Popularising Indo-fusion cuisines through food delivery: Sumrit Buttar
Multilingual, adaptable, and a foodie are the three words that 25-year-old Sumrit Buttar feels describe him the best. Having lived in different countries around the world, Sumrit had exposure to different cuisines. Combining that with an undergraduate degree in Public Health and Business Administration from Simon Fraser University, he acquired a business acumen that helped him in his journey as an entrepreneur. The founder of OOHK and OOCA, Sumrit now wants to introduce Indo-fusion dishes to the world. Discover more about him and his vision in this candid chat.
What led to the inception of OOHK and OOCA?
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted all of us in the most unexpected ways. Due to stringent measures adopted by the Canadian government, that included an entry ban, I had no choice but to stay back in Hong Kong until the situation got better. It was during that time that I decided to begin my first startup: OOHK — Order Online Hong Kong. Since my family already owned two restaurants in Hong Kong, I decided to explore the concept of cloud kitchens for OOHK. OOHK (www.orderonline.hk) is a food delivery platform that delivers Indo-fusion cuisines around Hong Kong, some of which are exclusively served in traditional clay pots. The idea came to me after experiencing different dishes from several Indian restaurants in Asia and North America. Most of the restaurants have similar pricing, dishes are made using the same methods, and the curries almost taste the same. However, there is not one single food delivery platform that focused exclusively on modern Indian cuisine and introduced fusion recipes to cater to the palettes of not just Indians but foreigners as well.
This thought motivated me to start something where everyone could appreciate Indian delicacies with a twist. One can find myriad flavours in Indian cuisine that can suit anyone’s tastebuds. There’s a lot to explore and by using different blending techniques, there are so many new dishes that can be invented. After two years of successfully running operations for OOHK in Hong Kong, I decided to expand the project in Vancouver where I have spent six years of my life. That’s how the journey for OOCA delivery began. In 2022, my team and I opened a new restaurant called ‘THE BEEBA BOYS’, which is located at 8265 Oak Street in Marpole, Vancouver. This restaurant is used as both a cloud kitchen as well as a dine-in lounge where customers can enjoy Indo-fusion cuisines with a modern twist. I have partnered with master chef Paras Sharma who is widely experienced in working with Michelin chefs in several Italian restaurants in Vancouver.
Talk us through your vision for food delivery platforms?
My vision is to present Indo-fusion delicacies to everyone in the world, regardless of any cultural or geographical differences. The pandemic has profoundly changed consumer eating behaviours, concepts of cloud kitchen and food delivery have become a new way to expand your customer base. My mission is to change the perception of Indian cuisine using the concept of cloud kitchen so that the message reaches as many people as possible.
Is there any app for OOCA?
We do have an app for OOCA delivery, simply type ‘OOCA: Food Delivery’ on IOS App Store and Android Google Play Store, and you can download it without any hassle. The app is user friendly and will help you place your orders in no time. You should try it yourself and let us know what you feel about the user interface. You can visit us on www.getfoodonline.ca
What is unique about the OOCA delivery, what makes you different?
What makes us different and unique is that our delicacies, especially Biryanis, are delivered mostly in earthen clay pots, which can be kept warm for two hours. By doing so, we are using an environment friendly approach, reducing the use of plastics, and at the same time, generating job opportunities and microfinancing low-income manufacturers in India. Used clay pots can then be used for agricultural irrigation and plantation to reduce water usage to grow plants. Importantly, this is not restricted to just one city in the world. The plan is to cover as many cities and countries as we can, to introduce this model. The Indian fusion dishes are something new for the customer base to experience along with a sustainable environment for us to live in — our focus is on these two aspects. Eat healthily and promote sustainability.
Why OOCA and what does it signify?
OOCA is short for Order Online Canada, which is a branch of OOHK: Order Online Hong Kong. OOHK is now synonymous with Indo-fusion dishes in Hong Kong that can be ordered within a few minutes and be delivered hot and fresh via our delivery platform. I want to expand the brand in different parts of the world and OOCA is the second step towards that approach. One can expect the same consistency and efficiency that we have created in Hong Kong in the last two years. When you talk about OOCA, you would know our story through OOHK. That’s where our customers can trust us and experience Indian fusion dishes like never before.
Who is your inspiration?
My father Mr. Kulddeep Singh Buttar is my inspiration. As an entrepreneur-CA, restauranteur and foodie, he introduced me to world cuisines and helped me pick a few tricks and trades of the industry. To introduce modern Indian cuisine to the world is something that both my father and I wanted to pursue, and through his guidance, I can undertake my journey.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I want to open ‘THE BEEBA BOYS’ in every major city in Canada. Each kitchen will be used as a cloud kitchen for OOCA to promote modern Indian cuisine. By opening several franchises, I want to reach out to as many people as possible and introduce them to the fusion delicacies that will hopefully, create a huge market of its own one day.