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Successful Small Business: Meet the couple serving mouth watering Idli-Vada-Dosa for the past 22 years and still going strong

The Successful Small Business Story:

This is a successful small business story of a couple – Mr. Mallesh and Mrs.Baby who have been in the small hotel business since 22 years. Their love for serving tasty and healthy food for a less than reasonable price has won hearts of hundreds of satisfied customers.

Founders - Vybhava Tiffen Center

Myself being a regular customer to this place, got a chance to interact with the owners themselves. Here are few noteworthy discussions that I had with them during my interaction.

Started on a footpath with a borrowed idli cooker and 1000 rupees as initial investment, the business made 35 rupees as its first day’s revenue (selling Idli for 1 rupee and Vada for 2 rupees). Today they are a successful small business with regular customers from various parts of the city coming in just to mesmerise their taste buds with morning breakfast comprising of either a combination of hot and fresh Idli-Vada or Dosa-Vada or both.

Idli Vada Spicy Green Chutney - Successful Small Business
Idli Vada Spicy Green Chutney
Masala Dosa Vada Green Spicy Chutney - Successful Small Business
Masala Dosa Vada Green Spicy Chutney

Mr.Mallesh, at a very young age was working as a cook in various hotels in the early 90s for around 12 years before starting on his own. Being a great cook but a bad manager gave him bitter experiences of having workers steal from the daily cash he managed to make. That is when, his wife steps in and decides to run the show all by themselves. From then on there is no turning back and have served thousands of happy and repetitive customers. The couple enjoys doing business all 7 days. They say, not working even on a single day, makes them boring and uneasy.

Making of Idli-Vada

The Crowded Shop - Successful Small Business


Outside View Of Shop - Successful Small Business

Quick Look Into Their Business:

Business Name:  Vybhav Tiffen Centre

Business Owners: Mr. Mallesh & Mrs.Baby

Location: Mathikere, Bangalore

Industry Type: Hotel Business

Dishes Served:  Idli, Vada, Greenish Spicy Chutney, Dosa (Masala Dosa & Plain Dosa) – All served hot, fresh and healthy.

Waiting Time For Availing Service: Minimum 10 mins on weekdays and 15 mins on Sundays

Blockbuster Dish: Crispy Uddina Vada – Spicy Chutney combination. Beware – You might end up ordering more and more and more. I did.

Timings: 8:00 am – 11:30 am ( You got to be early ) – 7 days a week

Customer Interaction: Good ( Ratings: 3 / 5 ). Two person management makes customer interaction a challenge because of crowded environment.

Unique Selling Point: Hygienic, Tasty, Fresh & Hot, Reasonable Pricing

Strange Fact: Several doctors suggest pregnant patients with low blood pressure to have their greenish spicy chutney for a sudden spike in blood pressure (I could not verify this medically)

Daily Challenges: Crowd Management – Fear of non-paying customers ( It is said,  an average –  2 out of 30 customers don’t pay either because they forget or purposefully cheat )

Customer Type: Most of them are middle class and lower middle class ( Though anyone are free to be their customers 🙂 )

Customer Relationship After Sale:  Nil.

Business Inspiration: Inspires each other mutually

Marketing Strategy: Nil. Completely rely on word of mouth publicity.

Any Scaling Plans (If No, Why ?): No plans. Fear of losing the quality, Fear of hiring, happily satisfied with current business.

Number of Employees: No employees. The couple takes care of their business themselves.

Learnings from this successful small business:

  1. Several hotels with an intention to attract more customers, invest huge amount of money in making their premises look world-class with costly furnitures and interiors.   ( I am not against it 🙂 ) To bear the expenses they overprice the items they sell. Sometimes, the quality of the food does not match up with the pricing. Whereas VYBHAV TIFFEN CENTRE has proved with its innovative and value driven food items,that, focusing more on hygiene, quality and taste can attract repetitive customers without overpricing the items(dishes served). 
  2. From VYBHAV TIFFEN CENTRE I learnt that, a brand is created with its blockbuster selling items. When I had a personal chat with several customers in their shop, I understood, 95% of the customers came there to have Uddina Vada- Greenish Spicy Chutney. There were many customers who ate almost 7 – 8 Uddina Vadas all alone. Even I did, but stopped at four.
  3. VYBHAV TIFFEN CENTRE does not prepare anything other than Idli, Uddina Vada and Dosa(Masala Dosa and Plain Dosa). They have created their niche in these items to maintain the quality. Every customer who comes there knows about this fact. So, if anyone thinks of Idli – Uddina Vada – Dosa, they think of VYBHAV TIFFIN CENTRE. I learnt that, a business should be known for niche products which is a key for brand building.

If you run a business that can be an inspiration to other fellow entrepreneurs, you can write to me at subhashku@busymonk.com or comment below. I will publish it on BusyMonk.com. 

Further Reading:

  1. [Inspiring Story: The profitable small business story of a Xerox Man]
  2. [Inspiring Story: Story of Successful Chocolate Business ]
  3. [Important Read: How to get repeat customers for your business ]
  4. [Important ReadBrand Building Strategies: 4 Steps To Build A Successful Brand For Your Business ]

About Subhash K U

Subhash K U
Subhash.K.U is India’s leading Business Explorer and highest paid Business Strategist. He is famously known for his business blog BusyMonk.com. He helps aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners to take their businesses to the next level through strategic business programs that he conducts throughout the world. He loves speaking to business owners to learn and understand their successful business models and strategies as he strongly feels that there is no single fixed formula for every kind of business.

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