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Street smart dosa plaza


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Street smart dosa plaza

  3. 3.  Born in 1973 in Nagalapuram, in Tuticorin district, Tamil Nadu.  Out of six brothers and one sister, PG was the fourth child.  Father had farming business, but was never very successful.  PG belonged to Nadar community and attended local school up to class 10th.
  5. 5. Cousin‟s coffee shop- Chennai Job in coffee & rice trading business Cleaner at Das Bakery in Sion-Mumbai Cleaner at Bakery in Satguru Hotel-Chembur Dishwasher in Gurudev Hotel
  6. 6. Tea boy-Prem Sagar Restaurant 50:50 partner in “chai ki dukan”-Vashi, sector 3-4 mkt. Own roadside stall-1992 Hathgadi shop near bus depot Own South Indian stall-Vashi, sector-17
  7. 7. Opened a “kirana shop” business for brother-Chennai Rented shop next to Vashi station-January 1998 “Prem Ganapathy‟s Prem Sagar Dosa Plaza” was born Opened a Chinese stall after 3-4 months – “Failed” Did Trade marketing & Branding
  8. 8. 2002: 2 outlets, staff of 15, turnover of Rs.10,00,000 p/m August 2003: Dosa Plaza in Center One Mall Did more Branding with “Think Why Not” Gave a Franchise in Cine Wonder Mall- Thane Today: 150 employees, 26 outlets(5 company owned, 21 franchised) turnover over Rs. 5,00,00,000
  9. 9. 1.COUSIN‟S COFFEE SHOP “CHENNAI” PG went to Chennai where his father and brothers were already working. “I learnt how to grind coffee beans… wo sab seekha maine.”
  10. 10. 2. JOB IN COFFEE & RICE TRADING BUSINESS  After a break to attend the annual pooja in his village, Prem took this job.  He would have continued learning the tricks of trading, BUT…  “Mera maalik ka ek bhai Bombay se aaya tha 1990 mein. Uske saath main Bombay chala gaya.  Prem was 17 years old and was curious to see the world. He set off for the city without telling anyone.  But what happened there was even more filmi.
  11. 11.  The only person he knew there was the one with whom he came to Mumbai. And the person left him at Bandra Station and disappeared.  “Mujhe kuch bhaasa vagairah kuch maalum nahi tha.”  A kind Tamilian took him to the Mariamman temple whereby well wishers started collecting money for his return ticket.  Prem said “No way! Main yahin pe kuch kaam karega.”
  12. 12. 3.CLEANER AT DAS BAKERY IN SION-MUMBAI What was the work? The work that he was given there was of “cleaning the pathra, the trays and ovens where pizzas and burgers were made.
  13. 13. 4. CLEANER AT BAKERY IN SATGURU HOTEL-CHEMBUR  After six months, he went back to his village.  On returning, he found another job – this time with the Bakery at Satguru hotel in Chembur.
  14. 14. 5. DISHWASHER IN GURUDEV HOTEL  In 1991, the owner of Satguru started another venture- in Vashi‟s APMC market.  PG now found himself working at Gurudev hotel in the mori. He clarifies, “Dishwasher”.  “Main unko kaafi request karta tha… main tenth tak padhaa hoon. Mujhe thoda English knowledge hai. Mujhe waiter banaao ya to bahar chai leke jaane ka kaam do. Kuch nahin to kam se kam table clean karne ka job de do…”
  15. 15.  “The stomach may be empty, but a man can still have fire in his belly.”  The trouble was that the owner avoided the young man as there were some regional cartels and “Madrasis” were not favored for the „front side‟ jobs such as waiting on tables.  They were confined to the kitchen while locals and Mangaloreans got preference.  “I felt very hurt, very upset,” said Prem. But he could do nothing except bide his time.
  16. 16. 6. TEA BOY-PREM SAGAR RESTAURANT  Prem‟s luck turned when a new restaurant called “Prem Sagar” opened next door.  Why is a tea boy better off than a dishwasher?  “Baahar chai lekar jaana fetches you a commission of 10%.  And a chance to build clients.”  Prem Ganapathy was a natural. While other boys did a business of Rs. 300 per day at best, he would routinely manage to net a thousand.  What was the secret?
  17. 17. “HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS”  Whether you are selling tea or servicing a Fortune 500 client – the principle is the same.  He greeted everyone cheerfully and always made a small talk with everyone.  People used to call and ask for him by his name.  Prem earned Rs. 100/day, boarding and lodging free.  But there was still more to come.
  18. 18. 7. 50:50 PARTNER IN “CHAI KI DUKAN” VASHI  One of his customers, a Tamilian gentleman, made an offer.  He wanted to set up a tea shop in Vashi‟s sector 3-4 market.  He invested the money and PG started running the business as a “ 50:50 partner ”.  The chai ki dukan was set up in the back portion of a kirana shop.  Day one – shop started doing brisk business.
