We all know how we are often handed out to complete a given project just for the sake of grades whether for our college or university, where we just get it done and move on with our lives. Maybe very few of us ever think of evaluating these farfetched scary ideas where most of these ideas only remain unrecognized, unutilized. But today we are here to tell you a journey that started as a random assignment for a business strategy course and turned into a diverse hospitality industry, Alpha Catering pioneering 6 different services in 3 different markets since 2016.
Much like any other entrepreneur’s, Alpha Catering started its journey with a view to provide a different approach in the market. Commonly then, restaurant business were more likely growing on trend-based responses but quickly going out of business with the fading buzz. That’s when the idea of breaking conventional catering idea was proposed. Based on project surveys and the network-based information from friends and others, Alpha Catering initially took flight as an office catering service.
They initially started by delivering healthy lunch items to offices during lunchtime. But soon they realized it was a poor decision for the business as the survey about their targeted consumers was not quite accurate. Then they decided to diversify their services by adding local cuisines to their menu. They started delivering foods in 14 different locations including Chittagong and this too didn’t work out. The business needed another pivot. At the end of 2017, Alpha Catering shifted its focus to only event-based services and is currently operating a 24/7 food delivery service while seeking BSTI approval for their consumer food products.
According to one of the co-founders of Alpha Catering, Sayem Faruk, the barrier from moving forward with a new idea and getting out of the conventional clock like corporate life is discrete from person to person. Entrepreneurship is sometimes a privilege. Leaving a secured job and starting the struggle for a startup is not for those who have other financial commitments. But the founders of Alpha Catering were fortunate enough to have their family support and were able to provide the needed nourishment for the business to flourish. The Founders considered the risk factor of losing money as somewhat of a minor thing as they engaged to experience the challenges as a reward.
Business organizations are the bigwig clients of Alpha Catering and they are successfully maintaining this business-to-business relationship. Sayem Faruk thinks this has been possible due to their strong networking and great references but mostly because of their reliable services. So, the magic word behind this success is ‘reliability’. He said getting an order only a night before the event is very common in this industry but not every other firm will accept these orders. But the Alpha Team accepts these orders because, for them, clients are the core of the business and they pay for the business. He said, “We hire skilled and educated people, so clients find our service very pleasant, organized and sophisticated.” Despite providing premium-quality service, they have a wide-range portfolio including medium to high priced food items. He smilingly said that it’s a misconception about us that we are expensive but we can serve customers according to their need. As of now Alpha Catering has 5.0 rating out of 5.0 on its Facebook page even after 5 years of existence and this proves that quality was never a compromise.
Last year when the pandemic started, events, functions and gatherings were kept under restriction. Serving food even of only 10,000 taka which is the minimum limit, was beyond imagination. But the young dreamers of Alpha Catering have gracefully fought the pandemic with new business ideas. They started the ‘Cloud-kitchen’ plan in many areas. They have also introduced a remote wedding service. No one ever thought of having dinner with hundreds of people but sitting in different places. But Alpha catering earned a reputation in reaching to these different areas with hot food.
Remember Jon Snow from the ‘Game of Thrones? How far he had gone to save the north and the world. However, our Jon Snow, in this case, didn’t fight the white-walkers but he fought every challenge he faced and never gave a thought to give up. Throughout the business, the team faced many challenges but the initial problem was to find good quality human resources because in our society, young graduates didn’t think catering is a reputed business but those days are now gone. Alpha has a good reputation in the market and many young people want to work with Alpha Catering. “So, you see, we have overcome that challenge”, he added.
As we asked what his suggestion is for the young generation, The Operations Director and co-founder of Alpha Catering, Sayem Faruk replied that many young people want to do something by themselves but they think it will take a lot of money and risk. “For my first business, the initial capital came from my tuition income and prize money from business competitions that I won. And coming to risk, risk-appetite is not equal for everyone but ask yourself “what you may lose and what you can learn,” he said. He also offered some insights for the young potential leaders on how to implicate school life learning into business. For instance, learning about the tax paying system, engaging in business competitions, working as a team, managing events, keeping brief ideation of accounting and so on to achieve leadership quality.
In essence, we remember Mark Zuckerberg’s words, “The biggest risk is, not taking any risk.”