The successful innovation of the corn roasting machine by Bipin Kandel lead him to open his own restaurant at the center of the capital city where different unique food items are being served. The restaurant ‘Thetno: Makai Ghar’ has been serving corn food items since the last seven months, using innovation that is environment-friendly and serving unique food items that are local, organic, healthier and tastier.
Paramarsha Raj Dahal
Phurba Tshering Sherpa
The business innovation is about the creation of a fully automated machine which uses a minimal amount of charcoal, produces smoke as little as possible while perfectly roasting the corns. The machine operates with electricity and minimal charcoal. The machine, when connected to electricity lines with some burning charcoal placed at the bottom, starts to rotate corns and within 10 minutes the corns are roasted to perfection. The biggest strength of the machine is in producing delicious roasted corns.
The machine has made easy the traditional way of roasting corns by burning woods in open. The machine is climate-friendly as it produces less smoke and is energy efficient in terms of burning wood or charcoals. With less smoke, the machine also contributes towards preserving public health.
Besides new technology to roast corns, the Thetno: Makai Ghar Restaurant also reuses waste materials. As an example, the restaurant has used old bicycles to create tables. The tables are very attractive and save money buying new tables.
There are several factors behind Mr. Bipin Kandel's inspiration. First, he is a mechanical engineer by profession. Second, he is a great fan of roasted corns. Third, when he saw an old lady in the street selling the roasted corns, burning smoky wood on a rainy day, while her customers waited holding their umbrellas; this incident sparked an idea of inventing a corn roasting machine. Back home, he found no such machine available in the market. This pushed him to invent one. His invention lead him to establish his own restaurant as he could not find a buyer for his invention. For street hawkers his invention costing Rs150,000 is too expensive an investment.
Nepal is an agriculture country with almost 65% of the population engaged in the agriculture. The maize crop contributes 21% of the total agriculture production. Therefore, there is a greater scope for maize related business. The invention of the corn roasting machine addresses SDG Number 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure. The popularity of the machine may in future provide greater scope for maize cultivation. In the future, Bipin is also aiming to make machines that are more cheaper as well as portable so that small time street hawkers could afford to have one.
Thetno: Makai Ghar, which serves 15 different varieties of food items made from corn, has turned out to be a profitable business. Initially, Bipin had to invest Rs 1 million. Within a short period, the restaurant was able to generate a profit margin of 40-60 percent with an average daily sale turnover of Rs 5000. Currently, the restaurant is providing jobs to four people. The daily sales in the restaurant are on the rise. Due to unique food items, the innovative way of preparing food, and the use of social media, it has attracted customers. To address increasing demands from the customers, Bipin has also opened a new outlet.
Thetno is locally sourced, and usually comes from Panchkhal – which is situated about 50 km East of Kathmandu. During off season, corn is sourced from Chitawan and Hetauda. With the machine roasting ten corns at a time, it can serve more customers than can be done by a traditional method of burning woods or charcoal. The machine has made the corn roasting business to be much easier and smarter. “Corn is a versatile food. One can make a variety of food items from it,” Bipin added. “But in Nepal its use is limited, so we started experimenting with corn food items”. Makai Ghar sells unique food items like Makai momo, Makai Chatpate and Cheese Makai. “Sticking to our spirit of staying local, we have also started offering traditional soft drinks like Moi, Chass, and Lassi,” he added.
In summary, the business benefits include promotion of Nepali food, generation of income and employment, and increasing market opportunities for the maize farmers and maize sellers.
In terms of social and environmental benefits, the corn roasting machine is lot more environment-friendly as it uses less charcoal and produces less smoke. Locally produced corns are organic and healthier than other food items available in the market. The business is a blend of the innovation and emotion. The machine has promoted Nepali local food culture.
The popularity of the machine, in future, may provide a greater scope for maize cultivation. At a time when Nepal is importing food, the business innovation may pave a way for the country towards food self-sufficiency.
Bipin Kandel, CEO
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Kathmandu, Province no 3, NP
Business Website: http://www.makaighar.com/
Year Founded: 2019
Number of Employees: 2 to 10