  19. 19. BUT…  After a couple of months, the investor got greedy.  Profits were touching Rs.8000-10000 per month.  Investor thought “ why give away 50% of that? ”  “ Mujhe nikal diya aur salary par kisi ko rakh liya. ”  Prem Ganapathy – clean bowled.  Back to the pavilion he was.  It was 1992, Prem went to his village for a vacation, and came back to Mumbai with a small loan from his uncle and a younger brother in tow.
  20. 20. 8.OWN ROADSIDE STALL With a capital of around Rs.20,000 PG set up a roadside stall of his own. Business was good, but the neighboring housing society was making life difficult.
  21. 21. 9. HATHGADI SHOP NEAR BUS DEPOT  Tired of the daily “ kit-kit ”, PG bought a haathgaadi and set up shop near the bus depot.  That venture too was short lived.  But call it „ never say die ‟, or no option but to get up and keep walking.
  22. 22. 10. OWN SOUTH INDIAN STALL -VASHI  After the failure of two ventures in a row, PG found another spot, this time in Vashi‟s sector-17, and set up a „south Indian stall‟.  He did not know a thing about making either idlis or dosas.  He procured batter from the homes of south Indians living next door; and he learnt cooking by observation, trial and error method.  “ Soon I realized the quality of atta was not good enough. So I bought a grinder and started making it myself. ”
  23. 23.  Prem Ganapathy‟s dosa stall flourished from 1992 to 1997, outside the Bombay Mercantile Co-operative Bank.  “Kaafi achha mera naam hua.”  Soon, Prem Ganapathy was making Rs.20,000 per month – as profit.  But not that any business is trouble free.  “Us samay starting mein CIDCO aata tha, bhaagna padhta tha. Baad mein municipality aaya. Municipality ke logon ne bhi kafi takleef diya hai.”
  24. 24.  You learn to have a “setting”, of course.  By this time PG was living in a rented house in Vashi‟s sector-11.  The house served as the „kitchen‟ from where all the chutneys, potato bhaji and dosa batter was prepared every morning.  The stall needed round the clock attention, hence two more brothers joined in to manage the operations.
  25. 25.  But why was the tiny stall so successful?  Idli and dosa was available at Udupis across Mumbai. Why then did people flock to this vendor on the street?  Because it was “ DIFFERENT ”.  “ I put a lot of emphasis on hygiene. Unlike other roadside dosawallahs we always wore shirt and pant, not lungi. We wore hairbands, and we kept the cart ekdum clean. Ekdum achhi aur fresh cheez banta tha. Achha dhak ke rakhta tha.”  Also the „branding‟ was clear and concise – right from the start.
  26. 26.  Not only was the stall popular with the aam junta, plenty of cars awners also stopped by.  This included the „bade log‟ in mercedes.  But still the food was economically priced. (2 idlis for Rs.4 and masala dosa for Rs.10.  It was far cheaper than the popular Navratna restaurant in the vicinity.
  27. 27. 11. OPENED A “KIRANA SHOP” BUSINESS FOR BROTHER  By 1997, Prem had managed to save a couple of lakhs.  With that capital, he put one of his younger brothers into a kirana shop business in Chennai.  Prem could have worked another year or two and headed back home as well.  But in January 1998, he took a big gamble.
  28. 28. 12. RENTED SHOP NEXT TO VASHI STATION  Prem put down Rs.50,000 as deposit and Rs.5000 per month as rental for a shop next to Vashi station.  Thus was born “ Prem Ganapathy‟s Prem Sagar Dosa Plaza ”.  And here begins the journey of a brand.  How did Prem came up with the name “Dosa Plaza” is an interesting story.
  29. 29. STORY BEGINS…  Prem had a roommate who was an NIIT student.  He created an email id for Prem and taught him how to surf the internet.  Between 3-6 pm, when he enjoyed a breather, Prem would go to a cyber-cafe, log on and „search‟.  “Kaafi main food ka bare mein sochta tha ki kaisa kya hota hai. McDonald‟s, Pizza Hut sabka baare mein idea aaya mujhe.”  Prem realized that he was famous for „dosas‟. Hence his name should reflect that.
  30. 30.  Like Pizza Hut, known for its pizzas. He considered several name like – Dosa Palace, Dosa Park, Dosa Inn.  Around the same time he also came across the story of the Coca Cola brand name.  Apparently, they had added the term „coca‟ before cola because it sounded good. Rolled off the tongue easily.  Surely he wanted to find a word to add some zing to his „dosa‟.
