Tuesday, April 04, 2006

MBA + Idli Sambar Food Chain = Dreams & Optimism Unlimited

The last Saturday gone by, I was going through my usual round of morning newspaper and there was one news headline that excited me. The news was an "IIM Ahmedabad" grad Sarath, from the class of 2006 turned down a job offer of Rs 8.5 lakh per annum from an IT firm to pursue a career in catering. Of late we have been hearing a number of Indian grads getting into the shoes of entrepreneurship but they all tried the tried and tested waters of business.

Sarath stands apart because he hails from a humble background and he used to sell "idlis" in his childhood to meet education expenses and support his family. Even today, his family makes only Rs 2,000 per month. All that would soon change, he hopes. Sarath graduated from BITS, Pilani on a Tamil Nadu government scholarship. He did his IIMA degree also through a sponsored scholarship.(Source : Times of India.)

More than the entrepreneurship stint that Sarath is going to start, I believe in this business plan and his decision.The reasons for me thinking so are as follows.

1. Sarath has had the knack to understand the pulse and taste of the crowd to whom he was selling "idlis" . That mode of thinking was polished and fine tuned in a business management class room with the intrapolation and extrapolation of market driven factors,finance,strategy and networking. So Sarath has a strong business plan in hand and all it needs is a masterly execution.

2. Food is a basic need of man. The Indian economy is on a bullish track now and as per predictions this wave is going to sustain. Ok, we assume that this is going to happen, in that case since most of the Indian crowd now prefers to eat at least twice a week outside, his investment will definitely return compound dividends. Now assume, tomorrow something unexpected happens, the market falls and the Indian IT and economy comes to a standstill, even then his investment will break even. The basic reason is man is going to eat at any cost and since he is not targeting a Western or European chain of eatable items, his target base is very vast. So the crux of the matter is "Sarath always has a win-win option may it be any scenario". If someone knows how the KFC (i.e. Kentucky Fried Chicken) chain spread its tentacles the world over from a modest start can appreciate the strong foundation of his decision.

If you are from Bangalore and I am pretty sure that you would have come across a food joint and chain by the name MTR. MTR = Mavalli Tiffin Rooms.

The history of MTR Foods dates back to 1924, when the Maiya family started a small restaurant in Bangalore. In 1951 the restaurant came to be known as the Mavalli Tiffin Room. It was by then famous for the owner's passion for perfection and the superb quality of its south Indian cuisine. Even these days, if you go to the LalBagh MTR you can feel what authentic and traditional food is all about. (Don’t try Sundays, if you want that make an advance booking/reservation). The Mavalli Tiffin Room is and will always remain a symbol of pure and perfect south Indian food. The legacy of purity and perfection continues with the MTR ready- to-eat range of rice meals.

With time and following the same traditional way of doing business, MTR has expanded at an exponential rate. Earlier it started with only food items and later it diversified into "masalas", "ice-cream" and "packed food". Of late it has started its own outlet called "Namma MTR". It is MTR's food parlor-cum-store and serves as a one-stop shop for the entire range of MTR food products. The "Namma MTR" outlet is a unique amalgamation of three parts: The retail outlet, food court and concept kitchen.

The retail outlet stores the entire range of MTR products. The food court has a menu, which comprises of exciting, innovative snack items, which are hygienic and nutritious. These items include the Dosa Wrap, a dosa with all the accompaniments that people can eat on the go.

A small tiffin house of yesteryears has today balance sheets and profits which touch around Rs. 150 crores. I am not sure about the exact number (as I had read that in a business magazine few months back) but as far as I remember it is definitely in this range. MTR which earlier used to do business the crude way using pen, paper and the telephone to manage its supply chain, logistics and financial transactions has now turned to SAP, an ERP business suite to facilitate better returns in the modern day business. This is the era of e-business and they have adapted to the same. (Check the link here) to know the bandwidth and the coverage of MTR’s business.

End result: An excellent and well managed food chain having a wide network. Pure "desi" food. Sarath is not making software or gadget for any MNC and selling it to a client based abroad. He is feeding yummy food to us at a reasonable rate and is also using the IT to expedite his processes and business.

Great plan and shine on. I believe in him, his plan and I see him as the next age Indian "McDonalds" king.

Keep reading and remain connected.


At 1:49 PM, Blogger camelpost said...

We have recently been hearing news of IIM students grabbing jobs Rs 80 lakhs per annum package and what not. Sarath Babu who is a proud alumnus of Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani stands TALL in such a crowd with his noble mission. What the country needs is more Sarath Babus. When you are inspired by some great purpose, all your thoughts break their bounds to enable you to climb the most difficult peak, swim across the turbulent ocean and what not. "To dream anything that you want to dream. That's the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed". Sarath Babu with the passion true to all BITSians is bound to convert his good idea to a great mission. BITS Pilani and Entrepreneurship culture are indeed made for each other.

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Ferocious Killer Kat said...

wow!! nifty read!!

At 1:04 PM, Blogger camelpost said...

Food King Sarath Babu Shares his Burning Desire at BITS Pilani

Serving someone food is an extremely satisfying feeling. The smile you get after giving good food to someone is an experience to cherish.

Sarath Babu hogged the media limelight all over after giving a leg bye to the tempting salary package offered at the IIM Ahmedabad placement for starting his Food King Catering.

On 28 April Sarath took time out of his busy schedule to visit his Alma mater Birla Institute of Technology and Science ( BITS ), Pilani ( Rajasthan ) from where he obtained his BE ( Hons ) Chemical Engineering for delivering a talk on Entrepreneurship - A Mission with Passion. The talk was organized by CEL - Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership and BITSAA - Birla Institute of Technology and Science Alumni Association.

Sarath was welcomed by Dr R K Mittal President of BITS Alumni Association with a colourful bouquet in the jam packed lecture theatre complex of the Institute. In his talk Sarath focussed on the Key elements in Entrepreneurship, Various Stages in a new venture, Entrepreneurship and its relevance to India and also Social Entrepreneurship.

Sarath opened his heart and explained the struggle from his childhood and how he zeroed on his Food King catering which was inaugurated by none other than Infosys Mr Narayana Murthy, an icon for the new generation of serious Indian entrepreneurs.

Food King Sarath conquered the audience by making them eat out of his hands during the question answer session

Dr S Venkateswaran the Vice Chancellor of BITS Pilani and the prime mover for decades of educational innovation gave his best wishes and blessings to Sarath for the success of his venture.

For more details about Food King contact sarath_bits@lycos.com

At 3:27 PM, Anonymous disaster food aid said...

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