Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Praveen Kumar Authentic Indian Cuisine was launched in April 2019, headed up by founder, restaurateur and entrepreneur, Praveen Kumar. Now a team of 18, we create authentic Indian curries, which have been cooked for more than a decade at Praveen’s award-winning restaurant in Perth, Tabla, and subsequently at Praveen’s Indian Cook School. Our highly skilled chefs make the meals by hand using the finest fresh ingredients in the UK, and spices imported from Praveen’s home village in Southern India. The meals are then immediately frozen to seal in the freshness and taste. Customers can either purchase the curries directly via the website or in the ever-growing network of independent stores, farm shops and delis around Scotland which stock our curries. For those who order online, the curries are delivered sustainably in a fully recyclable cardboard box.

How has the Coronavirus crisis impacted your business so far?

The impact of the Coronavirus crisis on the business has been substantial. Sales of our frozen curries have doubled since the crisis began, with post March sales increasing our monthly turnover pre-March by 200%. Since that time, we have significantly increased investment in our marketing and have developed our cooking equipment capacity at our new premises at Perth Food and Drink Park. Currently we are selling 250,000 meals a year and anticipate this could grow to 1 million in 2021.

How has your business needed to evolve and change to operate in this environment?

We have invested more in our digital marketing specifically and employed a customer relations manager to help facilitate our ambitious growth plans and handle our social media. Since initially launching the business at the Indian Cook School premises in Perth, we have expanded to employ a team of 18 and have made a significant investment in premises at the Food and Drink Park in Perth. We are also trialling a subscriptions service, since 56% of our sales are from repeat business, which allows our customers to receive curries from us as regularly as they choose, either monthly or bimonthly.

Has it presented opportunities which you would not otherwise have considered?

The crisis has definitely presented opportunities that we would not otherwise have considered. For instance, we are trialling a corporate offer at the moment, given the fact that offices are not yet open for staff to return. For virtual staff meetings we can arrange for mailboxes of curries to be sent to all staff members at their home address before the meeting takes place. One of our chefs is available to join the zoom meeting to give a 45-minute explanation of the curries within the box. We also have plans to launch our ‘Anytime curry machine’ (ATCM), which is effectively a curry dispenser which will be available at University campuses and city centres, as well as other key locations for customer convenience. The Praveen Kumar Authentic Indian Cuisine core curry range will be available through the ATCMs.

Finally, how are you celebrating this Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight?

We make a point of promoting local suppliers of Perthshire produce that we use within our curries all year round. However, over the Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight we will be shining a stronger spotlight on our local suppliers through our marketing and through the food we serve at our restaurant, Tabla.