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Wyn scales up from the chopping board

Wyn scales up from the chopping board
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First Published: Tue, Feb 03 2009. 01 25 AM IST

Updated: Tue, Feb 03 2009. 10 38 AM IST
Bangalore: Have you ever wondered about the perfectly cut vegetables on your pizza?
Chances are the pizza shop you are at is a client of Bangalore start-up Wyn Brands. A cut-vegetable supply firm founded in 2003, Wyn bills itself as first of its kind in India—buying, storing, cleaning, cutting, packaging and delivering fresh vegetables to restaurants.
Wyn’s clients include quick service restaurants (QSRs) such as Domino’s Pizza, KFC, and McDonald’s. “Our basic business idea is convenience vegetable for QSRs, which can otherwise be an elaborate process,” said Wyn founder Stephen Poonnen.
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The firm’s clients see value addition in the form of high quality, consistency and freedom from hassles. “Cutting vegetables is a time-consuming, messy job. The vegetables supplied to us by Wyn have a shelf life of as much as five days and the quality is always consistent,” said Harsharan Marwah, vice-president, supply chain, Domino’s Pizza India Ltd, a Wyn client for three years.
Wyn, with a staff of 65, buys vegetables from farmers on annual contracts. They are cut by machines and packaged to exacting food safety standards. Poonnen says the inventory is turned around every two days.
Wyn has two storage units in Bangalore and one in Hyderabad. The processing capacity of each facility is about 2 tonnes of finished products. It has also tied up with a supply chain firm each in Mumbai and New Delhi. Self-funded, Poonnen’s firm generated revenues of Rs2.5 crore in 2007-08.
Poonnen said though the business model seemed simple, it was not without challenges. Growth is lethargic and failure is easy. Also, finding the right people to carry out a quality-sensitive work is not easy. With no fixed amount for orders by clients, the firm needs to be prepared for wildly different demands. The silver lining: Annual purchase contracts protect Wyn against price swings. “While dealing with tomato prices, you need to have strong heart muscles.”
Still, an investor said he saw scalability in Wyn’s business model. “In India’s retail business, food and beverages form the biggest component. Also, it is slightly recession-proof. People do not stop eating?at these outlets,” said Lightspeed Advisory Services India managing director Srini Vudayagiri.
Wyn Brands and SammaaN Foundation are two of the nominated companies at the Tata NEN Hottest Startups competition, of which Mint is the official print media partner. Details of the competition can also be accessed at www.livemint.com/hotteststartups
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First Published: Tue, Feb 03 2009. 01 25 AM IST