Some women are home chefs, they have those amazing secret recipes that everyone wants to enjoy. Mrs. Rabia Nasir is one of these women, she has always been known in her family and friends for her culinary keenness. Mrs. Nasir exploited her skill in the business market by starting a home kitchen based food delivery and take away service called Capital Delights.

Capital Delights has been operating since 2012, and has become a prominent name in Islamabad.

The Capital Delights kitchen operates from 12am in the morning to 12pm in the evening and serves people with healthy, convenient, and delicious food. Recently, we sat down with Zoha Fatima (Mrs. Rabia’s daughter), who is one of the founding members and supervisors at the Capital Delights kitchen. The company was born in the personal kitchen of the family. But as the orders started coming in, a new kitchen space was created. Today the company employs two cooks, two kitchen helpers, a manager and seven deliverymen.

Let’s hear from Zoha:

Q: There are many women having good culinary skills but only very few of them consider starting a home cooking business, what’s your story? How did Capital Delights begin?

A: We as a family are real foodies. We love to eat and try new recipes. It was a regular day, we made some brownies at home. Everybody loved them and my brother proposed the idea of a starting a home food delivery business. So it started like this. We didn’t actually have a proper plan in mind. Until 2012, we were working on a low scale but in January 2013, we launched it properly and started a Facebook page. That’s when we started getting massive orders.  The ultimate driving force behind Capital Delights is that of my mother (Mrs. Rabia Nasir).

Zoha’s family works as a team to fulfill the orders they receive everyday. Zoha and her mother supervise the kitchen, her brother manages the business and her father lends his unfailing

The Foodies

The Foodies. Left: Mrs. Rabia, Right: Zoha and her brothers; Abdul Samad Amin and Fahad Amin. Image Credits: Capital Delights

Q: You have covered a long way. How did you manage growing into a big food delivery/take way service from a simple cottage kitchen? Do you see any difference in your operations now and then?

A:  Yes to become big we had to upscale our operations. The company started in our own home kitchen and we used to deliver the food in our personal car. When we started getting more orders we had to hire some employs and buy more kitchen equipment like ovens and stoves etc. And then we also hired delivery men to perform the delivery service.

Lasagna by Capital Delights. Image credits: Capital Delights

Lasagna by Capital Delights. Image credits: Capital Delights

Q: Efficiency of deliverymen is vital for a food delivery service to establish name. How do you manage them?

A: Exactly. There a few things that we look when hiring a new delivery guy. Firstly, how quick he is in terms of delivery and secondly how is his way of communicating as he will be representing us in front of our customers. We look for well-mannered and groomed riders who are good at customer dealings. My brother personally looks into these things and gives instructions to the deliverymen.

We faced a few problems initially in the hiring process. I remember that once we had a very good delivery boy who suddenly quit because he was working on a part-time basis. To reduce risks we formulated a proper code of conduct for the recruitment and working of the deliverymen.

Q:  The idea of a food service can be relatively more challenging, some people are very choosy when it comes to food. So have you ever had any cranky customers? How do you deal if a customer comes up with customer complaints?

A: We believe in delivering quality food. We always have had a very smooth relation with our customers and they love our food.  There haven’t been any such complaints. But if there’s has to be one then we will look into the problem and make sure to satisfy the customer which may include replacing the food.

Q: There have been recent food raids and people now have huge concerns about food hygiene. What food safety measures have you adopted in your kitchen?

The customers can walk in anytime and see how hygienically their food is prepared.
A: We always have had strict control over food hygiene and food safety in our kitchen. All the workers in the kitchen wear caps and gloves and we wash the kitchen two times a day.  I and my mother, as kitchen supervisors, make sure all the food produced is wholesome.

Q: Tell us about something that motivated you along your journey.

A: There were alot of challenges that ended up in motivation. One of the challenges was delivering an order of 400+ cupcakes for a TEDx event (TEDx Rawal Lake 2013) when we only had a single oven.  So, we bought a new oven and delivered all the cupcakes on time. Such were the triumphs that really motivated us.

Cupcakes by Capital Delights ready to be delivered to TEDx event Islamabad (2013). Image credits: Capital Delights

Cupcakes by Capital Delights ready to be delivered to TEDx event Islamabad (2013). Image credits: Capital Delights

Every day we wake up motivated with more energy. This comes with doing something you believe in and love doing.

Q: How important was it to stick to your idea? Can you share any memory from your kitchen?

A: Sticking to the idea and staying persistent was actually the most important part. I remember that in 2012, when we had just started we got a fake order from a person. It was a “take-away” order and the person never came to pick it up.

Things like this could have set us back. We could have shut our operations and stop taking any orders but we stayed persistent. The failures like this ultimately lead to success.

Q: Do you think Islamabad is a good place for a food business to thrive? For example we see many food festivals and expos taking place in Lahore and Karachi where businesses like yours get exposure and hence gain customers. Do you think you have got enough opportunities here?

A: Well that is true but I think that Islamabad is also catching up with the trends. Last month we had a King Food Festival here at Islamabad. Certain other food expos are also going to take place this year. So I think that the opportunities are here as well and are popping up with the passage of time. We usually set up our stalls at different universities and events to acquire customers.

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Capital Delights stall at Winter Fest (2012). Image credits: Capital Delights

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: We want to have our own food truck and then in the long term we would like Capital Delights to become a dine-in place.

Q: Is there anything that you would like to say to other women who have a similar passion for food and want to pursue this line?

A: I encourage them to follow their passion. They should avail opportunities, try new recipes and set their selling point. There is so much to learn!

The family’s passion for food gave birth to a successful food business. Their story is an inspiration to all kitchen enthusiasts and food lovers. 

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About the author

Saneea Imran

Saneea loves to discover and document the booming startup culture in Pakistan. She freelances with Daastan and likes to talk about public health, nutrition and lifestyles.

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