Success with a dosa of reality: Ram ki Bandi of Hyderabad

Success with a dosa of reality: Ram ki Bandi of Hyderabad

Submitted by Editor on Wed, 2016-04-13 11:33 Hyderabad: Around 9 years back when Ram Kumar Shinde was offered a job with a monthly salary of Rs20,000 he had two options. To take up the job and sit in the AC office, or to continue his ‘not so attractive’ family business - that is to sell Dosa and Idli in a food truck. And this MBA graduate opted to work in his father’s roadside food stall called ‘Ram ki Bandi’. Now he pays Rs30,000 as salary to his chefs and employs around 27 people. This is the success story of Hyderabad’s very famous late-night eat-out place called ‘Ram ki Bandi’ and his 29-year-old owner Ram Kumar Shinde.      In 1989, when ‘Ram ki bandi’ started its business in front of the famous Karcahi Bakery of Nampally, it was one among many roadside Dosa stalls. Then a small boy, Ram enjoyed accompanying his father to the stall and was curious about the art of making Dosa and Idli. That interest didn’t die down even after he grew up and became an MBA graduate. He took over his family business but was not satisfied with the usual mundane transaction. He wanted to improve it and invested some money for that purpose. But, nothing much changed and he was disappointed with the result.“I asked myself. When there are so many Dosa stalls in Hyderabad, why should people visit mine? Then I started experimenting with different tastes. I started cheese Dosa, Pizza Dosa, Paneer Dosa et al. At that time Hyderabad was already buzzing with BPO and IT employees, but there was not a single place where they could get something decent to eat after 11pm at night. So I changed the timings of the stall and made it a late-night eat-out place.”The continental twist to ‘Desi Dosa’ and the altered timings (2 am to 8 am) changed the direction of the business. In few days, ‘Ram ki Bandi’ gained unprecedented popularity among IT people and general public alike. “I never compromised with quality and my hard work paid off. People started thronging my stall and now I get minimum 1,000 customers per day despite the erratic timings.” says Ram. Now just to taste the Dosa of ‘Ram ki Bandi’ people don’t mind taking a stroll at late night or get up early in the morning, breaking their sweet sleep.This must be the only roadside food stall which finds a place in Google Maps. If you search for ‘Ram ki Bandi’ on Google Maps, the result pops up instantly, along with other numerous related web pages. ‘Ram ki bandi’ is featured in websites like Zomato, Burpp and Foursquare.  Zomato has given Ram ki Bandi with 4.2 rating out of 5. Now, that is something rare for any roadside food stall. It has a dedicated FB page with nearly 46,000 followers. Many food lovers list it as one of the must-visit places in Hyderabad for food. The popularity of ‘Ram ki Bandi’ has crossed borders and tourists do visit this bandi and taste their yummy dosas.The success story of Ram doesn’t stop here.  Now Ram Kumar owns a nice, suave restaurant in prestigious Banjara Hills Area. This year old ‘Ram’s Dosa house’ is already a hit and has gained few more ardent fans for Ram ki Bandi. “Here we serve same items which are available on Bandi, but the cost is 10 to 20 rupees more and the timing is more suited for family crowd. My restaurant is getting rave reviews,” says a jubilant Ram. Since last year Ram’s life has become more hectic. He gets up at 2 in morning, pushes his ‘Bandi’ to Nampally and starts serving dosas by 3 am. He Closes his ‘bandi business’ by 8.30 am. His evenings are dedicated to his restaurant. Now, he has employed around 27 people and manages both the roadside stall and restaurant with equal care and passion. Though he is the proud owner of a famous restaurant now, he prefers to be present at the roadside stall and take care of that business personally. Ask him about it and he smiles and says: “This is where I started my journey and this will always hold a special place in my life and I will never stop coming here even if I manage to start 10 restaurants in future.” I think that lines make a perfect ending to this rags to riches story.