Quarantine Home Bakers

Aug 28 2020. views 407


DELEEZBYAMSI

Inspired by her mother’s love for baking and creativity, Amali Paranavitthana has always enjoyed whipping up small treats and sweets for her family and friends. “Watching my mother be so passionate, prim and proper about baking and seeing how much her treats were loved and praised by everyone made me want to follow in her footsteps and when the correct time came, I started my own venture by introducing “DeleezbyAmsi”. 

Q What do you offer?
We offer a range of baked goodies from cakes to savouries. At the moment our best sellers are customized cakes for all occasions. Our signature would definitely be our Chocolate Cake with Strawberry and Cream Cheese.

Q When did you start operations?
We were in small scale operation before curfew but not very long ago. During the pandemic period, we gained more business and got the opportunity to expand and build a new customer base. Even during the lockdown, people still wanted to celebrate special moments with their loved ones on a smaller scale but had no way of doing so. As we deliver our products to their doorstep, customers found it fresh, easy, time saving and hygienically safe to order home-baked goodies and savouries. Everything is made in a very methodical order in our very own home kitchen.

Q What was it like running your operations during curfew? 
I found it difficult at the beginning in getting curfew passes to arrange delivery. But once it was sorted out with the help of my husband, I managed to sail safely during the pandemic.

Q What was the most challenging part about operating during curfew?  
The most challenging part of the operation was sourcing the ingredients and on top of it at a very high cost including delivery charges, where it affected our usual business. However, we stood by our customers and delivered the bakes at the normal rates to ensure customer retention.

Q How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
Hygiene is a critical factor which we personally take responsibility for and making sure all safety procedures are followed at all times. Especially since we are dealing with food.  All our products are properly wrapped, covered or boxed to ensure hygiene measures are further maintained until the delivery point.  The fact that this is done in-house by us personally, gives us the chance to take the safety of our customers very seriously.

Q What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
Being creative is something that I really adore and I, being my own boss gives me wings to be creative in so many aspects such as design, flavours, presentation and promotion. It also gives me time to spend with my loved ones while I do what I love to do. 

Q How has COVID-19 and the current state of the world changed your business and your baking?
It has helped me expand my business by opening up an opportunity for a partnership with my best friend who is a professional chef in the field of pastry and bakery. Together we hope to take our business to new heights in the future.

Q How do you see Home Bakers going forward post-COVID?
I believe a new trend has set in for good and with the help of new technology, all people have to do is go in front of the computer and search for the best homemade food to be delivered to your doorstep with a touch of a button.

Q Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
I strongly believe that it is never too late for anything. Never fear to follow your own dreams. Sometimes, we may have to step out our comfort zone to realize that there is an opportunity out there.


YEHELI

Run by husband and wife duo, Nisha and Mooneil – Yeheli’s is a family venture that kicked off as a result of COVID and the imposed curfew. Named after their 12-year-old daughter ‘Yeheli’, the duo describes themselves as a family of ‘real foodies’. “We love our food and we always enjoy different cuisines when we travel for holidays and we felt that this type of food wasn’t being served much over here. So, we wanted to offer the delightful tastes of these countries at an affordable price and most importantly all our meals are ‘Home Cooked, Like Mum Would!’.

Q What do you offer?
We offer Asian Fusion Cuisine with a Sri Lankan Twist sometimes and with a special emphasis on Hawker Style Street Food. Our Asian Fusion includes Thai, Singaporean, Indonesian and Chinese dishes as well as Western Grilled Meats and Roasts and Sri Lankan favourites.  Our best sellers include our Singapore Wok Fried Beef/Pork Rice and our Thai Red Prawn Curry with Spicy Thai Mango and Peanut Salad and Chicken Green Curry as well as our Indonesian Stir-fried Cuttlefish are to die for and our Grilled Chicken and Honey Glazed Spare Ribs and Szechuan Chicken Winglets.  We also offer a range of burgers including a vegan burger. We also try our best to use eco packaging and have drastically reduced our use of plastic packaging in our orders.

Q When did you start operations?
We started operating during the latter part of curfew. Nisha has always wanted to start her own business of cooking homemade food with international flavour while offering value for money. We saw a huge lacuna in this area where either the portions were too small or pricing or taste was not up to the mark – complaints that were resonated by many of our friends and colleagues. With COVID and the compulsory lockdown, it gave us the time and opportunity to get this venture going!

Q What was it like running your operations during curfew?
It was quite tough running our operations as we could not get the required experienced kitchen help so it was our home team that pitched in like Nisha’s mom and our daughter Yeheli. After curfew ended, there were no such drawbacks and we found it easier to run our operations.

Q What was the most challenging aspect of operating during curfew?
It was quite challenging during COVID because sourcing the ingredients and getting the deliveries done took a lot of planning.

Q How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
We ensure that high levels of hygiene are maintained at all times from storage to preparation and then to the actual cooking. Nisha is quite finicky on a personal level about hygiene so that is extended to her kitchen. Moreover, our food is packaged in such a way ensuring that there is no possibility of tampering and our food is delivered through trustworthy tuk drivers whom I personally have known since much younger days and who have been with us over the years when we required their service.

Q What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
We operate on a pre-order basis and we operate from home and so we cook the dishes that we have personally enjoyed and wanted to share with our customers.  We love that it gives us the flexibility to change our menus and mix and match at random – something our loyal customers quite look forward to.

Q How has COVID-19 and the current state of the world changed your business and your baking?
Everything now is about being online and being connected via social media which is a lesson we have all learnt. We believe if we need to be competitive and continue to stay in business in the long run we must adapt with the times.

Q How do you see Home Bakers going forward post-COVID?
There has always been a demand for hygienically prepared home-cooked meals and we believe this trend will grow rapidly as it not only showcases true Sri Lankan talent, but we believe also offers an opportunity to customers to savour a variety of dishes and cuisines which may be restricted in a formal setting. Also, home-cooked food does not have that many overheads as may be associated with operating restaurants. Furthermore, for today’s discerning customer, convenience is of utmost importance and if you have an effective delivery system in place, then home-cooked food will definitely be going places!

Q Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
Do what you love to do, do it well with passion and commitment and if you ensure sustenance you are bound to see the desired results coming in. Most importantly don’t fear to venture because “nothing ventured nothing gained”. Also do not be afraid of failure as this would only make one stronger by facing up to failure and overcoming it.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Panchali Illankoon

Law Graduate, food and travel enthusiast and full time dog mom..


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