Adiga, founded in 1993, was sold in 2017 to New Silk Route Venture Capital, New York. Vasudev Adiga started Shree Ananteshwar Foods in 2018 and now manages two brands under it- Nandi Remedies and Cookery.
Over the past decade, engineers at India’s top institutes started quitting their casual jobs to start tech companies, and the trend picked up quite rapidly. A 2017 report by Randstad Workmonitor stated that 83 percent of the Indian workforce wanted to become entrepreneurs, with 56 percent indicating that they were considering quitting their jobs back then.
However, the story is similar to engineers who entered the food business in the 90s.
Vasudev Adiga quit his job to follow his passion for food. He founded Adiga which grew into a vegetarian restaurant with limited and inexpensive foods and became a household name in Karnataka from 1993.
Vasudev left the company after setting up 30 outlets in Bengaluru and sold it to New Silk Route Venture Capital, New York. In 2018, he started another restaurant-chain venture- Shree Ananteshwar Foods Private Limited. The new restaurant chain currently has two brands, Nandi Upkar and Pakshala. The group generated a turnover of over Rs 50 crore last year.
However, entrepreneurship was not easy for Vasudeva and his journey was full of ups and downs.
Food business engagement
Originally from Kundapura, a small town in Udupi district in Karnataka, Vasudev grew up in Bengaluru with seven siblings. Vasudev told YourStory, “My mother is a very good cook and she has played an important role in my love for food.”
His mother KN Saraswati is a pioneer in traditional food. One of the sites in South Bangalore, the Brahmin Coffee Bar which started in the 1960s, was his brainchild. Vasudev was always fond of food and often helped his mother in the kitchen of a Brahmin coffee bar.
Meanwhile, starting Food Place was not something Vasudev had planned in advance. After electronics engineering from BMS College of Engineering, Bengaluru, he was keen to complete his masters from an American university.
However, he did not get a visa. Vasudev said, “I got a job in several companies after this, but I was never satisfied with my professional career.”
Inspired by his mother, Vasudev borrowed some money from his father and started a restaurant in Basavanagudi, called Sri Lakshmi Venkateswara Fast Food.
With an initial investment of Rs 1.5 lakh borrowed from a bank, he founded Adiga. He said, “My concept of a Darshini brought a new form of food service in Karnataka. I created this concept to introduce several forms of humble Darshini. “
Story of adiga
Vasudev says, “There is a very strange problem in India that food is regional. Many times the food of one region is not accepted in another. ” The restaurant chain served Udupi cuisine with North Indian and Chinese cuisine.
But why only Darshini?
He said, “Food that can be cooked quickly is financially normal and can be eaten every day. It was the need of the hour. I first started the Adiga outlet and focused on this insight.” Vasudev opened the first Adiga outlet on DVG Road, Basavanagudi.
Once it was successful, they expanded it to 13-odd restaurants across the city. It went into larger formats such as fine dining multi-cuisine restaurants and also established Darshini-cum-AC service restaurants and Darshini-cum-banquet halls. This included corporate as well as external catering.
In 10 years, Vasudev borrowed and invested Rs 20 crore in the company.
In 2012, Vasudev partnered with New Silk Route Venture Capital with the idea of taking the brand to the global market. The New York-based growth capital firm invested Rs 110 crore in Adiga under private equity.
As a result, in 2017 Vasudev decided to exit the company and sold the brand entirely to New Silk Route. At that time Adiga had 30 outlets, with more branches in Kolar, Kollur and Maddur cities.
Vasudev says, “I decided to go out as a business decision. You know how enterprising we are, we cannot be stagnant. ”
A year later, in 2018 he introduced Sri Ananteshwar to establish two more brands – Nandi Upchar and Pakshala. Under the Nandi treatment, the brand operates two multi-cuisine restaurants on the Bengaluru-Hyderabad highway.
Nandi Upchar has been established to serve customers on the highways and has two restaurants with large locations to accommodate more people and serve quick meals.
“Our emphasis was on quality food, quick service and clean toilets, adequate car-parking space, hygiene to serve weary travelers.”
The cookery, on the other hand, is a chain of eight vegetarian restaurants, serving Chinese cuisine in eight shops in South Indian, North Indian and Bengaluru. This restaurant format caters to the population of Bengaluru who have moved to the city to pursue a career.
The founder says
“They rely on a pakashala-like format for breakfast, lunch and even every dinner. Stepping outside for a quick breakfast or lunch is a way to catch up with colleagues for a large portion of this population. Our outlets are generally busy to meet this need. Additionally, the kitchen serves the needs of families and friends who want to eat comfortably. ”
The group employs more than 600 people directly across 10 outlets.
Strict steps have been taken at the kitchen and Nandi treatment outlets to ensure safety and hygiene.
Restaurant Business During Pandemic
According to Mordor Intelligence, the India foods market is projected to reach $ 95.75 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 10.3 percent between 2019 and 2025.
However, the corono virus epidemic has severely affected the restaurant industry, preventing dining-in. According to the National Restaurant Association of India, which represents more than half a million restaurants, nearly 90 percent closed shop in March-end 2020 after a nationwide lockout.
Meanwhile from the first week of April the kitchen and Nandi treatment outlets are open for takeaway and delivery. “We have seen a steady increase in the number of people coming for pick-up food, as well as good orders from Swiggy and Zomato,” says Vasudev.
On 8 June, it opened all its outlets for dine-in at 50 percent capacity with social-distancing facilities. All the kitchens and Nandi treatment outlets are taking drastic steps to ensure safety and hygiene, as well as cleaning their kitchen every four hours. It is fulfilling its orders through Swiggy, Zomato, and Dunzo.
Vasudev’s new venture Mr. Ananteshwar is now focusing on keeping his fixed costs under control. However, this year’s business is uncertain for the company as the business has fallen by 60 percent.
Vasudev says, “People are still wary of food and prefer to order online or remotely. I am waiting for the situation to return to normal, but it will take time. ”