How team of four in Singapore grew a canteen to F&B empire

12 Oct 2022

From humble beginnings, our founder Neelendra left his corporate career working at Multinational Organizations like GE, SABIC and Shell, to pursue his love of food. He brought with him the 26-years of quality experience that prepared him for the trials and tribulations of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

First Indian Vegetarian Food Stall

He began sharing his passion for food by opening up a food stall at the SMU food court in Singapore, serving vegetarian Indian food. This marked the beginning of an exciting journey with a dream of bringing forth innovative solutions to the F&B industry.

Creating Out-of-the-Box F&B Concepts

The NJ Group Brand Experience & Service Standards have been created for NJ Group F&B restaurants to embody in the service experience they share with their guests. These standards will form a basis for NJ Group to create new out-of-the-box F&B concepts as they gear up the current organisation to become a successful NJ Group of Companies known around the world.

This essence is at the heart of everything we do. It is ingrained in our personality, our values, and the impression and promise we make to our guests.

Neelendra always want to add more for quality and understood the need of modern technology importance in business.

By 2017, Neelendra's portfolio of businesses had grown to an impressive size - he owns a successful restaurant chain with multiple outlets in Singapore called CALI, PEN & INC and ZITIMAMA'S world's first baked pasta QSR model.

Business started giving the fruits with the right amount of technology incorporation in NJ Group and purpose become the need for the organization.

Neelendra decided to invest in technology and to grow the business and INTELLIGENCE was incorporated to solve the technical challenges and to grow the business.

INTELLIGENCE has always aimed to identify issues that bug the service industry and implement solutions that make life simpler, for our guests and our staff. Our primary services as follows:

SAS based products: We have many inhouse crafted IT based innovative products which are one of its kind, designed for the ease and profitability of the businesses. They are simple to adopt and use without any complications of interfacing. Some of the examples are Eagle ( AI based issue identifier ), Scootr ( An innovative platform for home chefs ), Digital Avatar ( A virtual salesman ), Road Chef ( Roaming kitchen ) and many more innovative products like this.

Design Thinking: We also do the design thinking for our clients where we bring in the experiences from the best minds of the industry and let their business grow

Collaborative Models: We have developed various models of collaborative marketing that already been proven with several businesses and are dedicated to creating more success stories

Internationalization: By leveraging the adoption of advanced technologies- based solutions among enterprises, INTELLIGENCE aims to foster the innovation ecosystem at a global level.

ZITIMAMA'S - World's first baked pasta QSR model

NJ Group latest development is world's first baked pasta quick service restaurant, known as ZITIMAMA'S. While this in itself may not seem like a huge deal, it's in how they sell their products that makes a difference - ZITIMAMA'S utilises a "digital salesman" that customers order from.

Vision: We want to revolutionize the hospitality industry with digital innovation and creativity - to take delicious comfort food and turn it into something quick served and fresh. To deliver an easily adoptable American-Italian QSR franchise model which could be run by any kind of group, with the help of technology.

Our primary business service is to enable the customers to easily and quickly start their ZITIMAMA'S franchise with low investment, easy operations and minimal dependency on skilled manpower. The way we have designed the ZITIMAMA'S model that every corner including the cooking, recipes, interior, raw material, billing, operation management and the overall QSR cycle is planned mostly automated and all the franchise owners will be able to deliver the seamless uniform experience to their customers across the globe, irrespective of their F&B experience.

The following unique key factors ensure the success of our franchise owners which are not available in any of the competitors:

I. Pasta has been missing from the QSR menu and there is a need of quick fresh pasta, simmered slowly but served fast

II. Cutting edge technology from cooking equipment to the operations, ensuring the uniform automated experience

III. Minimal dependency on skilled manpower (A single day training to start your own ZITIMAMA'S unit)

IV. Road chef-based delivery of fresh food to customer. It is like a roaming kitchen, available at customer doorstep with the hot fresh food. (*Design complete. Development to start)

All our business, product and services are innovative

Our primary model is out-of-box solutions based on real-time feedback with rational usage of technology, which leads to minimal competition most of the times because of the uniqueness of the products. We always aimed to identify issues that bug the service industry and implement solutions that make life simpler, for both customer and service provider.

Our thought process before start working on any of the products makes us unique and innovative. We always intent to limit the usage of complex technologies and maintain the balance between over-usage and under-usage of technology. Simplicity of usage and maintenance of our product for customers is one of the key parameters.

Based on our issue-identifier-approach, associated with the real time test-beds, in combinations with our domain experts, we have been able to create the solutions which actually solves the issues by correct identification of root cause and that too at the low cost.

Eagle - With the aim to tackle the biggest challenge of identifying the problem statement with the help of Artificial Intelligence and data analytics, while collecting, monitoring, and handling customer feedback in the service industry.

Scootr - an online platform that empowers unique band rare home-made food creators with reach and market exposure. Based on collaborative creation and consumption, this platform opens the world of home crafted food items to a vast and discerning audience looking for quality home cooked dishes.

The common approach across all our solutions is - we identify the root cause of problems in businesses and experiment on the same with the help of our techno- functional expertise.

We grew our business during COVID 19

Though COVID 19 was one of the worst times people ever faced in the history, but from the technology point of view, it was an opportunity to maximum utilise the power of IT solutions. We quickly and closely observed the key challenges faced by the businesses, specially the service industry.

We got a high advantage of having our own big spectrum of service based businesses in Singapore which only gave us the edge in designing the solutions based on real need but also provided the easy test-beds to implement those solutions hassle-free.

Finally the key growth factors for us are:

I. Combination of modern technology with our existence in service domain is an unique combination and its quite comfortable for us to try anything new.

II. Marrying domains of Food and Technology with experienced Management Team, Expandable Model and Established Brand Equity are our core strengths which ensures our sustainability. The unique features of roaming kitchen, digital avatar and employability of unskilled manpower ensures the engagement and sustainability. Low investment and minimal operational management generate a good opportunity for newcomers

III. ZITIMAMA'S is a young vibrant brand for millennials and has many interesting features which does not exists anywhere in current market. And we need a lot of further support and expertise in terms of publicity, mentorship, and financial support, to reach to a bigger shape globally.

IV. We aim to be the first QSR franchise model having maximum number of units at global level in two decades.