The logistics department turbulent as the weather, the very first delivery of Get Diety was scheduled at Chromepet, Chennai. Still, the deliverymen didn’t show up, it was their first subscription, and they were already late! As the situation would demand, the founder Achuthan Muralidharan personally drove to deliver the package. “During that moment I felt like I proved something–with all the constant doubt of investing so much on outlet and equipment, stock and material (where I had my overheads shooting above 85k approximately from the first month of business), the sense of happiness that I felt while returning, was something I can never forget, more like a proud sense of selfish self-worth validation.” He recounts.
With the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, customized diet program and health food venture “GET DIETY” had to opt for a temporary halt. But they have bounced back into business with revised hygiene and safety management to provide their much-coveted services across Chennai. In a candid chat for the #volocals campaign with Sruthi Bhat, the mastermind behind “GET DIETY“, ACHUTHAN MURALIDARAN, shares his behind-the-scenes story.
A Mechanical Engineering Graduate from SRM University, Kattangulatur, Chennai, Muralidharan, was looking forward to a career in the air force. However, his unaccomplished objective paved the path for taking up marketing and sales in his brother’s company. “I developed an immense interest in fitness and healthy living and always wanted to start a business which is closely related to the fitness industry.,” says Muralidharan. His endeavour also stemmed from a childhood setback which instead proved to be a stepping stone towards realizing his dream.
“June 27, 2018, a casual day at the office and while I was in a constant state of confusion, I started to feel hungry. As a fitness enthusiast, I started to crave for something clean and healthy on Swiggy. As I was looking into it I was bombarded with a lot of junk,” he recounts how the idea of Get Diety was born – a market that did not cater to the needs of fitness enthusiasts and laden with ridiculously overpriced salads. “I saw abundance in demand with minimum to zero fulfilment in the market,” he adds.
Muralidharan believes, “Dieting is a constant process where it requires a person to consume at least five portion-controlled meals–every day with utmost discipline”. However, to achieve this by embedding it into a business model is not an easy task. Multiple factors come to play–backend management, logistics, delivering convenience, model structure, marketing, consumer psychology, competitive analysis, finance and others. According to Muralidharan, “The customer needs are the topmost priority.” He opens up delivery as early as 7:30 am so that the subscriber can take the meals to work, and the second dispatch is done at 5:30 pm, providing meals till dinner. From a software techie to celebrities, he has nourished the fitness of everyone craving a healthy bite.
With no back-up plan, he took up one of the toughest niches in the food industry promising to deliver healthy goodness, in a way it was never done before. “The quantity of labour invested in setting up the business from scratch was immense. The hard part of the job consisted of initial branding, discipline and hustle of micromanaging,” he recalls from his initial days.
He has come a long way since the first delivery, but the road wasn’t a bed of roses. Managing stock, attending calls, collecting feedback, social media engagement and employing creatives, finance, micromanagement, updating about dispatch, and a few other responsibilities his work demanded about 17 hours of hustle every day, hurdles were overcome in due time. In contrast, all other problems faced apart from the service, took a backseat.
He had taken up the charge of initial financial management–85 per cent of the work–keeping the cost at a bare minimum. With 8-month homework under his belt, he was ready to combat the initial challenges of finance.
Currently employing seven fully-time staff, he plans to expand in the future. “We are now on track to expand with at least two more cloud kitchens in Chennai and work our way to provide a good management and administration team to bring in franchises to other states as well, once we find a suitable investor to invest in us,” he says.
It is no secret that the Coronavirus induced lockdown has taken a toll on the economy and business, and “Get Diety” was not spared. The 1.5-year-old business faced its own set of challenges that came with staying at home.
The primary challenge was sourcing the appropriate ingredients. The outbreak of the pandemic at Koyembedu Fruits and Vegetables Market, Chennai, prompted their vendors to shut down their shops and halt supplies. But as the saying goes, when there’s a will there’s a way, they succeeded to turn the odds in their favour and managed to get the vegetables sourced and delivered.
In addition to this, Dunzo, their business delivery partner, stepped up to give the necessary support. They managed to schedule for a few days, and the orders would get picked up and delivered as planned. Muralidharan went the extra mile to ensure that the entire team was healthy and financially secure during the lockdown and paid them half their salaries while ensuring that they were well taken care of.
Leaving all the adversities behind, Muralidaran is looking forward with renewed hope. With the growing demand for healthy, immunity-boosting food by consumers, the health and wellness industry is likely to face a surge in demand. “Since this has been running for the last 18 months with a fair business establishment, I might have an edge to attract many investors to invest in Get Diety,” he hopes. “We have multiple verticals to work on, once we have the funds coming in,” he adds.
With Mr.Muralidaran’s positive outlook and undeterred dedication, “Get Diety” is advancing towards a healthier future.
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