Founded by 37-YO Ruchyeta Bhatia, Brewworks Private Limited is a Mumbai-based F&B company that runs two brands under its umbrella, ‘Love & Cheesecake’ and ‘Love By Poetry’, across 4 cities in India.
Ruchyeta is a first-generation entrepreneur passionate about the food and beverage sector.
In this article, we will understand how she quit her conventional job, took risks and entered the F&B industry after partnering with Marriott Chef Amit Sharma.
Born and raised in Mumbai, Ruchyeta Bhatia graduated in Economics from Jai Hind College. Her first stint with the corporate world was at an international market research firm, where she analyzed survey results. However, the allure of corporate life turned out to be temporary.
“I didn’t last very long there; I left within five months to start my own business”, Ruchyeta told Startup Pedia.
Her First Venture
In 2008, at the age of 22, Ruchyeta took a bold step and founded a proprietorship firm named The Paintball Club. With a borrowed amount of Rs 4 lakhs from her parents, the venture focused on adventure sports, particularly paintball.
Ruchyeta and her team would travel across the country and set up paintball fields for training and team-building activities used by corporates. Despite initial success, Ruchyeta realized the limitations of scalability, leading to the sale of the business in January 2012.
Entry into the F&B Sector
Ruchyeta was always passionate about setting up her own food and beverage venture, but that came with too many bottlenecks.
First – the need for a professional culinary certification. She applied to the Culinary Institute of America and was accepted to start in the summer of 2013. However, a six-month stint in a commercial kitchen was a requirement, leading her to Mumbai’s Marriott Hotels.
Over this period, she honed her skills and learned the fine art of desserts. This experience, though challenging, fueled her entrepreneurial appetite. The turning point came when Ruchyeta crossed paths with pastry chef Amit Sharma during her time at Marriott.
With over 10 years of experience in the hospitality industry, working with top names such as the Taj Group and the Marriott, Amit brought the necessary expertise and shared Ruchyeta’s passion.
This marked the inception of Love & Cheesecake.
Love & Cheesecake Came Into Being
Pooling their savings of Rs 85 lakhs, Ruchyeta and Amit established Love & Cheesecake in 2012 in a modest 300 sq ft space in Bandra. This was the only amount invested by Ruchyeta & Amit – post which they have only made profits and sustained on the revenue.
Love & Cheesecake started as a small experimental setup, taking orders on the spot from walk-ins, facilitated by word of mouth and mentions in food blogs.
After nine months of refining their product, the first official outlet opened in July 2013 in Powai, Mumbai, followed by another in Lokhandwala in August 2013.
Initially operating on a shoestring budget, with just Ruchyeta, Amit, and two helpers, Love & Cheesecake focused solely on their singular product—Cheesecake.
In a conversation with Startup Pedia, Ruchyeta Bhatia expresses, “In 2013, Cheesecake was a very naive term. Most people did not know what cheesecakes were, lest understand how they were made. However, our commitment to offering healthy, 100% dairy-based cheesecakes set them apart.”
Even in the face of increased awareness and the advent of foreign brands, Love & Cheesecake remains the country’s biggest and most loved cheesecake player.
As of today, this Mumbai-based food and beverage brand offers over 59 flavours; they make and sell more than a ton of Cheesecake daily, all free from preservatives and emulsifiers. Their most sold product is the Baklava Cheesecake.
“From day one, we have been profitable and operationally positive; we maintained a clean 15% EBITDA margin,” she added.
An Important Pivot
In 2016, Ruchyeta expanded her F&B portfolio by introducing ‘Love by Poetry,’ an all-day dining cafe, recognizing that customers sought more than just Cheesecake. Now located in Pune, Mumbai, and Delhi, Love By Poetry marked a significant pivot in Ruchyeta’s F&B passion.
Challenges During COVID
The COVID1-19 pandemic in March 2020 was a sudden shock for businesses across the country. People became cautious and avoided ordering from restaurants for a long time due to hygiene and health issues.
The food and beverage industry was the one impacted the most. Love & Cheesecake outlets were also affected – and shut down for a long time. Ruchyeta soon realized the uncertainty of the situation and turned this dry spell into an opportunity. She used this time frame to educate and experiment with her products – therefore, from May 2020 onwards, she introduced a nomadic bakery van.
She loaded the van with various bakery products and circled around important city hot spots with maximum residential properties.
One day, the van would be at Bandra selling bakery products and Cheesecake – another day, it would be at Powai – making people aware of the essence of Cheesecake, something she could not have done through her outlets typically. The pandemic turned out to be a blessing in disguise as people emerged from lockdowns with more information about desserts.
Between 2020 and 2022, Ruchyeta founded 17 outlets, responding to the enormous demand and growth in consumer interest.
Revenue & Future Growth
Now operating under the parent brand Brewworks Private Limited, Love & Cheesecake and Love by Poetry have a combined presence across 24 outlets in the country, contributing to a turnover of Rs 80 crore.
Every Love by Poetry outlet now houses a Love & Cheesecake section, accounting for almost 50% of sales. Despite the challenges posed by fast brands with pricey marketing strategies, Ruchyeta remains optimistic about the future of Brewworks Private Limited.
“We believe in our product and its longevity in the minds of our consumers,” she says.
The company aims to grow slowly and exponentially in a landscape dominated by trends and gimmicks, staying true to its commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.