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BW Businessworld

Meet The Meat Man

Integrating high-end technologies into its retail business has worked wonders for the Chennai-based TenderCuts

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TenderCuts has been growing phenomenally since inception. Starting with a revenue of Rs 6 crore in 2016, it swiftly grew to Rs 18 crore in 2017, Rs 50 crore in 2018 and Rs 150 crore in 2020. Nishanth Chandran, Founder of TenderCuts has been feted with the Entrepreneurship Award for 2017 by The Economic Times, the National Entrepreneur Icon of the Year (Emerging Startup Category) award, among others.

“In just four years TenderCuts has grown to have 22 stores in two cit­ies — Chennai and Hyderabad — and is looking to expand at double the rate,” says Chandran.

TenderCuts is Chennai’s largest and India’s first tech-driven omnichannel fresh meat and seafood company. They enter into direct partnership with farmers and fishermen communities, and better cost is realised by eliminating middlemen while encouraging micro entre­preneurship. Integrating high-end technologies into the food retail business is one of its kind in the industry. 

Chandran states that the pandemic did not affect them in a negative manner. On the issue of disruption and innovation, he says, “When we we started in the year 2016 the idea was to ensure that consumers get the most hygienic and the cleanest chicken, mutton, sea-food. That was the mission and in order to achieve that we had to disrupt a lot of things starting from the supply chain, how the product was prepared by farmers or fishermen, that was the first step.”

He continues, “The second step for us was to ensure that it is hygieni­cally processed in our outlets. The third and the most important step is delivery. Our products are perishable and have a shelf life of 24 to 48 hours which is just one or two days. So after being processed, To ensure that it is taking 24 hours, it has to reach the store and within two hours it has to reach the customer. That’s where the biggest disruption we did.” 

Focus on Goats

Chandran shares that this year they are planning to focus more on goats. “Supply of goats from villages is still not organised. We see a huge opportunity in organis­ing the goat supply chain as well as the seafood supply chain. These are the two things we are focusing on in terms of backward integra­tion as we call it,” says Chandran

Speaking about fund rais­ing, Chandran says, “Quite candidly, we did not go to the market when we started the company, like other startups, because we wanted to get our fundamentals right and then directly go for a private equity round. That was the whole idea. When we went to the market, within a month we had Covid, lockdowns and all these things, so pretty much our entire fund raise was online. It was a very unique experience. The plus is that you can meet an investor from Delhi and another from Mumbai, for example, the same day and that is very easy, so three to four meet­ings a day is great.”

Chandran says his business model speaks for itself. “When your business model and numbers speak for themselves, whether you pitch online or offline, it doesn’t matter because these investors are smart and they always first look at the principles. If your principles are very encouraging, with a strong background, and high growth is demonstrated, whether it is online or offline it doesn’t matter,” he says. 

The pandemic was a blessing even for the business, says Chandran. “We grew at a pace of 300 per cent from last year to this year. Covid was a blessing because during such a pandemic hygiene is extremely important. People have been using hand sanitisers, even those who never knew what hand sanitizers were got impressed with how it works. We had lots of awareness from the consumers point of view and hygiene standards. Hygiene is a manner, not just a habit and bringing this mindset to people is going to take an era.”

On a concluding note he says, “The lockdown made people change the way they looked at hygiene. Hygiene is the key.”