Translation: Saee Nikte It is said that a Marathi man cannot be a businessman Forget a Marathi man, a Marathi woman is standing before you, wearing a traditional saree…proudly..!!! operating the world’s biggest Maharashtrian restaurant that too outside of Maharashtra A 100 seater restaurant with 5 branches 17 years I had worked in the IT industry right from being a software engineer to technical lead to module lead to project lead to project manager, to account head And after that, I have switched my line to Purnabramha In these 17 years, I always came across one thing wherever you go the biggest problem was food No matter what time and place, only Idli Sambar is available to eat I had gone to Uganda for a project, I had received a letter from the company assuring me as I would definitely get idli Sambar there was no need to worry And I wondered- why not Misal? I always had this on my mind for almost 14 years since I was working in an IT industry, I had gone to Australia with my husband I believe whenever something is bound to happen people don’t get up unless the seat is on fire I had my seat on fire that was during plane journey I was returning from Australia and was carrying a baby then, almost three months old I was feeding her while collecting the boarding passes you need to mention whether you were a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian unfortunately we forgot to tell the airlines that we were vegetarians so throughout the journey we were served beef, pork and chicken We went through the whole 27 hour journey only on bread and butter that was the fire ignited I vowed there and then in front of my husband, that I will not stop until I sell Vada Pav in that very airline A puffed rice with a saute in mustard oil and flattened on a bed of a very nice spicy curry toppened with sprouts and tomatoes “Bring one plate Poha with Misal on it” Now that’s the difference! I needed to concentrate on how to take this difference on a global level Purnabramha was formed on that day, on that flight When I returned, Pranav said to me “It’s okay, don’t worry. We had only bread, that’s okay” “You come back and settle down.” I calmed down…but somewhere at the back of my mind I still had the thought that I wanted to do something about it The same job and the same routine was not what I wanted to continue doing Infosys was my dream job I left that job and started Purnabramha in 400 sq feet area, which was only a 24 seater I still didn’t have the Purnabramha, that I had dreamt of The start of Purnabramha was done by generating a website, Facebook page using all the strategies of digital marketing I did not have enough funds back then My very first investor is my husband I actually pleaded and asked him for the funding I told him and my childhood friend, who is now the partner of this company- Manaswini Foods Pvt Ltd “I have the wish to do something and these are the recipes” It took me 3 years to decide the menu for Purnabramha We serve 185 food items, everyday, in all our branches and with great pride selling Misal for Rs. 160…!! The reason for this is that there was no availability of such food When my husband went to Paris we realized that vegetarian food is not available there We can get croissants and rice, the sticky kind Pakistani restaurants and get the sticky rice and get sauce with it, mix it and eat this is how vegetarian people survived A few years back But now there is MTR, and of course Purnabramha too you had to live on that sticky rice and sauce By the way, I’m a hard core non vegetarian I can eat anything other than human But my whole family were and are completely vegetarian At home, it’s not even allowed to say the word-egg. I have to say “white potato” in front of my mother-in-law Yes, they cannot bear it. “You (non-vegetarians) eat like monsters!” there are those who say like this Rather than considering their thought process as a problem, i have built a best Purnabramha for them Purnabramha is the world’s biggest Maharashtrain restaurant run under woman leadership We give franchises to only to ladies, gents are not allowed to take a franchise Because, we feel that the potential of a women who is sitting inside her kitchen can be brought on a platform and can be served commercially with the best values given All of us, every woman is the ‘Annapurna’ of the household No matter how she cooks, you do eat it without a murmur, don’t you? The fact that she cooks for us itself has a great value and lot of importance My time table everyday for past 4 years has been It starts at 3.30 – 4.30 AM in the morning which gets over by 12 midnight within 2 minutes I am going to explain you I wake up at around 3:30 to 4:00 in the morning from 4:00 to 5:30, I update and check all my blogs, Facebook, social media, digital media, update all the details of all my centers and US clients are managed within those hours I have not two, not three, but four kids two kids, my husband and Purnabramha I cook tiffins and lunches for all of them If in-laws are with us then preparation for Lunch, Dinner and snacks I finish these morning chores and am at Purnabramha at 9:00 in the morning Till 3:30 pm, I manage all the centers and then head back home From 4:00 to 5:30 pm, I prepare snacks for my kids, pack them off to their classes bring them back home and go back to Purnabramha at 6:30 pm While returning home by car at around 11:30 I am stopped by the police to check whether I have smoked or am drunk since they find me dressed in nauvari saree Every Friday, I get checked by the police They think that I am coming from some pub with an attire But now those guys also recognise me Let her go, she is from Purnabramha For the last 5 years, this is how I am Going from skirt to nauvari saree, I realized many things and even preserved many things Tradition, tradition, tradition, it’s not just a word we should also have the power to preserve it trying the maintain Marathi tradition in a non marathi community it needs to be kept alive the way maharashtrians do it Therefore this is how I am We had to teach the customers how to eat Misal They used to put