Ever had food delivered ages after you’ve ordered it and when it finally does arrive, it is cold and soggy? Food delivery is a convenience all of us take for granted, yes, but have you noticed that there is a huge difference in the dining experience at the restaurant and when food is delivered at home? Ashutosh Mahindru, founder of My Love Triangle, answered yes to both these questions. Most of us probably have similar feelings. An ardent food lover with an inexplicable love for pizzas, ‘My Love Triangle’ serves as Ashutosh’s solution to enjoying the perfect meal in the comfort of your home.
Where did the idea for My Love Triangle come from?
Ashutosh has always been a fan of exploring various cuisines, but he also despises stepping out of his home for the same. This one pet peeve led to him ordering in very often but he was consistently disappointed with the dining experience. There was a notable disparity between the quality of food he’d be treated to at a dine-in restaurant and home delivery. Yet, the one food item he craved the most, pizzas, has become famous for its delivery mode of consumption over the years.
Never being satisfied with the quality of home delivered pizzas while loathing the need to go to a restaurant for an enjoyable experience; Ashutosh began rethinking the entire pizza delivery process.
“If we baked our pizzas while delivering, rather than baking and then delivering, would they not taste as good as a pizza straight out of the oven, like in a gourmet dine-in restaurant?”https://mylovetriangle.pizza/about-us/#how-we-come-about
This was something Ashutosh wanted to act on. He wanted to pursue an idea that was not only a passion project for him personally but which could also be a global phenomenon. Additionally, he already had a background in business management. Taking the experiences gained from his past ventures, Ashutosh shifted to part-time work hours at his current job and set out to materialize his ambitions with My Love Triangle.
Although Ashutosh had the basic concept set in stone, he needed investment and support. For a venture on this scale, it wasn’t something he could do on his own despite having a well-paying job. The demand for Pizza was already through the roof and there was no need to create fresh market interest. The focus hence, needed to be on market penetration, proving to consumers that My Love Triangle has better propositions than all other alternatives. And that support arrived in the form of his friends.
Ashish, Nirad and Jasdeep, all three friends from the London Business School, were the first set of individuals to believe in him and back him in the quest to change the food delivery market. Ashish is ex Mckinsey, ex Amcor (Liquiform Group) and currently the CCO of Jindal Polyfilms. Merely 6 months into the journey Ashish came on board as the first financial investor and has since grown to become the biggest financial investor in the venture to date. More importantly he is an irreplaceable guide on several important aspects of the business, including strategy, finance and operations. Nirad is ex-Accenture and currently the Managing Director of a highly successful robotics engineering firm and his commitment to developing the technology for this business is what in gave this business wings. Jasdeep is ex BT, ex Vodafone and currently at Alix Partners and was the one of first to offer unconditional financial support as an investor
Pizzas were already a delivery-centric business prior to the current pandemic we’re going through. The lockdowns imposed helped in boosting the importance of delivery services. The strong onus on delivery only complements the viability of My Love Triangle’s offering: pizza fresh out the oven, at your doorstep. Who wouldn’t want a fresh out of the oven Neapolitan pizza at their doorstep, that too at no extra cost? The only aspect left to figure out was whether the costs were viable in terms of project scale, and if it was possible to develop the technology necessary to prepare pizzas on wheels.
The idea, for Ashutosh, was always to go global with My Love Triangle. For this purpose, he decided two things very early on: cooking on-the-go was a must so that the pizzas arrived fresh out the oven, and the entire process had to be automated through technology as much as possible to minimize the risk of human error and maintain quality control at scale.
My Love Triangle’s noteworthy breakthroughs
Explaining My Love Triangle’s journey, Ashutosh says their first breakthrough came when a Netherlands-based Robotics company offered to automate My Love Triangle’s cooking process in exchange for a stake in the business. Second, My Love Triangle finally found their chef, after extensively searching for people who understood their vision to curate the perfect menu, the ideal recipes to top off their gourmet experience. Their chef was tasked with designing a world-class 7-star menu, while also perfecting the preparation methodology with step-by-step instructions for the robots to follow.
