How sixth grade fail PC Mustafa built his Rs 62-crore food company
P.C. MUSTAFA, founder, ID Special Foods
Hello, we are here with a first motivational story of an amazing Enterpreneur who built a food company worth Rs 62- crore being a sixth grade fail student. Now let us introduce you with his inspirational story. This will be a great lesson for those enterpreneur who give up so soon.
In beginning while growing up in an illiterate and backward farmer’s family in a remote part of Wayanad, Kerala, P.C. Mustafa did not have a lot of expectations from him. He was born in a remote village. There was lack of basic and neccessary facilities. He was poor in studies and he got failed in Class VI.” This was just the craziest shock he needed. He knew very well that he has to work on the feild if he failed in studies, he decided to take another shot to educate himself. But this time, he succeeded, and a few years later he managed to join National Institute of Technology for his engineering course at Calicut. He got his first job with Motorola in Bangalore. After some time, the motorola company deputed him to the UK on a long-term project.
Living all alone, he decided to look for a way out. He decided to go to the hometown of all Malayalis, in the Gulf. He successfully joined Citibank technology department where he worked for seven years in the region, including Dubai and Riyadh. But Still, his heart was fixated on India, as he wanted to spend some time with his parents. Another ambition was pursuing higher education.
After he returned to India, Mustafa pursued the MBA executive programme at Indian Institute of Management, at Bangalore. It was during his course that he decided to take entrepreneurship in his carrier. His cousins – Sanshudeen T.K., Abdul Nazer, Jafar T.K. and Noushad T.A. – owned a kirana shop in Thipassandra, in Bangalore . He use to sit in the shop in holidays and weekends. After IIM, he could have got a job anywhere, but he decided to go on his own risk . Sitting in the shop Mustafa always noticed women buying batter for dosas and idlis. In spite of the irregular supply of the batter and poor quality, womens have no doubts in buying. This gave him the idea to enter the packaged food business for which he invested his Rs 14 lakh savings.
He started the business with his four cousins. Most of the people have little capital and education. What matters for them is hard work. When their stores started growing, they have a ready supply of workers, usually relatives and friends. After a short time, some workers start their own stores .
Mustafa and his cousins, know the humble background and they started small. They brought 5,000 kg rice and made 15,000 kg batter from that rice, which they started distributing as samples. “The feedback from kirana customers was crucial. By the end of this huge experiment, we knew how to make ideal and better batter.”
Indian women have enormous demands on their time as they have busy schedule in house work. They are to be seen as taking care of her family by serving them fresh and tastt food. The main motive of Mustafa was to complement her efforts, not compete with her. Their aim was if the idli was tasted and fluffy well, credit should go to her.
In 2008, he decided to grow his bussiness and his cousins rented a 50-square-feet kitchen and a grinder. They started delivering batter on a scooter. Nazer use to manage the grinding while Sanshudeen took care of delivery at time. And the Malayali kirana network also helped, at least in the starting. They wanted to scale up, and built organisational structures in different place . He decided to enter the business full time and the company started operating formally.
They did not add additives or preservatives and used low-sodium salt and water purified by the reverse osmosis method for making batter. The product is 100 per cent natural. It is just like the home made product. While the company was informally known as Best Foods Pvt Ltd.
In 2010, with the expansion in their bussiness the brothers were selling 2,000 kg batter a day. The annual revenue touched Rs 4 crore. They employed 40 people for better support in their company, though distribution was limited to Bangalore only. At this stage, their attempt to expand their bussiness in Chennai failed. They learnt several lessons. The biggest reason was the poor quality of air conditioning and refrigeration facilities.
They have developed an online application for orders and booking. Now they have a bussiness of around 62 crore in India
ID today sells in eight cities . They have a total of 200 Tata Ace delivery vehicles around the seven cities in India for delivery . ID now have 650 people working with them. The amount of batter they sells in one day can make a million of idlis.
Most of the expansion has been done by their dedication and ploughing back profits.
ID special foods have planed to be present in 30 cities of India in the following six years.
Harish Bijoor, who runs a management consultancy, says scaling the fresh food business is not a easy job in todays scenario. “Unlike batter, which is a fairly standard product, succeeding in other daily food categories may be a hard work due to regional variations in taste.
But a successfull person like Mustafa says with a smile: “For a person who failed his sixth standard, I don’t think I have done badly by selling batter.”