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Monday, December 26, 2016

Inspiration-From earning Rs 150 a month to running a Rs 30 crore business,



Prem Ganapathy was only 17 when he left his family behind in a village in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, without informing them. He had pinned his hopes on the assurance of work from an acquaintance and headed to Mumbai, in search of a job, meaning, and a livelihood. Although his acquaintance in Mumbai never showed up, Prem turned his misfortune into opportunity. He struggled his way up the ladder, and is today the owner of Dosa Plaza, a multi-crore business.

Prem did find work in Mumbai after his acquaintance bailed on him. “The very next day, I got a job washing dishes at a local bakery at Mahim for a salary of Rs 150 a month. The good bit was that I could sleep at the bakery itself. In the next two years, I picked up odd jobs at various restaurants and tried to save as much as possible,” Prem told The Economic Times. For the next few years, he delivered pizza bread to a hotel in Chembur. He then moved to Navi Mumbai and started working as a dishwasher in a restaurant.

By 1992, Prem had managed to save up enough to rent his own handcart. He started selling idlis and dosas on the street opposite Vashi railway station. “I borrowed some money from friends and rented a handcart for Rs 150. It was really difficult in the initial days. Many times, the municipality vans used to come and pick our handcart. But I was very positive and determined. I never gave up hope,” Prem told Rediff in an interview.

Prem was lucky to have some very educated roommates who helped him learn how to use a computer. “I took a break of two hours every evening and spent the time surfing at a cyber cafe. I used to read about various businesses and learned quite a lot. My brothers also played a crucial role in making the business a success,” he says. After witnessing the success of a McDonald’s restaurant which started beside his cart, Prem soon decided to venture out and start his own restaurant.

In 1997, Prem leased a small space for Rs 5,000 a month nearby and named it Prem Sagar Dosa Plaza. His business grew as he started experimenting with dosas. In the first year itself, he introduced 26 differe“My luck turned the day Centre One mall decided to open up in our vicinity. Its management team and staffers had often dined at our restaurant and enjoyed our fare. They suggested that we set up an outlet in the mall and we happily complied,” Prem says. Soon he started receiving franchise requests, including some from abroad. To date, Dosa Plaza operates 45 outlets in India and seven international outlets in three countries, i.e. the UAE, Oman and New Zealand.nt varieties of dosas, included Schezwan dosa, paneer chilly, and spring roll dosa. By 2002, his stall offered 105 different varieties of dosas. The time seemed right for expansion.

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