[Interview] Rediscovering Biryani with Shayan Italia, Founder & CEO, Biryani360

Karthika Raveendran
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[Interview] Rediscovering Biryani with Shayan Italia, Founder & CEO, Biryani360
Shayan Italia talks to us about sampling 250 biryanis, splitting the traditional marketing models and going beyond food with their social media followers.

Does Biryani360 curate recipes based on consumer’s preferences observed on social media platforms? Additionally, how does Biryani360 use social media knowledge on consumers to their advantage?

Knowledge of food here is very limited. Biryani360 doesn’t use social media to curate recipes. That would be a disaster! In fact the comments we get are rather one-dimensional

By actually NOT listening to the market, going back to the roots of the original recipe, researching and sampling over 250 biryanis across India and trying to transcend barriers using the latest technologies and methodologies in food, we have managed to truly create something unique with Biryani360 that is both scalable and quality consistent.

Can you tell us, on an average, how many customers are generated via social media platforms? What does Biryani360 do to sustain that/increase that?

We’re only two months old but Social Media does play a part in gaining exposure and will do so greatly when we finish raising Series A funding which we’re in the midst of. We don’t do traditional social media at all. On the contrary we do the complete opposite. We use our platform to make people to become SOCIAL and then share that “social behavior” across their favourite platforms like Facebook, Instagram or twitter. We never talk about our product. We let others do the talking.

We expect over 10%+ sales then to come from Social Media when we get cracking.

Food being a visual experience, has Instagram/Pintrest played a prominent role in Biryani360's marketing?

For now we use them like everyone else. Twitter helps with getting the word and buzz out there, especially if you have larger entities endorsing you like YourStory, CNBC, a top Blog, food critic etc. Instagram has helped convert the odd sale, yes, but Facebook is still the president of the social platforms. India is still not a marketplace for great online conversion metrics as the Govt just doesn’t support online payment and marketing. The penetration is tiny.

How has Biryani360 integrated social media in their sales promotion strategy? (referring to discount offers, coupons)

 We have tried coupons, offers, and more and nothing works really as everyone claims the offers but they don’t want to make the effort to act on that offer. It's challenging to be a premium brand in this space, yet exciting.  Innovative posts with a small mention of a current or ongoing offer helps convert better overall as a strategy.

What is the one social USP of Biryani360 across various platforms?

We never sell our product. We sell ideas. We’re simple. We entertain people.

Out of the total media budget, how much is allocated to social media spends? (Percentage figure will do)

At the moment, we spend virtually nothing on social media. But we look towards activating this space post Series A funding.

Does Biryani360 have an in house team for social media management?

We’re a team of global thinkers with specific skills that brings a plethora of expertise to the table. We currently have a strong subscription list of 2,000 people on email and about 6,000 on Facebook, all organically grown from nothing since we launched. We use custom audiences in a big way on Facebook to target and get the most out of our posts. It’s a wonderful feature.

We would possibly hire a fully-fledged social media company down the line, maybe perhaps in 6 months or so.


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