Chain Kooks

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Son of a businessman, Nasir Amin studied management and then opted to create his own food chain in south Kashmir that is now run by 30 people, reports Saqib Mir

As a student of Mantaqui Waqf Secondary School in Awantipora, not far away from his father’s tractor showroom, when Nasir Amin Makroo was getting class assignments, he was experimenting with innovative ideas. He wanted to create an Air Boat by fixing a big air-filled balloon to the boat. Some of his ideas were part of the student innovation exhibitions in the state.

When it came to his own career, it was not less innovative. He got a berth in an engineering college but he joined a BBA course in Islamic University at Awantipora. Later, he joined IIPM College in Delhi in 2011 for MBA and subsequently for PGDM. There, he got his placement while in third semester: Indian Council for Market Research hired him at Rs 32000, per month.

In 2013, Makroo joined cosmetic company Perfume Couture in Delhi and worked as brand promoter.

Shuttling between office and home, Makroo would visit a shopping mall and was fascinated by the people getting into fast food joint and eating foods of their choice. This gave him an idea of what he should do. Soon, he had many cooks as his friends as he would use his spare time in knowing about the recipes and the sector as a whole.

Then he quit because he wanted to have his own company. Days after he purchased machine worth two lakh rupees to implement his idea back home.

To experiment with his new idea, he chose a space not far away from the school and the university in Awantipora. Just outside the IUST, he started his restaurant Eating Out. Passionate about what his initiative, ‘Makroo spent nights to make different fast foods in his room. He remembers, his mother’s taunts: Tche Ma Chui Waazeh Banun (Do you want to be a chef?)

Makroo actually was a chef. He was his initiative’s first cook. But as one year passed, he felt it was too small a place for a big initiative. Quickly, he disposed it off.

By March 2016, after studying the market keenly, Makroo landed in South Kashmir’s ‘capital’ in Islamabad. At Khanabal, adjacent to Enso tower, town’s main shopping mall, he started his food stall Kooks…so fresh.

By now, Makroo knew that the machines rarely appeal taste buds. He had taken his machines off the scene. It was he himself and his friend Asim Aziz cooking and serving. It was much later that they started hiring the people. The start was quite modest and it took one complete year for him to understand the nuances of doing this business in peripheral Kashmir.

Once satisfied with the take-off, Makroo hired more space and launched another food stall in Shairbagh locality. Then he started thinking of having an address in Srinagar and it happened quite fast. He opened another stall in Munawarabad. As the brand started getting good response, he moved towards rural south and started one more stall in Achabal.

In Islamabad town,  the KP Road has, over the years, emerged as the upmarket belt. So he planned of setting up a restaurant in Qazi Bagh. Makroo’s entire chain is branded, these are called Kooks. Within a span of few years, he is proud owner of four Kooks stalls and a restaurant, also carrying the same name. Right now, he employed 30 youth, all locals. His menu includes burgers, wraps, roasted chickens, shakes and much more. Makroo plans to extend open more stalls in other south Kashmir towns. His plans include launching a Kooks food truck for serving the areas where his stalls do not exist to serve his clientele.

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