the sprouts in the bread and have it like burgers They had to be shown how it is actually eaten This made them understand what Misal is. and then stories about this Misal being best in the world and in London started surfacing Throughout this whole journey, I have sold 2,75,000 Puran polis till date I started with a small center. If you can see here, the place is only a 24 seater A customer once came up and asked us why we weren’t going for a funding Because of IT background I created a presentation in three days, presented it to the bank on the fourth day and on the fifth day, there were 75 lakhs in our account Banks have supported us like anything…seriously Got funding under CGTMSC scheme and other Government funding schemes all these avenues are available for fund rasing I made full use of that and built up a 5,700 sq ft place can accommodate 250 people in indian seating arrangements And after that we started developing all this as a franchise business This whole pathway was of my dreams Do you know what we all usually do? We burden our children with our dreams “I am taking all pain in life only for you” Don’t we mothers do this? while leaving for office “Get up…please study….i run around for you….the boss is nasty…the husband gets angry…on top you also dont listen” Why should our children carry the baggage of our dreams? Even I had my share of emotional blockages I have also cried…a lot! Crying is not bad, in fact it is the biggest weapon a woman has Cry with all your might! One must cry one’s heart out! I had my emotional block when I was coming late home everyday by 12:30. I was not able to see my babies I have 2 kids My daughter has waist-length hair, since we are in south, thats the only reason I taught my husband how to plait her hair and build up a support system for her My husband ties such beautiful braids! Better than I do! And I do not regret it If I do not hang up the wet towel lying on the table no one is going to take my Nobel award back from me Or even if I hang it up, I am not getting a Bharat Ratna We have to decide our own systems And we shouldn’t lay the burden of our dreams on our children Once I was in a complete emotional block I had come home at 11:30 that night and both my kids were asleep I just held their legs and said to them, “Forgive me kids” I am not able to give you even some time because of my dreams that I have to achieve Please bear with me I am going to be there with you, whenever you require me, and not when I feel like being with you Whenever you need me, I will be with you But now, I have to concentrate, please support me My baby was two and a half years old He woke up and said,”Mumma don’t cry! Why are you crying? I’m sleeping nicely.” And that moment gave me the strength to stand strong enough to start Purnabramha all across pan India and internationally What is the most necessary thing to build up a business model Dream, plan accordingly, execute it, and don’t stop there, make it into a sustainability model Success is not a destination, it’s a journey to pathway between Believe me, it’s not a destination, you have to follow! Correct? for selling Maharashtrian dishes outside maharashtra, when I had to call the Chefs I know I am a good chef since my kids like my food I started teaching my recipes to local people Many people asked me, “what do you teach and how do you teach? They speak Kannada and you don’t know the language Everyone understands the language of love I taught them with the same language of love, teaching them with hand gestures I taught them the most important thing taught them the difference between ‘Phodnicha Varan’ and ‘Sambar’ “Hey, we eat Phodnicha Waran and not Sambar! You have to cook Phodnicha Waran!”…..thats it..!! 50% of my employees are ladies in Purnabramha franchises are owned by ladies in Purnabramha Our effort is to select the local ladies,train them and employ them Without them, I cannot stand, for sure But even without ‘Phodnicha Waran’, I cannot stand This is the data of 2017- there are 36,000 McDonalds outlets and there are 13,811 Domino’s outlets We will surely build up 5,000 Purnabramha centers While going through this whole experience Sudha Murthy ma’am was a constant inspiration There is so much discipline in Infosys I have followed her every step I have read all her books I have incorporated her each behavior in myself I started behaving the way she told us to Some people give messages through simple things In our Purnabramha, the staff have their meals before serving the customers Every staff member has finished lunch before 11:00 am Purnabramha is most probably the only organization in the world if you finish your food completely, we will give you a 5% discount…that means, we are paying your GST and if you waste our food, we will charge you 2% more on your bill We tell this to everyone with such conviction, that everybody obeys Do you know who does not follow this? A Maharashtrian person! “Why are you charging a Maharashtrian?”, they ask “Don’t waste then”, I say we have been up to this task We really feel bad when we get bad experiences from Maharashtrians in non-Maharashtrian regions And when these experiences take place before non Maharashtrians, we feel disappointment “Come on, even we are Maharashtrians, why don’t you give us a 5-10% discount?” but why give a discount just because of that? “Finish your food and we will give discount.” Every Sunday a gentleman comes to Purnabramha to eat Puranpolis How many of you here are above the age of 55? Almost This man is above 55. He eats about 18 Puranpolis! This big! And leaves me a Rs.250 tip! We create a nice experiences like this in Purnabramha Purnabramha is starting its international and national centers throughout the world We expect all of you to join the Purnabramha team As and when you feel like And stand for your dream, is what I can tell you Follow your dreams, have dreams, because that doesn’t require any money Dream, plan, execute and make sustainable models out of them Only then can we have entrepreneurs And then even all the women will come forward. Along with Purnabramha Thank you.