Tragedy struck the lives of Akash Mhaske and Aditya Kirtane in mid-2020 amid the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
The childhood friends-turned-engineers had spent the first month of lockdown watching movies, but continued restrictions led their respective employers to fire them.
Rather than apply for jobs in this Maharashtra city with some industrial activity in the vicinity, they decided to strike out on their own.
Reading books about successful businesses cemented the decision. But they didn’t know exactly what to do.
A vocational training course in meat and poultry processing provided by a local university was the highlight.
The business idea was to enter the very loosely organized meat market with a credible offer to on-demand retail consumers.
The idea was apparently a strange one, and budding entrepreneurs didn’t get the full support of their families initially.
“Our families initially thought that no one would marry us because of the nature of the work we do. Later they supported us,” Aditya Kirtane told PTI.
Starting from a space of 100 sq. 4 lakh per month. As the company continued to gain traction, it was also spotted by Fabi Corporation, another company in town.
Fabi recently bought a majority stake in Apetitee for Rs 10 crore, and the company’s co-founders Kirtane and Mhaske will continue to be with the brand with minority stakes.
“The profit margin they work with is 40%. Meat selling is a totally unorganized segment in Aurangabad,” Fabi manager Fahad Syed said.
Syed said that after the deal, the “Apetitee” brand name would continue and they would introduce new products like pre-marinated products. Many investments are also planned, he added.
These will include the development of an app for consumers to place orders, the redesign of 100 stores over the next three years to ensure the brand’s physical presence and the creation of a fleet of electric vehicles to transport orders to the gates, Syed said.
The new management is marketing the business through online mediums and also relying on word of mouth, Syed said, confident the brand will create 2,500 direct and indirect jobs in Aurangabad as it expands.
Plans are also underway to take the business beyond Aurangabad to other Tier II and Tier III cities in Maharashtra, he said.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)