Mumbai’s famous vada pav, akuri on toast, Bombay sandwich and Bombil fries aside, there is another specialty that Mumbaikars have at heart – the wafer ice cream sandwich that K Rustom’s has been in use for over 50 years.
This iconic dessert sandwich is rather simple in concept – a thick slab of ice cream between two crispy wafers. Since the 1950s, Iranian ice cream maker K Rustom’s has proudly offered this legendary dessert at its one-stop shop near Churchgate. Parsi boy based in Mumbai Jehan mehta, who grew up enjoying this dessert, always thought it was special.
After completing his university studies in the UK, Jehan returned to India. He knew his heart was not in the corporate world and was eager to pursue entrepreneurship, but a good solid idea had not yet germinated.
Soon however, inspiration struck – on a visit to K Rustom for an ice cream sandwich. Jehan realized how the age-old brand had kept its heritage intact with a loyal following, and it was a eureka moment for Jehan.
In a conversation with SMBShistory, Jehan recalls, “I thought to myself, why not take the ice cream sandwich across Mumbai, and maybe even all over India?” Opening a K Rustom’s franchise store seemed like an exciting idea.
Jehan returned to K Rustom the next day, but this time with a business proposition. He says, âThey weren’t planning to expand their business, nor did they accept a franchise. However, I was too inspired to give up, so I decided to take the initiative to make sure this local dessert made it across town. “
In 2019, Jehan foundedwith his school friend Soham Jhaveri. They set up the factory in the Prabhadevi region of Mumbai from where they delivered the orders. Today, the brand is opening its first outlet in the city’s densely populated area, Charni Road.
Ice cream sandwich for the masses
Jehan and Soham invested around Rs 75 lakh in total to set up an ice cream factory, bring in raw materials and the necessary manpower. In January 2020, the duo started selling their ice cream sandwich online.
âWe started from Prabhadevi in ââMumbai, advertising on social media and of course word of mouth also helped. We started to get a good response, ârecalls Jehan.
In the first two months alone, Tandy’s had sold about a thousand ice cream sandwiches.
Tandy’s Creamery Wafer Ice Cream
However, before Jehan could start distributing in other regions, the pandemic hit India, followed by strict shutdowns which led to the closure of many businesses.
âWe didn’t know how to react. We had invested money and it was blocked. There were absolutely no sales over the next few months, and we wondered what was going to happen next, âJehan admits.
Added to the circumstances were all the fears associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, as people became increasingly worried about consuming cold desserts. The duo racked their brains to figure out how to jumpstart the business and quickly decided they needed to pivot to stay relevant, leading them to launch a B2B dairy in addition to running the ice cream brand.
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Jehan discovered that local retailers were experiencing a shortage of milk. So, using his network and resources, he collaborated with a dairy farm on the outskirts of Mumbai to supply milk to retailers. Since this accidental foray, there has been no turning back.
Tandy’s Creamery quickly started supplying milk and paneer to restaurants, hotels, bars, etc. And once the restrictions started to ease and markets opened up, Jehan found that ice cream sales increased as well.
Today, Tandy’s Creamery sources 1,200 liters of milk daily and receives approximately 6,000 ice cream orders each month. The founder claims that the brand’s income is around Rs 7 lakh per month.
With around fifty customers in its B2B activity, the brand has also introduced classic ice cream packs for consumers and jar ice creams for B2B sales.
Prices for Tandy’s wafer ice cream sandwiches start from Rs 50. âWe want to meet the needs of the masses, so we operate at a nominal price,â Jehan explains.
He claims that Tandy’s Creamery uses all natural flavors and is a vegetarian brand with no preservatives in its ice cream.
Challenges and way forward
Jehan is frank when he talks about his challenges and says that the supply chain is one of the biggest issues for SMEs like them in the industry.
âIn the initial phase, we suffered a lot from the lack of cold chain supply infrastructure for a small business like ours. But we worked on it and now we have bought our own refrigerated van through which we deliver our orders, âhe adds.
While the brand has grown all over the place, Jehan is clear his original goal has yet to be met – he wants to make sure Tandy’s ice cream sandwich reaches the nooks and crannies of Mumbai by the start. next year. In December of this year, Tandy’s Creamery would have two more outlets, one in Churchgate and one in Andheri.
The company also plans to be available on food aggregation applications. Jehan is also planning to launch a line of sugar-free ice cream in the near future.
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