In an interview with TechGraph, Eshwar K Vikas, Co-founder & CEO of Mukunda Foods, discusses how its innovative commercial kitchen technology simplifies complex cooking processes, by reducing labor-intensive tasks and ensuring consistent quality and taste, catering to diverse needs in the food industry.
Read the complete interview:
TechGraph: Mukunda Foods has been at the forefront of revolutionizing kitchen technology. Can you discuss how your products are transforming the way food is prepared and served in commercial kitchens? What specific features or advancements make your technology stand out from traditional kitchen equipment?
Eshwar K Vikas: We are a Kitchen-Tech company, and our idea is to help food brands scale rapidly with less dependency on skilled staff labor while maintaining food taste consistency. We have endeavored to address the strenuous and repetitive tasks involved in cooking processes, such as stirring, tossing, monitoring heat temperatures, frying, grilling, etc., by automating them using our technology.
Currently, we offer nearly 15 products capable of cooking 80% of global cuisine. These machines can replicate a brand’s signature dishes while adhering to standard operating procedures (SOPs). Our machines can be easily operated by individuals without extensive skills and still deliver the same quality and taste of food. By alleviating chefs’ constant monitoring and staff training, we provide them with a helping hand.
TechGraph: With the increasing demand for efficient and streamlined kitchen operations, how does Mukunda Foods’ kitchen technology contribute to improving productivity and reducing labor-intensive tasks for chefs and kitchen staff?
Eshwar K Vikas: For instance, Chinese cuisines are prepared using 3-4 kg (unloaded) heavy work, which requires skilled and experienced chefs to toss and fry all day long to cook hundreds of dishes. However, an automated wok machine called Wokie, offered by Mukunda Foods, helps in preparing food of the same quality and taste by automatically tossing the ingredients while maintaining an even temperature across the hot plate. It also instructs the operator when and what to add, ensuring that all the steps are followed at the right time. This ensures a reduction in labor-intensive tasks for kitchen chefs and staff.
TechGraph: Mukunda Foods emphasizes robotics and automation in its kitchen technology. How do these elements enhance food safety and hygiene standards in commercial kitchens?
Eshwar K Vikas: Through robotics and automation, we ensure lesser human intervention while food is prepared. And fewer human interventions mean less human contact to worry about hygiene. Since its brand’s recipe, ingredients, and SOP, safety is also addressed. Additionally, cleaning the machines post-use is quite simple and standard so the brand just needs to follow simple instructions.
TechGraph: Sustainable practices are becoming increasingly important in the culinary industry. How does Mukunda Foods integrate sustainability into its kitchen technology solutions? Are there any notable energy-saving features or waste-reduction measures incorporated into your equipment?
Eshwar K Vikas: In a kitchen, fryers can be the most energy, cost, and resource-consuming equipment. In a product developed by us – EcoFryer, we have included sleep and deep sleep mode. This saves power/energy consumption but also strives towards kitchen safety.
Also, when food is prepared as per the SOP without under or over-cooking, there is no food wastage. Also, since these machines are centrally connected, the business owner or chef can monitor the number of times cooking is done vs orders to control wastage and pilferage.
TechGraph: Mukunda Foods offers automated cooking equipment. Could you elaborate on how these technologies simplify complex cooking processes while ensuring consistent quality and taste?
Eshwar K Vikas: I will answer this with an example. Boiling or steaming rice may seem like a simple process, but it varies significantly for several varieties of rice and various types of food preparation. Cooking rice for Chinese cuisine, for example, is very different from Biryani. Each requires different timings for soaking, rinsing, and cooking, and it becomes challenging to control these factors with human judgment alone.
This is where the Rico Pro machine comes in. It ensures that soaking, rinsing, and cooking are done according to the chef’s recipe. The process ensures there are no lumps or breakages during cooking and even includes a buzzer notification when the rice is prepared.
TechGraph: Mukunda Foods caters to various sectors within the food industry, including hotels, restaurants, and catering services. Could you discuss how your kitchen technology is adaptable and customizable to meet the diverse needs and scale of these establishments?
Eshwar K Vikas: The machines come with a menu management feature, allowing the brand chef to load their recipes onto the machine. Once the recipes are set, interacting with the machine becomes easy, thanks to a simple user interface (UI).
Anyone familiar with an Android phone can operate the machine. Screens display the steps required to prepare each recipe. The chef’s specially curated recipes are saved on the machine with encryption and can only be accessed by authorized users.
TechGraph: Innovation and research are key drivers in the technology sector. How does Mukunda Foods continue to innovate and stay ahead of the curve in terms of kitchen technology? Are there any exciting developments or plans in the pipeline that you can share with us?
Eshwar K Vikas: Engineering has always been a core function at Mukunda Foods. We strive to continuously improve by conducting research with our R&D team. This team includes brilliant minds from companies such as IKEA, Bosch, Volvo, and more. We maintain regular communication with our customers, who provide feedback on the machines based on their usage. By utilizing the data collected by the machines, we can refine our technology.
Recently, we upgraded our machines with AI, enabling the brand to receive advanced alerts for service or updates. This helps us avoid showstopper situations and ensures smooth operations. Additionally, we plan to add approximately five new technologies to our portfolio this fiscal year.
Looking at the surge in demand, we recently opened one of India’s largest kitchen-tech manufacturing units in Bangalore. The 20,000 sqft facility has an installed capacity of 25,000 units per year with dedicated pre-testing and PDI of products, ensuring customers receive only the highest quality products.