Dosa Plaza – success story

The early years
Prem Ganapathy, came to Mumbai for a job, when the person accompanying him from Chennai disappeared leaving him at Bandra station. Prem had no acquaintances, moreover he did not know the language. One fellow Tamilian took pity on him and guided him to a temple and appealed to the sympathizers there to contribute money for his return ticket to Chennai.
But, Prem refused to go back and decided to work in Mumbai and started cleaning utensils in a restaurant. He appealed to his owner, to let him become a waiter as he was class 10 pass.The owner refused, because of regional politics and Prem bided his time till a neighbourhood dosa restaurant opened and offered Prem a job from a dishwasher to a tea boy.
Lessons – No situation is bad enough to prevent a person from bettering it. It requires diligence and positive attitude.
Starting UP
Positive attitude
Prem became a huge hit with the customers because of his excellent customer service, initiatives and relationship and brought business of Rs. 1000 daily as compared which was almost 3 times to other tea boys. The life was good .
A customer made him an offer .He was planning to open a tea shop in Vashi in Mumbai. He wanted Prem to be his 50 -50 partners where the owner would invest the money while Prem would run the shop. The shop started doing brisk business when the owner became greedy, it hurt him to share 50 % of the profit with Prem and he threw Prem out replacing with an employee.
Prem was made of different material he was never going to be defeated. He took a small loan from his uncle and with his brother brought from the village opened his own tea stall. Unfortunately the neighborhood residents objected, he then started a hand cart but that also did not work out. He found a another spot and set up the south Indian stall. He did not know a thing about dosas and idli but learnt by observation and trial and error. The dosa stall was a huge hit and flourished in 5 years from 1992-1997. But why was the tiny dosa stall was so successful inspite of competition from ubiquitous Udipi eateries prevalent in Mumbai. According to Prem it was its hygiene, proper appearances of the waiters and fresh ingredients which stood out as a difference.
Lessons learnt- if you are sincere , determined and patient.. success will come to you.
He saved a couple of lakhs of Rupees and instead of saving and heading home he took the biggest gample of his life and opened a new shop near Vashi station and named it as Dosa Plaza.
He also tried opening the Chinese plaze next to the Dosa Plaza but it flopped miserably and was shut down in 3 months. Undaunted Prem realized that he at least learnt some lessons from it . He applied those lessons in making Chinese cuisine in his dosa’s which worked very well. He got passionate and invented variety of dosa’s with Chinese style like American Chopsuey, Schezwan Dosa, Paneer chilly, Spring roll dosa etc. The 108 types of Dosas in his menu gets him a lot of publicity
A chance encounter with a customer who was part of the team setting up a food court in a mall in New Bombay advised him to take a stall in the food court and again Prem was ready and willing to grow and expand.. His vision was to grow by better offerings and better customer service. He also went to an ad agencies to create the brand identity including the logo, brands, menu card, waiters dress etc.
Lessons learnt
Focus and sacrifice for goals and an open mind will give you immense return
The success
He started getting lot of offers for franchising and had to find out the meaning of franchising and its modus operandi. Dosa Plaza currently has 26 outlets and 5 of them are company owned . It has 150 employees and a turnover of 5 crores. All the branches are connected and networked and there are training managers and proper manuals to maintain standard and uniform product and services.
Merit is the only criteria, all the employees regardless of the caste or region are treated equally. They are loyal and have grown with the company. The original team of cooks which was the part of the first Dosa venture is still with Prem. Currently he is also getting enquiries from US and Europe for franchisees.
Lessons learnt
There can be millions of Prem Ganapathy. The only constraints exists in our mind. If we are willing to slug it out….success will come

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