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Shyam Narayan Thakur and Momo King
For 35-year-old Shyam Narayan Thakur, momo are a passion. “I want to redefine the word,” he says. “I want people to think of Momo King when they think of momo. I want to make my brand synonymous with it.” To sceptics, this might seem ambitious, but for Mr Thakur, his vision is very much achievable. Already a sensation in Malaysia, Momo King is set to take India by storm. Momo King plans to become India’s leading momo brand, and it believes it will give the Indians something they have never tasted before.

Mr. Shyam Narayan Thakur, Founder and CEO, Momo King

Mr. Shyam Narayan Thakur, a young and dynamic entrepreneur is the Founder and CEO of Momo King. After establishing and witnessing the tremendous success of his nightlife haunt in Malaysia, Shyam resolved to conceptualize a QSR chain which exhibited the soul of the Himalayan delicacies and introduced Momo King to the world. The venture that was established in 2017 has now become one of the most successful food brands in Malaysia due to his determination, vision and the passion to keep striving for excellence in the culinary industry.

Inspired by his successful international expedition, Shyam decided to bring the brand to India, the land of food lovers. And since then, Momo King has strategically marked its footprints in Delhi & Gurgaon.

With over a decade’s experience in the food and hospitality industry, Shyam endeavours to boggle the buds of people from across the world with the traditional Himalayan delight. Momo King aspires to provide a variety of momo which can be relished at any time of the day. Leading a team of kitchen-professionals, he focuses on delivering utmost customer satisfaction along with maintaining the quality and hygiene standards of the restaurant.

Shyam forayed into the culinary world right after he realised his passion for food and savouring delectable momo. He aspires to make Momo King a brand of its own class while it caters to the patrons nationally and across the globe with the most delicious flavours.

How Momo King wants to change India’s perception of momo

India is a unique market when it comes to momo. Momo are immensely popular in India, and in every big city, you will find a momo stall in every street corner. Momo are a street food staple for Indians- and in Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, north Bengal and the states in the northeast, they are a cultural landmark.

But then, as Mr Thakur puts it, if you want to find authentic momo, you have to look somewhere other than the street corner stalls. “What you get there is hardly the real stuff,” he says. “That is fine for satisfying your craving, but if you are passionate about momo, and value authenticity, you have to either go to the Himalayas or spend a fortune at some five-star hotel.”

He points out that in the street stalls, not only is the product being sold not authentic, there are other pressing issues to take note of as well. There is a question of hygiene, and use of good quality products while making momo. “One day you might have a plate and then fall ill. Because they have used rotten ingredients, or not maintain proper hygiene. Always remember that the priority here is to provide momo at cheap prices, but that does not mean that you will be getting quality products,” he says.

How Momo King is different from the rest

Mr Thakur and his team’s priority is to serve the customer and provide them with the authentic taste of momo. “We will give you the real stuff, but you won’t have to burn a hole in your wallet for it. And be assured, your food is going to be clean and healthy,” he says. Momo King’s objective is to provide momo of authentic taste and excellent quality at affordable prices.

The USP of Momo King is using the original herbs that have been defining the taste of the Himalayan momo since historical times. Momo King will use herbs like Timur and Silum, which are found only in Nepal and China to impart that unique flavour to their momo, that you won’t find in any street stall or other outlets. “These are very expensive and rare,” Mr Thakur says. “But we are going to make sure that you do not have to pay a fortune for them. I will say this loudly- what you have been having till now is not what momo should taste like. And once you taste the difference with Momo King, you will come back for more.”

What you get at Momo King are juicy, fresh momo and impeccable customer service. “If you want to build a reputation, you must look after your customers. You not only give them the best products but also ensure that your service is fast, your representatives are polite and savvy, and your outlets reflect the spirit of hospitality,” says Mr Thakur. Which is why, in all his businesses, he has always strived to provide a great ambience so that the customers feel welcome and come back again.

Mr Thakur also believes that narrow focus on making money is detrimental to a brand. “If you are focused only on the commercial aspects, your product will reflect it. You will settle for less, for un-fresh products, your taste will suffer, and eventually, you will turn off your customers,” says Mr Thakur. “At Momo King, we understand that quality and good customer service should always be the top priority in business. It is the only way you build brand loyalty.”

Standing out in the crowd

What Momo King plans to do is to create a niche for itself. “We are not going to serve our customers only one type of products,” says Mr Thakur. “What we will do is go beyond the usual chain restaurant formula. We will serve our customer’s fresh products that incorporate the local flavours as well.”

This is truly an ambitious gambit because each city and region in India has its own take on Momo. In some places, momo are all about heat and spiciness, while in others, they are more of a wholesome and soothing nature. To make sure that customers get the local zing in their nearby Momo King servings, the brand aims to have centralized kitchens in every region. This way, the products stay fresh, the local flavours get infused, and uniformity in taste is maintained across all outlets in that circle.

The vision for the brand

Mr Thakur is optimistic about Momo King’s worldwide success. “We are looking at all possible areas, “ he says. “We do not want to leave anything unexamined.” The plan is to open 120 outlets in India over the next two years. The brand will operate its own stores, as well as look for franchisees to reach customers- depending on the local market.

Momo King has a unique business model- it requires less investment, and Mr Thakur is confident that franchisees will be able to recover their expenses much faster than in other businesses. Because Momo King stresses on affordability along with product quality, it will drum up volumes faster and maintain a loyal customer base and cement the brand as the one that defines the authentic taste of Himalayan momo.

In India, Momo King plans to operate kiosks, stand-alone stalls and proper dine-in facilities. Momo King has something for everyone- because its founder believes that his brand should reflect the versatile nature of the products he is serving. “Momo are great as snacks, they are a popular street food, and you can also have them as lunch and dinner,” he says. “So we want to make sure that you will find a Momo King outlet that will serve you for whatever occasion you have in mind.”

And that makes sense, since Momo King wants to respond to the needs of young India. “Our products are great, our service is fast, and we are authentic,” Mr Thakur talks about his company. “We understand that our customers look for quality at affordable rates, and often prefer to have their food on the go. We want to be everything they are looking for.”

Momo King wants to reach out to as many customers as possible and wants to keep their customers happy. Being a progressive, friendly and forward-thinking brand, Momo King keeps innovating its products. You will find new recipes and concepts regularly at Momo King.

Momo King aspires to create value for its stakeholders and serve its customers with gusto. “We are a friendly, helpful, cheerful team that believes in satisfying your appetites”, says Mr Thakur. “Momo King is poised at the edge of a global breakthrough. We aim to tickle your taste buds and take the spirit of Himalayan hospitality and cuisine to the world.”