Butchering Archaism

Famous American psychologist Joyce Brothers once said that ‘a strong positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success’ and this saying couldn’t hold more true for Anu Khadwal, founder of Jalandhar-based Bite Chicken House. In a community where women were expected to confine themselves to their homes and household duties, Anu massacred archaic thoughts to start the first woman-run slaughter house in 2009. In a few years, Bite Chicken House became a brand to reckon with for seven lakh residents of Jalandhar. Apart from being the leading supplier of raw chicken to local hotels, eateries and catering companies, Bite Chicken House supplies to Walmart India’s Best Price stores in Punjab region.

It has not been as simple a journey as Anu makes it sound, say her fellow participants at the Walmart Women Entrepreneurship Development Program. Anu gave wings to her dream after 10 years of marriage and two children. Always a food enthusiast, she was convinced her area of work would be around food. So she connected with her cousin who ran a poultry farm and suggested the idea of a slaughter house. Thus was born Bite Chicken House. Though ridiculed by family and friends for her choice of business, Anu remained undeterred. Her business was soaring and so was her brand. But she missed many opportunities for bulk orders as she lacked the production capacity. Anu then made some personal sacrifices to expand her operations and boost the business.

But things changed for the better when Walmart came into the picture. “My association with Walmart India was the game changer. It all happened in 2010 when I received a call from one of the buyers. Even though I was unaware of the brand then, I immediately agreed to be the supplier and there couldn’t have been a better decision for my business,” says Anu. But it was not as smooth as she thought it would be. Being a multinational cash & carry company, Walmart India’s Food Safety team ensured Anu complied with all the Food Safety guidelines prior to onboarding her as a supplier. “For example -- wooden chopping boards had to be replaced with steel tables, steel knives came in, then came the chiller and finally the FSSAI license. During the journey, I learnt a lot, streamlined my business and put in a lot of systems and processes in place. All this has paid off rich dividends as other leading retailers simply place orders without checking anything as they know I would have complied with all processes being a supplier to Walmart,” informs Anu. From supplying to one Best Price Store in Punjab, she supplies to all stores in the region today. In August 2016, Anu installed a semi-automated chicken plant, the only one in Jalandhar, boosting her production to a whopping four tons a day. The company now has an annual turnover of Rs 4 crore, has a retail shop and a restaurant.

Considered one of the fastest growing entrepreneurs of the city, Anu admits that her business and confidence both have got a boost due to Walmart and its training program, the Women Entrepreneurship Development Program. “I remember on the first day of the training I was hesitant to speak to the CEO of Walmart India, Mr Krish Iyer as I am not very comfortable with English. He told me that it’s not the language but your work that speaks for you, so don’t hesitate ever,” says Anu who gave a winning speech as she bagged the Special Engagement Award 2016 from Walmart India at its Annual Supplier Summit, 2016. And that’s the self-belief we wish to infuse in every women entrepreneur who is beating the odds.

Anu won the Special Engagement Award 2016 at Walmart India’s Annual Supplier Summit, 2016.