All Ankur Madan wanted was a top-quality but reasonably priced burger. While you and I may have shrugged off the desire and pivoted to something else, Ankur decided to start his own brand along with his younger brother, Shreh Madan, and their friend Rajat Bawa. “I realised there was a big gap when it came to burgers: you could either get a cheap one from McDonald’s or had to fork out quite a bit of cash at a Chili’s or Barcelos. We decided to bridge that divide,” says the CEO and co-founder of Burgrill.
Ankur (39), Shreh (33), and Rajat (32), started the company in 2016, having all the requisite skills to make a successful go at it. While Ankur has a marketing and business background, Shreh and Rajat are trained in the culinary arts and hotel management respectively. Together, they’ve created a company that now has 26 operational outlets across Delhi-NCR and beyond over the past five years. They plan to aggressively expand that number up to 35 by the end of the financial year.
“We’ve had many ups and downs in our journey but have incorporated those learnings and experiences into our plans for the company. 2018 was a particularly trying period with Uber Eats [an online ordering and delivery platform] entering the market with their great discounting game. The market is still feeling the repercussions of that move, especially since QSRs have very low margins,” he rues.However, that hasn’t stopped him from expanding Burgrill’s menu to also include salad bowls. “We wanted to provide our customers with healthier alternatives to ‘junk food’ without compromising on taste and variety,” shares Ankur.
Indeed, it is this dedication to that goal that led to the project Ankur is most excited about these days. “By November, we’ll be launching India’s first range of plant-based meat burgers,” he adds, a concept made popular in the West with the Impossible Burger by Beyond Meats, which uses a soy compound that tastes exactly like juicy, meaty burgers sans meat.
Ankur’s company is working with a few international firms to develop their range, and while tight-lipped on the details at the moment, he is confident that they’ll prove a smash hit. “Despite its hardships, the pandemic has been a blessing in disguise. It helped us streamline our operations and delivery setup, and allowed us to concentrate on R&D.”
Speaking of the pandemic, Ankur, who stay put in the country for a long time, has already thought up of a great escape. He plans to take up the challenge of going around the world in 80 days. And yes, he’ll make it a mission to savour a variety of culinary delights, only to take notes on how to bring the flavours back home.