• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

IIM Graduate Quits Job, Launches Small Outlet in 2021; Now Earning Rs 4.5 Crore Monthly | Companies News


Jan 9, 2024
IIM Graduate Quits Job, Launches Small Outlet in 2021; Now Earning Rs 4.5 Crore Monthly | Companies News


New Delhi: From enduring financial struggles in her lower-middle-class upbringing to facing skepticism about her entrepreneurial dreams, Divya’s resilience shines through. Her relentless pursuit of education, her bold decision to venture into the challenging world of entrepreneurship, and the eventual success of Rameshwaram Cafe showcase the indomitable spirit that propels individuals to overcome hardships.

Being born in a lower-middle-class background, Divya Rao received a modest Rs 1000 as monthly pocket money. Undeterred by financial constraints, she exhibited resolute determination, achieving the title of Chartered Accountant at the age of 21.She pursued MBA in finance from IIM Ahmedabad.

Reflecting on her upbringing, Divya shared that growing up she was very careful with money as she knew that her family’s finances were weak. She had to wait for a whole week for a single egg puff.

She also mentioned that she recognised the need to study so that she could earn money and look after her parents. She was the first CA in her family and had to navigate multiple buses to attend the tuition sessions.

During her time at IIM Ahmedabad, Divya Rao was initially inspired to venture into the food business. Engaging in detailed case studies on global giants like McDonald’s, KFC, and Starbucks, she was intrigued by the professor’s observation that Indians struggled in managing such food chains.

This realization sparked her ambition to establish a world-class food chain originating from India, with a specific goal of introducing traditional South Indian cuisine to a global audience.

However, Divya Rao couldn’t bring her food business idea to fruition until she crossed paths with Raghavendra Rao, a seasoned professional with over 15 years of experience in the food industry. Initially reaching out to her in her capacity as a Chartered Accountant, Raghavendra’s journey began with a roadside cart in Seshadripuram.

Operating without familial support, he navigated various roles in restaurants, from cashier to manager. Divya, in her CA role, provided him financial advice, forging the partnership that would eventually bring their shared culinary vision to life.

Following the failure of Raghav’s previous restaurant venture, he extended an invitation to Divya to join and initiate a new restaurant chain. Despite her flourishing career as an established Chartered Accountant, Divya made the bold decision to take the leap into the new culinary venture.

Upon finalizing their decision to launch a restaurant, Divya encountered resistance from her family. Her mother expressed disapproval, stating, “I worked hard to make you a Chartered Accountant, and now you want to sell idli and dosas on the streets for 10-20 rupees?”

Undeterred by familial resistance, Divya persisted in pursuing her dreams. Raghavendra and Divya established Rameshwaram Cafe by combining their savings. The name was selected as a tribute to former President APJ Abdul Kalam, born in Rameshwaram, and to emphasize its immediate association with South-Indian cuisine.

Diligently focusing on delivering high-quality food, Divya and Raghavendra dedicated themselves to setting their cuisine apart. Their efforts proved successful as they garnered stellar reviews leading to the opening of additional outlets. Subsequently, the founders’ personal and professional lives intertwined when Raghav proposed to Divya, suggesting, “We’re already business partners; why not become life partners?”

Presently, Rameshwaram Cafe has established four outlets in Bangalore, with plans to expand to Dubai, Hyderabad, and Chennai. The restaurant chain employs a substantial workforce of 700 individuals.

According to Sujeet Kumar, Co-founder of B2B startup Udaan, the outlets generate a monthly sales revenue of Rs. 4.5 crore each, contributing to an annual turnover of approximately Rs. 50 crore. This information was shared during a podcast with Zerodha CEO Nikhil Kamath, and the revelation quickly gained widespread attention.

Sujeet Kumar highlighted the success of Rameshwaram Cafe noting that despite the compact size of their 10 by 10 or 10 by 15 square feet stores, they process 7,500 bills daily. The business generates a monthly revenue of Rs. 4.5 crore and achieves an annual turnover of approximately Rs. 50 crore, all while maintaining a commendable gross margin of around 70 percent.

Rameshwaram Cafe harbors ambitious aspirations. Divya expressed, “In the next five years, we aim to establish a presence in South India, North India, and even abroad.” Thus, Divya and Raghav’s tale is an encouragement to anybody who wants to succeed on their own and is willing to take chances in life. They went from being made fun of for selling idli on the streets after graduating from IIM Ahmedabad to making over Rs 50 Crore in revenue annually.


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