Joshua’s Tree

Jul 14 2022. views 247


In this series, we talk to people who turned their passion for food and baking into a business idea amidst lockdown and COVID-19 fears. Some have been in the market for years and others saw the new opportunity and took it!  With new challenges presenting themselves in light of the current economic crisis in the country, we talk to home bakers who are navigating through these difficult times and bringing the sweet and savoury to your very own doorstep!

Home cook Kaushi De Silva has always been passionate about cooking since she was a child but didn’t have the courage to start her own business until a life-changing event led her to shift her perspective. “I lost my grandfather last year and on the day of his funeral, I was fired from my place of work for taking too many days off for it. That was when I decided that I would never work for anyone else again and it was the push that gave me the courage and motivation to start Joshua’s Tree. The name “Joshua’s Tree” comes from the belief that the many outstretched arms or branches of the tree resembled Joshua praying for the victory of Jericho - so they called it Joshua’s Tree, or the Praying Plant. The fact that these outstretched branches resembled victory was highlighted and we liked the meaning behind it”. 

What do you offer?
Our menu consists of dishes from different cuisines. We wanted to make sure there was something for everyone on the menu. In addition to this, we also have a separate weekly healthy meal planner where our customers can customise their weekly meals according to their preference or pick healthy meal options available on our weekly healthy meal menu. Two of the most reviewed and favourite dishes from the menu are our ‘Catch Me If You Can’ dish - a baked chicken breast covered with our signature cream cheese sauce and topped with extra cheese and served with a side of mash potato and ‘Game of Thrones’ - our signature shrimp lasagna. Our Tres Leches and Roast Paan options are also equally famous amongst our customers! 

What would you say is your signature style in cooking?  
Well, when it comes to cooking, the techniques and cooking styles vary from dish to dish. However, I personally like anything that is baked or grilled, so I use these methods the most with my cooking. 

When did you start operations?
The idea of starting a business came to me in the year 2019 and I held my first pop-up sale for Joshua’s Tree in December 2019. However, I officially started operating as a cloud kitchen in October 2021. 

What is it like running your operations in times like these? 
While restaurants shut down during lockdowns and there were limitations on social gatherings, food delivery soared, which created more opportunities and exposure for cloud kitchens to be recognised by consumers. Like every business in the country, we have been greatly affected by the current economic crisis in the country. The biggest challenge we are facing at the moment is the lack of resources to run our operations smoothly. I would say more than the pandemic, we have been affected by the current situation in the country. 

How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
Even though the pandemic is over, we are still maintaining the process we followed during the pandemic period. We make it a habit to disinfect the kitchen twice a day and we use disposable gloves while preparing the orders. We follow a strict safe-packaging process too. All the orders are carefully packed and well-sealed before handing over to the delivery partner. 

What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home-based business?
Starting my own business is by far the best decision I have made in my life. There’s nothing more rewarding than doing what you love, at your own pace and making a living out of your passion.  Also, this gave me an opportunity to interact with new people every day! I have an amazing and loyal customer base, some of them have even become my friends now. It’s truly been a blessing and an amazing journey so far. 

How are you going forward during this crisis?
We have been very transparent with the customers about all our price changes. Also, we introduced different packages and changed our menu according to the supplies available at the moment. We make sure to get our weekly grocery shopping done with just one trip for the entire week. We do batch cooking to reduce gas and electricity consumption. Also, we keep a tab on the power cut schedule and take our orders accordingly to avoid any delays in orders. 

Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
There are three main things you need to know before you start a business - Who, What, and How. Once you identify these, make sure you do your research on your competitors, costing, branding, and advertising. The main thing I follow with my business is never to stick with a set of rules. You must master the skills to adapt to any situation at any time.

Joshua’s Tree takes orders via Facebook and Instagram (@joshuastreelk).  Bank Transfers are accepted and delivery can be arranged via PickMe Flash or Uber Connect. Currently, Joshua’s Tree takes limited orders on pick-up basis until the end of July 2022.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Panchali Illankoon

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


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