Hey folks!

Did your mom become a Blinkit fan too?

Because everyone’s talking about how Ankit Sawant (an X user) got everyone free “dhaniya” (the Hindi word for coriander) with their Blinkit orders.

How did he do it? Well, he tweeted to founder Albinder Dhindsa, explaining how his mom was horrified when she found out that she had to pay for coriander leaves on the grocery delivery app.

That was enough for Blinkit to have a brainwave. It actually listened to Ankit’s mom and added the “free dhaniya” feature on the app where customers could get coriander leaves for free with a certain amount of items in their cart.

But it’s not just Blinkit who’s listening to its customers. Even Zomato’s founder Deepinder Goyal became the talk of the town when he took a customer’s feedback to improve a new feature. This feature nudges customers to try healthier food options within the app.

For instance, it could prompt you to replace the naan in your cart with a roti. Or even lower-calorie desserts instead of regular ones.

But what if you want to opt out of it on your cheat day?

Well, that’s what Zomato customer Arnav Gupta asked Goyal on X. And in under half an hour, Goyal decided to take feedback and make these healthy nudges an opt-in feature. So not everyone had to put up with them.

But hey, why are these food apps warming up so much to customer feedback?

Look, apps like these, especially the business of quick commerce run on wafer-thin margins. And engaging with customers is their only way to vie for each other’s market share. Yeah, it could mean pouring in a little more money or throwing in a few freebies. But if you win over a customer, you could also stand a chance to win their loyalty right?

And yeah, if that customer is a boomer like your mom, then apps like Blinkit can be sure that this loyalty isn’t going away any time soon. Quite a way for quick commerce apps to gain a few extra customers, eh?

Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵

Planting Seeds by Empty Hands Music

You can thank our reader Esha Sharma for this lovely rec!

What caught our eye this week 👀

Haldiram’s seems to be up for sale. But will it sell?

Haldiram’s acquisition is back in the news! And this time it's private equity (PE) giants like Bain Capital, Temasek and a Blackstone-led consortium who’re vying for a big piece of the bhujia baron.

But wait. Haldiram is a solid company. It made annual revenues worth $1.5 billion in 2023, 40% over the previous year and an annual profit of $200 million. Why then is it thinking of being acquired, you ask?

Well, apparently the generation following the Agarwal brothers i.e. the people who run the business want to pursue something else that they're passionate about. They don’t want to keep making namkeen. And that’s why the family wants to merge their Delhi and Nagpur businesses and hive the merged entity from its restaurant business, which they intend to retain even after striking a deal. But can they?

You see, these PE consortiums have come forward with an offer price of about $8.5 billion.

But the thing is that Haldiram’s has been consistently profitable and popular with a global fanbase. That makes the owners believe that their business is worth somewhere around $10 billion. At least that’s what reports suggested when it was rumoured to be shaking hands with Tata Consumer Products for a potential acquisition.

So the price bar is pretty high. And a drop in valuation may not really please the Agarwal brothers. Does that mean that the deal could eventually turn sour again? You tell us.

Infographic 📊

This didn’t make the cut ✂️

SME IPOs love September… But why?

On Tuesday, we told you how Varanium Cloud, a tech SME (small and medium enterprise) manipulated its own IPO. But here’s a fun fact we bumped into while doing our research for the story.

Apparently, the number of SME IPOs peaked in the month of September according to an article on Moneycontrol. IPO data for 17 alternate months between January 2021 and September 2023 showed that 15 or more SME IPO issues happened in 4 of these months. And 3 out of those 4 months were well… September (2021, 2022 and 2023)! Not just that, even the size of the IPOs was substantial during these months as compared to others.

So why do SMEs like rolling out IPOs in September, you ask?

Well, according to the rules, SMEs must declare their financial results every half year, while other companies must do it every quarter. And these financials must go to the stock exchanges for approval before SMEs roll out an IPO.

But that’s only if they do it before September. If they miss that deadline, they don’t just have to update their IPO documents but also have to get a go-ahead from the market regulator SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India).

And that might spell trouble for these small companies because SEBI is examining these IPO papers with a hawk's eye. It’s reading the fine print carefully. And that means a higher chance of rejection.

In fact, out of 50 companies that wanted to go public on regular exchanges in 2023, just 8 of them got the go-ahead. While the rest of them had to either wait for approvals in 2024 or were rejected.

This pace simply tells you the cautious approach adopted by SEBI. And SMEs with dubious intentions might just want to dodge that. Time for tighter scrutiny around such SME IPOs, don’t you think?

This Day in Financial History 📜

15th of May, 1940 ― The very first McDonald’s opens

Okay, before we tell you about the very first McDonald’s, let’s tell you that this isn’t the same Ronald McDonald restaurant chain you’re familiar with today.

McDonald’s back then was rather a barbecue joint started by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald. It served stuff like slow cooked barbecue and hot dogs alongside a long menu of other food items. Now, cooking these up obviously took time as the name suggests.

But despite being a slow service joint, the sales picked up pretty quickly. Maybe because the joint let customers drive in and enjoy their food in their car. The McDonald brothers employed servers who’d take orders and serve customers in its parking lot.

But no matter how much they tried to associate themselves with the barbecue business, the brothers observed that 80% of their sales came from hamburgers.

So they had an idea. They shut shop for a few months, fired a bunch of servers and revamped everything to focus on just burgers. The number of items on their menu dropped to just 9 including hamburgers, cheese burgers, French fries and a few beverages. These items were cheap too. Just 15 cents for a hamburger or roughly half the price of their competitors!

They also drew inspiration from Henry Ford’s assembly line production system, or a system that broke the manufacturing process into smaller bits with a pre-planned sequence and started the ‘Speedee Service System’. That helped them assemble the food ahead of time with a lower workforce. It was fast!

That impressed Ray Kroc, a milkshake machine salesman, who went on to become McDonald’s’ first franchise agent. By 1958, McDonald’s had sold 100 million burgers! And soon enough Kroc bought the business from the McDonald brothers for $2.7 million.

But despite breaking ties with the business, the McDonald brothers retained the original restaurant they kickstarted in 1940, renaming it “Big M”. That obviously annoyed Kroc, who quickly opened a McDonald’s around it. And that’s how McDonald’s drove out its first competitor, beating ‘itself’ to become the $190 billion+ fast food giant we know of today!

Readers Recommend 🗒️

This week our reader Pramod Bhat recommends 13 Minutes to the Moon, a BBC podcast that tells you stories about Apollo’s moon landing missions.

That seems interesting. Thanks for the rec, Pramod!

Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩

It’s time to announce the winner of our previous weekly quiz. And the winner is…🥁

Pankaj Pal! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch. And for the rest of you, we’ve moved the quiz to our weekly wrapup. So make sure you answer all the questions correctly and tune in here next week to check if you got lucky.

That’s it from us this week. We’ll see you next Sunday.

Until then, don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: morning@finshots.in).


Don't forget to share this edition on WhatsApp, LinkedIn and X.

📢Finshots is also on WhatsApp Channels. Click here to follow us and get your daily financial fix in just 3 minutes.