Meet the Startups in Area 31: The Dumpling Club

Escrito el 8 octubre 2013 por entrepreneurship en emprender

Author: Angélica Medina

Dumpling Club: From Asian food to Spanish style

Are you a lover of international food? Do you like to eat and stay healthy? You don’t like to cook or don’t have time to do it?

For today’s taste and health conscious food lovers who have busy schedule, the Dumpling Club will provide fast takeaway healthy Asian authentic cuisines/ tapas made with local ingredients at affordable price.

Michelle Wu, creator of this business idea, shares with us information about the project and her experience as entrepreneur.

Where did you get the idea for Dumpling Club?

The idea started as IE Dumpling Club.

Initially, it was focused on distribution of handmade dumplings, made to order for classmates who are interested in exotic cuisines or want to add diversity to their diet. Products were produced by a reliable supplier.

The Club reached 101 members through word-of-mouth without any marketing activity.

At the beginning of this year, Michelle started to work on the business idea when she realized that there was a potential opportunity:

  • There are many Asian cuisine food lovers, who look for international food venues in Madrid to enjoy social life and good food with Spanish style: “tapas”.
  • Following the global trend on eating healthy, the demand for healthy tasty food is growing steadily and there isn’t any providers in the market that offer healthy Asian meal option.

For this reason, she decided to start a business to:

  • Offer quick takeaway Asian cuisines that provide 3 customization steps: the customer will be able to decide tapas type, sauces and cooking method.   There are also uncooked option for those customers who would like to cook Asian tapas at home.
  • Promote healthy diets.

What gap is Dumpling Club filling in the market?

Dumpling Club will be an international food option to Madrid residents through the opening of fast-take-away chains at selected areas in Madrid selling quick Asian healthy meal options.

It will offer Asian cuisine and fresh food prepared with healthy methods.

It is also an alternative to people who don’t want to cook and prefer take away service for lunch, dinner and parties.

There are so many international students and professionals who don’t like to cook or don’t have time to do so.

How Dumpling Club works? Is it a technology-based business?

Technology is not the core business, but will be incorporated to support operation, logistic and marketing activity: leverage on social media and other systems.

The core business will be the opening of fast-takeaway Asian restaurant.

What features would provide further differentiation?

Currently, there are very few competitions that offer authentic Asian cuisines in Madrid.

Dumpling Club will provide this kind of food and propose customization: tapas type, cooking method, sauce to go.

It will promote healthy food:  When people receive a receipt they will be aware from calories consumed as well as receive satisfaction survey.

Who is the customer?

People aged between 20 and 40 years old, who like healthy food and are interesting to explore international food or eating different to Spanish food.

The project will start in Madrid and then growth to other cities (Barcelona and London). Initially, Michelle wants to be sure it is a scalable business.

What development or new understanding since you started has had the most impact on your original plan?

  • Understand importance of distribution as part of the marketing mix: Know how execute distribution to be competitive.
  • You also need to understand the need of create an “experience” as a package: fresh food, friendly atmosphere, smell during waiting time, and delivering information (How much is it cost? How many calories do you eat?)
  • You need connections to look for a good place to open the store in a high traffic area in Madrid.

When do you have planned to launch?

Michelle said they want to be sure they have a social responsible business model and promote healthy diet.

They expect to launch early next year when they have legal and financial in place: licenses, venue and suppliers’ contracts, and funding.

Regarding source of funds, the Company will apply for loan from ENISA.

They are working on these things and other aspects regarding business model:

  • Looking for nutrition professional to evaluate menus related to calories and nutrition.
  • Develop of a website to launch a marketing campaign and prove the concept when review of business plan will be completed.
  • Explore alternatives to produce everything in-house to be competitive. It will be depend of cost structure.

Please describe each team member and their role

Michelle Wu, MBA from IE Business School, is responsible of Operation and Business matters, including: Marketing, Business Design & Development, Shop design, and Supplier Relationship Management.

Elena Rodriguez, expert in international trades and logistic as well as nutrition aspect, is in charge of legal and health aspects.

Alvaro Martinez, MBA from IE Business School, has investment banking experience and is responsible for finance aspect.

What have you learned as entrepreneur?

Michelle has won some learning about entrepreneurship:

  • Importance of find the right people who have complements skills.
  • Communication is the key challenge to do the best decision.
  • There is always a way to resolve issues and adverse circumstances.

What advice would you like to give to people who want to create a startup?

Test the idea.

There are a lot of channels to obtain advice. Find the community; people are happy to help most of the time and don’t spend too much time thinking or developing an idea.

It is not an easy decision to decide to go on your own; make sure you find yourself some supports families, friends or communities to keep you motivated.


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