"When it comes to this company, I have come to expect a mini-miracle every single day. If we don’t get a mini-miracle on some days, I feel deprived," rues Ashutosh Mahendru, Founder and CEO, My Love Triangle, who, much like another more famous entrepreneur also works a 100-120 hour work week.
But while Musk is trying to get us to Mars, Mahendru is figuring out a more earthly, and infinitely more urgent, problem: how to get gourmet pizza straight from the restaurant oven to your hands in the least amount of time.
My Love Triangle has been solving that problem for Gurugram residents over the last three months as its mobile bakeries receive your order and prepare it while driving towards you, delivering unto you pizza straight out of the oven. It's almost as good as having an Italian Nona chained to your stove, and minus the legal troubles.
Mahendru, who comes from a family of entrepreneurs that lost almost everything during some financial crises, was forced to get a corporate job to help make ends meet. "I have always been a big foodie and one of my favourites is pizza. The only way I could get the freshest possible pizza was to go to the nearest place, pick it up myself and go to my car and eat it. It was over the course of these meals that this idea evolved in my head," reminisces Mahendru, adding, "I was in a financially vulnerable place, but there are few times in your life when you just know you have to do something."
Incidentally, the idea of mobile pizza kitchens is not novel itself with plenty of global brands (most recently Dominos's) occasionally announcing ongoing test projects in self-driving delivery, which never seem to arrive anywhere, given that it’ll be only one of their revenue streams. This is MLT's entire business model, and given their trucks’ proven track record, they might be leading the race.
Freely admitting to knowing nothing about pizza production, delivery, or robotics earlier, Mahendru decided to tackle the last first. "I knew that the process had to be fully automated and so we got in touch with a Dutch robotics firm and they, along with manufacturers in India developed, designed and created our vans, several technologies for which we have since gotten patents," he explains, continuing, "Next, we went through scores of candidates across India, Italy, the US and other places, before finding the perfect chef. It does not matter how fresh the pizza is, if it is not also phenomenally flavoured."
"We have come across thousands of tiny and big problems over the course of developing the business and have been truly blessed to find just the right person at the right moment to help us find a solution," muses Mahendru.
"We went through all kinds of materials including wood and banana leaves, but I finally settled on terracotta and cloth. I also want us to be environmentally-conscious and be also able to serve you a gourmet experience on your dining table," he elaborates.
"The cloth becomes your dining linen, the terracotta platter your plate. And it’s something you can keep and use for yourself as well as to serve guests. We plan to expand to Delhi-NCR over the next few months, then head to the Mumbai-Pune belt, then south and east, and my hope is that the fifth place we go to is either Dubai or Singapore. I truly believe that this is a model that is scalable, expandable, and can work across the globe," he asserts.
"Even as we are manufacturing our new trucks, we are finding ways to improve and innovate further, so we are only going to keep getting better. I want this to be the Indian brand that goes across and shows the world how well our people can innovate," he points out.
You can say it gives him 'piz-za mind'.