Buchuk Labs develops robo cook to help working women

J Amarnath

J Amarnath


The seventh iteration of automated food cooking machine is capable of cooking a variety of cuisines, including Indian, Italian, Thai, Mexican, and Chinese, says Buchuk Labs CEO J Amarnath

In Indian households, cooking takes up more than three hours a day of an average woman’s life. Moreover, working professionals living by themselves mostly spend on eating out due to their busy work schedule. Lately, rising awareness about nutrition packed food choices has led many to lean towards better eating habits. To balance the time needed for cooking a meal and bring to the table a healthy home-cooked food, foodtechpreneurs have come up with the apt solution. Hyderabad-based Buchuk Labs, founded by J Amarnath has launched their flagship product, Buchuk, an automated food cooking machine. “Built on a patented technology, the device that can be controlled over a mobile application gives personalised diet plan too,” J Amarnath, CEO, Buchuk Labs, tells The Hans India in an interview

What inspired you to start Buchuk, and can you share the story since its inception?

The inspiration behind Buchuk stems from a personal experience I had in 2015 while working in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. As a South Indian, I found it challenging to find authentic South Indian meals, even in local restaurants. This led me to ponder the possibility of a device that could automate cooking according to individual tastes and preferences. The concept of Buchuk was born from this idea—a robot that could cook food automatically, particularly focusing on South Indian cuisine. The name Buchuk is derived from a common affectionate term used in South Indian families to refer to children, symbolising our mission to become an integral part of every kitchen.

What were the initial challenges you faced as a founder, and how did you overcome them?

As a Computer Science graduate, venturing into hardware and electronics was a significant challenge. Prototyping the product, especially the hardware components, was daunting. With no prior experience in this field, I relied heavily on the expertise of friends, co-founders, and various engineers to develop the initial models. The journey involved numerous iterations and overcoming issues such as environmental factors affecting solid dispensing mechanisms. Despite these challenges, persistence and continuous improvements led us to develop multiple versions, with the seventh iteration now capable of cooking a variety of cuisines, including Indian, Italian, Thai, Mexican, and Chinese.

What is Buchuk’s approach to innovation in product and service development, and how do you ensure continuous improvement?

From the outset, Buchuk has been a trailblazer in the market with no direct competitors. In 2017, when we introduced the concept of a compact cooking robot, many were skeptical. However, we believed in its potential to revolutionise the market. Our innovation lies not only in the hardware, but also in the software. Recipes are stored in the cloud, enabling continuous updates and improvements. We have created a marketplace where users can upload and share their recipes, fostering community engagement and empowering individuals. Continuous user feedback and rigorous testing ensure that we keep enhancing the product to meet customer needs.

How does Buchuk leverage technology to drive its growth and enhance customer satisfaction?

At Buchuk, we prioritise customer satisfaction through the quality of taste our device delivers. While our technology, protected by patents, is sophisticated, the ultimate measure of success is the taste of the food it produces. We use advanced technologies like machine learning and natural language processing to enhance functionality, but the focus remains on the end result - the taste. Our recipes can be customised to individual preferences, ensuring that every meal meets the user’s expectations. This blend of cutting-edge technology and culinary excellence drives our growth and customer loyalty.

How does Buchuk maintain a human touch in cooking, despite the automation, to ensure meals are personalised and enjoyable?

Maintaining a human touch is crucial for Buchuk. Our platform allows users to create and share their own recipes, preserving the personal touch and family traditions in cooking. This feature is particularly meaningful for users living abroad, who can enjoy recipes created by their loved ones back home. Additionally, our device offers extensive customisation options for spices, oil, and other ingredients, ensuring that meals are tailored to individual tastes and dietary requirements. This personalisation, combined with the emotional connection to homemade recipes, ensures that our automated cooking process feels human and heartwarming.

What role do partnerships and collaborations play in Buchuk’s growth strategy, and can you highlight a successful collaboration?

Partnerships and collaborations are integral to Buchuk’s growth strategy. We actively seek collaborations with culinary experts, technology partners, and food industry leaders to enhance our product offerings and expand our market reach. A notable collaboration has been with AIC, ALEAP,WeHub, from which we received a grant through the MSME Hackathon. This partnership provided us with mentorship, visibility, and ongoing support for production schemes. The grant and continued support have been instrumental in refining our product and scaling our operations, making this collaboration a cornerstone of our success.

What strategies has Buchuk implemented to expand its presence globally or in new markets?

To expand globally, Buchuk has implemented a multi-faceted strategy. We focus on building strong distribution networks and forming strategic alliances with local partners in target markets. Our marketing efforts emphasise the unique value proposition of Buchuk - automated cooking with a personal touch. We also participate in international trade shows and culinary expos to showcase our product and connect with potential distributors and customers. Additionally, we are leveraging e-commerce platforms to reach a wider audience and streamline the purchasing process for customers worldwide. Localisation of recipes and customer support is another key aspect of our strategy to ensure we cater to diverse culinary preferences.

Where do you see Buchuk in the next 5-10 years, and what milestones are you aiming to achieve?

In the next 5-10 years, we envision Buchuk becoming a household name globally, synonymous with innovative and convenient cooking solutions. Our milestones include expanding our product line to cater to a broader range of cuisines and dietary needs, enhancing our technology to offer even more personalized cooking experiences, and entering new markets across Europe, North America, and Asia. We aim to establish Buchuk as a leader in the smart kitchen appliance industry, continuously pushing the boundaries of what automated cooking can achieve while maintaining the quality and taste that our customers love.

What core values shape the culture at Buchuk, and how are they reflected in everyday operations?

Buchuk’s culture is shaped by core values of innovation, collaboration, and customer-centricity. Our office environment feels like a home, with team members often spending long hours working passionately on the product. We provide everything for our employees, fostering a sense of community and enabling them to focus on innovation. Daily operations are driven by a spirit of teamwork, with everyone contributing ideas and feedback to improve the product. This collaborative atmosphere ensures that we are constantly evolving and meeting the needs of our customers.

How has the ecosystem and support from other businesses or organizations like TiE Hyderabad helped in Buchuk’s journey?

The support from the Hyderabad ecosystem has been invaluable to Buchuk’s journey. Organizations like TiE Hyderabad have provided mentorship, networking opportunities, and funding that have been crucial for our growth. Special mentors like AV Rao have offered guidance and support, helping us navigate the challenges of the startup landscape. T-Works, an innovation hub that assisted us in the prototyping stage and helped optimize production costs.

Additionally, grants and support from initiatives like the MSME Hackathon and partnerships with incubators such as ALEAP WE Hub have provided financial assistance and resources for product development. The collaborative environment in Hyderabad has enabled us to connect with other startups, share knowledge, and access the tools and expertise needed to bring our vision to life.

(World Trade Center Shamshabad & Visakhapatnam have joined hands with TiE Hyderabad to start a startup series wherein prominent entrepreneurswill be featured. This is the 3rd interview in this series)

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