  31. 31.  He used to go to „Vashi Plaza‟ often for work.  And one day it struck him – “Dosa Plaza” – it had a ring to it.  “Phir maine ek din „plaza‟ ka meaning dictionary mein dekha. Toh open building ko; open space building ko „plaza‟ bolte hain.”  Since he too was operating from an open space, the name was perfect: „Prem Ganapathy‟s Prem Sagar Dosa Plaza‟.  He even built a website for his open air eatery – probably the first dosa shop in the country to do so, but there was more to come.
  32. 32. 13. OPENED A CHINESE STALL “FAILED”  Customers were demanding more „variety‟.  After 3-4 months, Prem opened a Chinese stall next door called „Chinese Plaza‟.  It was a „Disaster‟.  “We had no idea how to run a Chinese place. We didn‟t know how to cook it… the proper ingredients. Also the location was no good. There was already an „Alibaba Chinese‟ next door.”  The venture was loss making and hence, was closed in just 3 months.  But the money was not wasted, because “kuch seekhne ko to mila.‟
  33. 33. BACK TO „DOSA PLAZA‟  Prem Ganapathy started experimenting. He created all-new concoctions with „Chinese‟ fillings inside the good old dosa.  Like “Szchewan dosa”…“Manchurian Dosa”...etc.  The NIIT students who hung around at the stall became his test market.  The students readily agreed, and gave their stamp of approval.  This is how the „Chinese dosa‟ became part of the menu at Dosa Plaza.  Customers liked it, and came back for more.
  34. 34.  Prem kept experimenting and inventing new varieties.  He went and tried different kinds of cuisines to figure out what could be mixed and matched.  But throughout his journey his role model remained “McDonalds”  Whenever stuck for an answer he would ask himself, “ How would they do it? ”
  35. 35. 14.TRADE MARKETING  “I noticed McDonald‟s write „TM‟ next to their product.  That‟s how he too got the idea of trade marketing his brand and his recipes. Also he needed to do this as many people were copying him.  Like „Sai Sagar Dosa Plaza‟, „Udipi Dosa Plaza‟.  PG got the „Dosa Plaza‟ trademark registered through an advocate.  Today, he has copyrights and trademarks for 27 of his recipes as well.
  36. 36. BRANDING  Prem was quick to understand the value of „branding‟ and publicity.  “Public ko mere stall pe leke aane ke liye maine kaafi mehnat kiya. New Bombay mein kitna bhi college hai, sab college mein maine stall lagaya. Bada bada banner ke saath.”  About how did he feel the need for branding, he says that “Main hamesha personally nahin khada ho paoonga.. Is liye ek brand bnana zaroori tha!”
  37. 37. SCENARIO IN 2002  Surely but slowly, the efforts put in by Prem Ganapathy paid off.  By 2002, Dosa Plaza was a certified success story.  Prem Ganapathy should have been a satisfied young man with,  2 outlets  A staff of 15 people, and  A turnover of Rs.10 lakhs per month.  But there was a burning desire – to do more.
  38. 38.  “Actually, mera profit jo tha maine kabhi nikala nahin. Bas mera ghar chalta tha.”  Prem Ganpathy wanted to grow and he was ready to sacrifice today‟s bank balance to invest and create a chain of shops.  About his vision he said, “Mujhe aur dukaan kholna hai, aur mujhe accha banana hai; accha service krna hai. Mera vision yehi rehta tha.”  It is rightly said that although a concrete vision and mission are necessary, but chance encounters play an important role in life.  It happened like this with him too.
  39. 39.  The team setting up New Bombay‟s first mall often visited Dosa Plaza for lunches.  The project manager who was a young man named Aman, got really friendly with him.  One fine day, he advised PG “Take a space in our food court!”.  Already wanting to expand, PG was immediately sold on the idea and despite stiff opposition from his 3 brothers, he went ahead with the idea.
  40. 40. HOW DID HE FUND THIS IDEA?  He had to make a huge investment to bring this idea into reality.  The investment included Rs. 3 lakhs for the deposit alone, plus equipment cost and interior decoration.  He could have applied for a loan from bank, but he thought that his file was not strong as he had no property to offer as collateral so – why would he be eligible for funds?  So, Prem went to his family and friends for funds. “Kaafi logon se main fund liya, loan pe. Friends circle se. Thoda thoda paisa aata tha aur main kaam karta gaya.”
  41. 41. AUGUST 2003  By the time mall was ready, PG was ready with his funds too.  In August 2003 – Center One mall threw open its doors. Dosa Plaza was a hit from day one.  Few figures about the earnings:  On the very first day, sales touched Rs.44,000.  The first month‟s turnover was Rs. 6 lakhs.  The profit margins – a healthy 15-20%.  At this point, Aman advised, “You need to do more branding.” He also referred to Prem an advertising agency called „Think Why Not‟.
  42. 42. BEING A CLIENT  “Unka saath maine ek hafta to main daily unko lekar aata tha. Food khilata tha. Product samajhne tak un ko maine time diya.”  The agency then swung into action and created a logo, mascot, menu card, POPs, posters – the works.  Dosa Plaza is using all of these till today as well.
