Rajbir Kohli and Reena Kohli, owners of Brownie Point.
by Manjula Ramakrishnan
It all started with a hunt for an eggless cake by a couple. The search yielded no results but presented something much bigger – a great business idea that the husband–wife duo converted into a venture close to their hearts. Meet Rajbir Kohli, banker turned baker and Reena Kohli, the expert baker who jointly founded Brownie Point in 1997.
With four outlets in Dubai and 19 stores in India, Brownie Point is considered a good choice for beautifully crafted desserts.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the chefs are busy getting more and more innovative with their creations, say the couple.From banker to baker, how did it all happen?
Graduating out of a university in the US, I reached Dubai to work as a corporate banker. Here I got a chance to get up close and personal with some inspiring entrepreneurs and their rags to riches storied were like fodder to my inner entrepreneurial calling. I, therefore, merged my passion for business with my wife’s expertise in baking and thus came into existence Brownie Point in Dubai.
Back in 2009 I was out looking for a good egg-free cake for our first wedding anniversary and I recall running from pillar to post only to be disappointed. I was astounded by the expressions I received from bakers when asked if they can make a simple egg-free cake within a few hours. Finally, my wife and I ended up baking our own version of an egg-free cake at home, which actually turned out to be amazing. It was then I realised what a huge potential resides in this segment for there could be many having special dietary requirements, and just because it is egg-free it doesn’t have to be inferior in taste or required to be ordered 48 to 72 hours prior. From there began our quest to make this concept commercially viable.
Brownie Point has cakes as small as just 250gms, ideal for couples celebrating Valentine’s Day.
What is the USP of Brownie Point that you believe gives it a distinctive edge over competition?
Our USP lies in our core values: we never compromise on quality and handpick best-in-class ingredients from the most renowned suppliers across the world. There are no short-cuts in our preparation methods and we follow our most authentic recipes. We exceed customer expectations with our product, service and the entire experience of dealing with Brownie Point.
With so many varieties of cold desserts available, where does Brownie Point place itself?
Irrespective of the number of dessert options, a cake always holds a special place in the hearts of people, as nothing signifies celebration better than cutting a nice cake; you obviously cannot cut frozen yoghurt or a milkshake on a special occasion. Hence, at Brownie Point we are constantly trying to improvise our cake offerings with new and innovative flavours and designs, for nothing surpasses the joy of cutting a cake with loved ones.
What will be the unique offering this Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day is our busiest time of the year, as nothing underscores love than a good dessert. Since the occasion is celebrated by just two persons, a common dilemma among couples is that if they buy a standard cake it is too much for them to consume especially with the dietary concerns. Hence, we have cakes as small as just 250gms, which serves only 2-3 people and is ideal for couples. Apart from this, we have individual portions of Cupcakes, Brownies, Macarons which are all valentine themed and ideal for couples.
What unique expertise do you two bring to the table as business partners?
Honestly, I believe we make an amazing team, since we both naturally have unique interests and strengths which complement different areas of our business. Being an ex-banker, I’m good with numbers, handling corporate clients, good at identifying key people for key roles. So, I’m more of a strategy and numbers guy, ensuring we meet our projections and food costing, and hire the right people etc.
Whereas Reena, having an expertise in baking, ensures products standards are met and followed, and new products are regularly added to the menu. Plus, she gives the right retail experience to customers, giving a more human touch to the business.
What more do you want to do with Cakes?
We’re noticing that customers are more conscious about what they’re consuming and switching to healthier alternatives. So we are adjusting our offerings accordingly and incorporating different variants in desserts, which include vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, Keto-based deserts etc. to suit those needs.
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