3 years ago
On the journey to make ‘Momos’ a brand
Regardless of the plethora of items on a menu, a true Nepali would always go for momos when given a chance. It’s this thought that fueled Niven Amatya’s idea for Bota.There must be hardly any place in Kathmandu where momo shops are not present. But despite of the many other options for good momos, people tend to throng to Bota. Within a year of establishment, Amatya has already set up three outlets inside the Kathmandu valley that are all doing equally well.
Holding a degree in International Business from American InterContinental University, London, Amatya returned to Nepal with a dream of opening up his own restaurant. Along with his vision, his parents—Daman Bahadur Amatya and Chandi Amatya—have been a great source of inspiration, he added.
Momo is a common dish but he wanted to add a personal touch to the age-old dish. Influenced by Newari culture, he thought of serving them in botas (a traditional bowl made of leaves from the sal tree). He then focused on three important aspects for his business: quality of food, quick service and cleanliness. Then he added a variety of chutneys to accentuate the momo’s taste. But, Bota is not only about momos since they also serve items like burger, chowmein, etc.
“There are many fast food restaurants in town, but none of them serve food fast. I focused on that aspect of fast-food. No one has the time, and people don’t want to wait very long for their food. All our food items are served within 3-10 minutes. But having said that, we do not compromise on quality or cleanliness; you can also find a consistent taste in our food,” he added.
Amatya believes that momos are a dish best served hot and is enjoyed better that way. “People nowadays are constantly on their phones, even in-between bites, which makes the food lose its taste. Bota has no Wi-Fi service because of this and the seating arrangements are cozy yet not too comfortable so that people lose interest in their food.”
According to Amatya, each of Bota’s outlets sells around 1,000 items a day. And his idea to serve food in botas consequently has given jobs to those in Nawalparasi, from where the botas are imported on a monthly basis.
Before starting Bota, Amatya opened Berry & Dairy Café in Maharajgunj. One-and-half year later, he opened N.P. Kitchen Pvt. Ltd. in Baluwatar, where the food items are tested for quality before mass production for consistency.
Bota first opened in Kumaripati where they received an overwhelming response from the crowd. People lined up to try their enticing menu. This was the result of outstanding marketing strategies and the strategies were evident in the opening of their two other outlets as well; Kamalpokhari and Anamnagar.
With each new outlet, Bota has introduced a new taste while experimenting even more. But with an expanding business, it is evident that Amatya can’t be at all of his outlets at the same time. His businesses run smooth because his 150-person staff perform well even in his absence. “We have a friendly work environment here and respect all as one while maintaining chain of command.”
And as good news to all the momo lovers, Amatya is not thinking of stopping anytime soon. Bota is all set to open its new branch in Jhochhen soon. And within a month, they will also be selling frozen momos that people can easily take home.
Amatya also shared that his next plan is to set up another outlet in Bhaktapur and subsequently to Pokhara, Dharan and Biratnagar as well and make it a national brand. And in the long run, he even plans to expand internationally and compete with renowned food chains like KFC, McDonalds and Taco Bell.
As a word of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, Amatya says that one should be expressive about their ideas. “Be ambitious. Nepal is ripe with opportunities. Youngsters go abroad, for education is important and it will guide them to a better life. But, rather than settling abroad, come back here and do something new. Explore all possibilities and constraints; and make a strong proposal that will help you make a mark of your own.”