Soon after, investments began coming in on a larger scale, and by August 2020, My Love Triangle had expanded from the 3 members, to a team of 15. They worked day-in-day-out for the next nine months perfecting their methodology of preparing the pizzas.
“Between August 2020 and May 21st 2021, the team must have baked 15,000 pizzas without selling a single pie. It was a part of a perfection process. Each pizza maker had to be able to cook the best pizza in town while cooking on the go.”
“First they had to perfect the art of cooking pizzas, then they had to perfect the art of cooking in a van, and then they had to perfect the art of cooking in a van while it was moving.”Ashutosh Mahindru
The next obstacle My Love Triangle faced, was choosing the ideal packaging. An authentic Neapolitan pizza requires a packaging that preserves heat even 10 minutes after delivery. This is to account for the time between receiving the pizza at your doorstep till you actually get around to eating it. My Love Triangle is committed to providing the gourmet experience, and subpar packaging would go against that commitment. Since Neapolitan pizzas are meant to be eaten fresh out the oven, My Love Triangle opted to use terracotta packaging so as to preserve the heat. Terracotta packed pizza isn’t something you’d see everyday; but on Ashutosh’s insistence and perseverance they finally found artisans who would supply terracotta pans for packaging. Although expensive, terracotta offers the best of both worlds in terms of functionality and luxury.
The last piece of the puzzle was putting together a management team, who finally started to believe that the project was actually possible. The extraordinary amount of work and the vision behind it inspired Ashutosh’s team of patent lawyers, marketing executives, designers, etc. to exert maximum efforts to get My Love Triangle up and running. While conducting trials, My Love Triangle ran nearly 500-700 deliveries wherein they consistently received ratings in the 8-10 range (scale of 10). This was motivation enough for My Love Triangle to launch operations.
They expected a slow start, with a gradual increase in popularity over the course of two-three months. However, within eight days of launch, My Love Triangle had exceeded their targets and their initial plan of adding 3 mobile kitchens over the next three months had to be adjusted to add 30 vehicles over the same period instead. They further intend to have atleast 80-100 mobile kitchens on the road by the end of 2021.
The response, Ashutosh says, has been overwhelmingly positive.
“To us it feels like we’re acquiring fans and not customers. People call us before ordering and congratulate us, and people call after ordering to congratulate us.“Ashutosh Mahindru
The kind of positive reception Ashutosh is receiving for My Love Triangle is definitely well-deserved. It’s a new experience for him, as he says he’s never received such immensely positive feedback for any of his previous undertakings or achievements. Generally, customers only want to complete their transaction as soon as possible. However, the passion and support offered by their initial customers has touched Ashutosh’s heart and is encouraging him to take My Love Triangle to greater heights.
Ashutosh says he isn’t content with simply catering to the national market with My Love Triangle. Their long-term targets include making it amongst the top 5 vendors in Indian cities by mid-2022, proving to everyone that My Love Triangle’s innovative format can and should be the future of food delivery. Another aspect Ashutosh is excited to look into, is opening up My Love Triangle’s delivery technology to other curated outlets in different cuisines. By mid-2022, again, Ashutosh hopes to bring at least two more cuisines under My Love Triangle’s umbrella; be it Indian, Mexican, Continental, the only criteria is a gourmet food experience. So, rather than licensing their technology for other brands to use, they’ll bring in select brands that fit My Love Triangle’s quality standards to operate under the same mechanism.
They further want to establish themselves as a brand in five global hubs, including New York, London, Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo, by the end of 2023. As Ashutosh made clear at the outset of this project, the goal was always to make a global impact. My Love Triangle shows no signs of slowing down until that goal is achieved, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they have another revolutionary idea at that stage.