innovations. Speaking about the technicalities involved in the ATM service, Faheem says, “The machine works on time-sync as the aim is to deliver the food within the given time. It is a hybrid model of the vending machine and ATM. Almost 15 staff members at the backend constantly ensure that the customer can order without any glitches. Even though the delivery is completely manless, you can always seek the help of an assistant sitting inside the backside office during emergencies.” 

The company hopes to install more outlets like these in the coming days after evaluating the success and drawbacks of the Kolathur installment. A seven-star model dine-in restaurant is also on the cards. Specifically for the ATM initiative, the company hopes to launch profiling options for customers, reduce the waiting time and provide the order within a minimum number of clicks. 

ONE-TOUCH BELLY JOYS
The machine lists a vast menu which includes starters, biryani, kalyana naashta, vegetarian options, organic beverages, soft beverages, and desserts. You can add items to your cart in the same manner you place an order on Swiggy or Zomato. The company hopes to install more outlets like these in the coming days after evaluating the success and drawbacks of the Kolathur installment. A seven-star model dine-in restaurant is also on the cards. Specifically for the ATM initiative, the company hopes to launch profiling options for customers, reduce the waiting time and provide the order within a minimum number of clicks. 

Try out ATM biryani at BVK Biryani, No. 1, 3, Red Hills Rd, Somanathapuram, Kolathur, Chennai-600099

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