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An unmanned kiosk in Chennai hands out biryani anytime you have a craving

At the BVK Biriyani Kolathur outlet, where they have installed automated dispensing kiosk

At the BVK Biriyani Kolathur outlet, where they have installed automated dispensing kiosk
| Photo Credit: JOTHI RAMALINGAM B

The Bai Veetu Kalyana biryani (BVK Biryani) was launched just 45 days ahead of the first lockdown in 2020. , Quickly, it flourished and created a large customer base during the two pandemic years.

As part of its latest venture, the organisation has decided to experiment with different methods of serving its customers and creating unique selling points (USPs). Two weeks ago, they launched their first unmanned biryani dispensing kiosk. “As we have established our brand and extended our customer base well in the past three years, we are now experimenting with newer methods, and an unmanned counter is a step in that direction,” says Faheem S, founder and CEO.

Watch | Bai Veetu Kalyana biryani kiosk

Initially, one could only pre-order the BVK biryani via their website. In 2022, they began to offer 99-minute and subsequently 60-minute deliveries across the city as they had established six ‘hubs’ across Chennai.

Now, their kiosk has a touchscreen display where their biryanis (mutton, chicken, egg), starters (chicken 65, fried chicken, kola urundai), desserts (pulpy grape juice and elaneer payasam), vegetarian items (vegetable biryani), and nashtha (breakfast/tiffin/light meal) are displayed. There are different meal portions, such as mini, regular and bucket, in the biryani section.

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“It is not a vending machine, as we don’t pack and store food in the machine. It is a takeaway that is automated, providing a unique experience for the customers. It is a self-service method, where the customer could go through the menu on the touch screen, select items required, make the payment, and wait for a minute or two for their order to be dispensed,” says Faheem.

BVK Biryani is packed in reusable tin boxes

BVK Biryani is packed in reusable tin boxes
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

He adds that the machine in Kolathur provides them the opportunity to study contactless dispensing and correct drawbacks if any. The success of this system will help determine whether they can open 12 such outlets in the city. Their central kitchens are located at Nerkundram and Thoraipakkam, and cater to North and South Chennai, respectively.

 Customers ordering via the kiosk at the BVK Biriyani at Kolathur

Customers ordering via the kiosk at the BVK Biriyani at Kolathur
| Photo Credit:
JOTHI RAMALINGAM B

The kiosks are the result of six months of research. “In this integrated machine, time management is of paramount importance, only then can we handle the peak hour rush,” he says.

There is a staff member stationed near these kiosks to assist anyone as the display is only in English. “Also, when a customer has no card or smartphone and prefers to buy with cash, we help them out,” says Gowthaman.

At the BVK Biriyani kiosk at Kolathur

At the BVK Biriyani kiosk at Kolathur
| Photo Credit:
JOTHI RAMALINGAM B

Besides the kiosk, Faheem has also launched Kalyana Nashta six months ago. In this segment, a special breakfast in served. “Our breakfast items such as idiyappam, idly, parotta, and chapati with non-vegetarian gravy are fast-moving, and available from 7 a.m. till 3 am.,” says Gowthaman K., city head of BVK Biryani.

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