An MBA and her 'Maa-ka-Pyaar' food cart
She quit her job as a HR professional in a leading telecom company to do something on her own. The food for thought on doing some thing came, literally, via the tummy route in her case. In a matter of days, Radhika Arora was on the road to success with her own business enterprise - a food cart.
Having yearned for home-made food made by her mother while she lived in a paying-guest accommodation here, Radhika decided to take a shot at providing home-made food to other professionals like her. Her idea and the food cart, #Maa-ka-Pyaar, were born.
"When I was working here, I had to depend on the tiffin service and outside food for all meals. I really used to miss the food that my mother made back home in Ambala. It was then that I decided to quit my job and start providing home-made food to professionals and others," Radhika, who has done her Masters in Business Administration (MBA), told IANS in Mohali, near Chandigarh.
For Radhika, her corporate work address now is a colourful '#Maa-ka-Pyaar' food cart that she has put up in Mohali's Phase 8 industrial area. Her peak operational time is just about two-to-three hours daily during lunch time.
With the traditional home food - from rajma-chawal and kadi-chawal to chana, bhindi (okra) and a few other home-like food items, Radhika's business enterprise was a runaway success with techies and other professionals from nearby offices enjoying her meals.
"Hats off to this girl for taking the risk of starting a business from the roadside after quitting her job. Her food is so much home like. Her success can be seen from the fact that all food is finished within two hours daily," Akshay Ahuja, a young engineer who has launched his Robotics World start-up to train students in the technique, told IANS.
Akshay and his team of young engineers are regulars at Radhika's food cart.
For Radhika though, there was no red carpet rolled out when she started her food cart. She had to face the same "on-the-street" hardships from local authorities that others face on a daily basis.
Every afternoon, dressed in a bright orange T-shirt and jeans, Radhika, accompanied by her assistant, Pradeep, and another helper, brings the food cart to a designated location here to serve home-made food in an absolutely clean environment.
"We prepare food for about 70 plates. All of it gets finished daily. I am happy to be providing home-like food to others," said Radhika, who herself does not like to cook and has engaged a full-time cook to prepare her dishes.
Though there are other roadside eateries around the place where Radhika operates, and she faces tough competition, her food cart is quite unique.
"My investment in this enterprise was around Rs one lakh. I got the cart designed, painted it myself and even put up accessories to make it look distinct. The name #Maa-ka-Pyaar came from my mother's home-cooked food," the young entrepreneur said.
Coming from a business family in Ambala in Haryana, 45 km from Chandigarh, Radhika says that her parents were unsure on how she would do business from the roadside, especially being a girl. Her father owns a gas agency there and her brother is part of that business.
"However, their apprehensions were over when they saw me operate here. My mother comes and stands with me here sometimes. My family has been quite supportive," she said.
Having stepped into her own business world, Radhika is already in an expansion mode. "I am planning to have a food cart in Chandigarh IT Park area very soon," she said excitedly.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)