  43. 43.  Although advertising is great, but there‟s nothing as powerful as free publicity.  The „108 dosas on offer‟ fetched Dosa Plaza plenty of coverage in local papers and on television.  After seeing „108 items‟ a question comes up in mind: “ARE THEY FOR REAL OR JUST FOR EFFECT.”  On this PG made sure that you get whatever you order.  He tells that, “it‟s a mix and match. We have 5-6 sauces. 5-10 chutneys. Dosas are the same. Vegetables also are mostly same..”  So this was the secret of how was PG able to offer 108 types of dosas.
  44. 44. THE SECRET  The trick is to train the staff to combine the stuff together and give it a cool name.  Like „Salad Roast Dosa‟, or „Mexi Roll Dosa‟.  The name should be creative but not too exotic. People should know what they are ordering.  The another important secret to successful running a chain is to be consistent.  Any outlet you go to, the food should taste the same.  Therefore PG made sure that all important chutneys and sauces are made at a centralized kitchen.
  45. 45. WHAT NEXT ??  The success of the Centre One Outlet was a turning point.  A world of possibilities lay ahead!!  But starting one new outlet in a mall – 200 meters away from his stall at station – was one thing.  But the major question was that “ How would he manage far-flung locations? ”
  46. 46. Two things happened after the success of Centre One outlet. First, PG learnt about something called „Franchise‟. The second big leap for Dosa Plaza was installations of „systems‟.
  47. 47. FRANCHISING  The company from whom Dosa Plaza bought its billing machines expressed an interest in opening a counter at Thane‟s Cine Wonder Mall.  The owner said to PG, “Humko franchise chahiye.”  PG did not know what is a franchise but he asked them for some time to think about it and meanwhile he did all the research about what a franchise is all about.  PG realized that many of the biggest fast food chains in the world operated on a franchise basis. So why not Dosa Plaza?
  48. 48. HOW DID IT WORK??  When it comes to franchising, there is always a fear that the franchisees might just learn your business and then start their own outlets.  But PG was not worried about this because he was in control of the important things.  The recipes, masalas, and sauces were made at his centralized kitchen only.  The staff was also supplied by him but the franchisees paid their salaries.  The franchisees were needed to handle the cash counter and make the upfront investment, plus bear the running expenses.  Dosa Plaza earned 6-8% royalty on sales which according to PG was a cool way to grow on someone else‟s capital.
  49. 49. INSTALLING „SYSTEMS‟  The company invested in software connected to a central server to keep track of billing, inventory and overall operations.  And of course, all this was possible because of „professionalization‟.  In 2004, PG took on a partner called Easwaran to look after business development and automation.  Easwaran had a background in computers and handled the software side of things.  At the same time, Dosa Plaza started setting up different „departments‟.
  50. 50. EXPANSION  Initially they were in a hurry to open more outlets and somehow they were also able to run them at break even. But then they started planning everything – all the details.  Purchase, marketing and most importantly, costing, became crucial.
  51. 51. COSTING  They made calculations for every recipe. How many grams of atta, how much vegetable they needed and all. He says, “ Sab ko costing ke hisaab se jaana chahiye.”  A training manager was deputed to visit outlets on a rotation basis and make sure that the costing was strictly controlled.  But now the question arises that: “ Who were these managers and how were they persuaded to join this unknown company which was in the less-than-glamorous business of dosas? ”
  52. 52. RELATIONSHIPS  PG says, “Mera hotel industry mein sabse relation tha.”  PG was able to sense that many employees were working with big brand names, but their aspirations were not being met.  Dosa Plaza‟s operation‟s manager Mendonsa, is one such example. He was recruited from McDonalds. Magar kaise?  He called him up and talked to him about his company and its fast growth. He told him his vision and assured him that although they might not get a better pay, but will be given more freedom, value, recognition. So he joined his company and so did many others.
  53. 53. ITS NOT JUST ABOUT MANAGERS…  Crucial to the success of Dosa Plaza are not just managers, but employees at all levels.  Around 80% of the original kitchen staff is still with Dosa Plaza.  The same guys who earned Rs.1,500-2,000 per month are now at „Training Level‟. They might not have a formal education, but they have learnt and grown with the company and now they earn as much as Rs.15,000- 20,000 per month.  PG also made sure that caste and community is of no consideration in the company.  PG says, “Hard work and talent is what we value.”
  55. 55. SOME MORE FACTS…  To market the franchisees in North India, the company tied up with „Franchise India Holding Ltd‟ on a 67:33 basis.  There have been enquiries from US, Japan, Australia and it has one franchise in New Zealand already.  They have one „express‟ model on Mumbai Pune highway and PG plans to open 20 more such outlets.  They had to shut down the Centre One outlet due to competition and reduced sales.