Bengaluru-based sisters Ramya and Shweta Ravi launched RNR Donne Biryani as a homage to their grandmother, aiming to make the food they grew up with a household name in their city.
Many battles have been fought over which variety of biryani is the ‘best’, or most loved. Some swear by Hyderabadi biryani for its mouthfuls of flavour, and others insist that the tender meat of the Kolkata biryani makes it a clear winner.
For Bengaluru-based Ramya Ravi, the answer is obvious — donne biryani (served in a leaf pouch), which her grandmother used to make. So entering the hospitality industry to start her venture, RNR Donne Biryani in 2020, was never a difficult decision to make.
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“The foundation of the venture was laid by clocking over 10,000 orders in our first month of operation,” she tells The Better India. “Since then, there’s was no looking back.”
Making Nostalgia a Part of Business
Ramya and her sister Shweta, who is also actively involved in the business, say that their grandmother’s donne biryani evokes nostalgia. “We wanted to find a way to take that same taste, which we have grown up with, to everyone else,” she says.
Meanwhile, Ramya notes, “I have always been inclined towards working in the hospitality sector. My father is involved in running several hotels and restaurants, and I grew up wanting to be like him. I have always felt that the kind of satisfaction and happiness that good food gives you is unparalleled.”
This idea served as the genesis of RNR Donne biryani. Having started in a 200 sqft cloud kitchen with an initial investment of Rs 5 lakh, the brand has grown to 14 cloud kitchens and a stand-alone restaurant in Bengaluru today.
What differentiates the donne biryani from the rest is its colour — green.
Ramya explains that even the rice used in its preparation is unique. “We use short-grain rice, which is called Jeeraga Samba rice. The green colour comes from some of the ingredients that go into the making.”
She adds, “While the donne biryani is available in Bengaluru, I always wondered why it wasn’t as popular as the other types.” And so, the sisters set out to make donne biryani a household name.
“A lot of it has to do with the marketing that some of the other biryanis have received. We intend to do the same with ours. We are sure that the taste and flavour that this dish is packed with will resonate with people,” she adds.
While the recipe is propriety of their grandmother, the name RNR biryani stands for Ramaswamy and Ravichandar, the names of their grandfather and father respectively.
An ‘Unforgettable Experience’
While the sisters always had the idea of doing something food-centric, the time they got during the lockdown helped them firm up their plans. “The lockdown gave us a lot of time to ponder over our ideas and strengthen them. We understood how uncertain things were for the hospitality sector, but we saw strength in our idea. The donne biryani sector is unorganised and that is where we saw a business opportunity,” says Shweta.
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She adds, “We worked on building trust with our customers. We ensured that we followed all quality control standards and provided only the most hygienic food. We even worked on our packaging. We launched our first cloud kitchen as an experiment. We are thrilled it paid off so well.”
Ramya notes, “Our idea was to give our customer an unforgettable experience. For this, we spent a long time ideating about how we should send the biryani to them.”
“We send it in a beautifully designed tin dabba (box), along with raita, salad and a sweet. This helped us position our brand in the market.”
Along with the biryani, which is the star, a drumstick chilly starter and the chicken ghee roast are also very popular amongst customers. One should be ready to spend upwards of Rs 190 for the vegetarian biryani and upwards of Rs 250 for the non-vegetarian option. Since its inception, the company has clocked a revenue of Rs 10 crore, the sisters say, and is poised to continue on this growth trajectory.
If you are in Bengaluru and would like to try the donne biryani, do reach out via their website.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)