When an IT guy became a chocolatier
|Saturday, 03 March 2012|
See what happens when you are bitten by the entrepreneurial bug
Earlier, he had never entered the kitchen. He had been a model IT guy who talked about software products and projects, management and even did a PGSEM from IIMB and a PGPX from IIMA. Today he can brew a hot cup of coffee for his wife, talks about chocolate, vows about its goodness to health buffs, spends his time at his café and supervises the café’s kitchen.
Meet Mahesh Madiyala, PGSEM ’05 - the owner of the new craze in Bangalore city – The Chocolate Room.
Mahesh made a big and successful entry into the Food and Beverages business after quitting his job just last year. Tons of brain work, research, calculations and what not has gone into Mahesh’s decision to quit from his conventional job to take his plunge into entrepreneurship. His first step in this direction was taken after he gathered the courage to move out of the comforts that his top tier employer, Wipro, gave him. Mahesh then found himself building smaller start ups and their big dreams. In the background, his entrepreneurial dreams were taking shape and thought.
Mahesh wanted a challenge. He found himself hunting for the best of ideas for his business. His groundwork found that F & B is one of the most profitable businesses in India. “Luxury foods is one of the first things to take off when economy is beginning to boom”, he says. But what in F & B should he take up?
He wasn’t confident about starting a restaurant when he himself had no experience whatsoever in making a kitchen work. So would he have to depend solely on the skills of his chefs? Chefs are hard to find and let’s not even talk about the retention issue. Mahesh found that was one of the biggest problems for many restaurants. He didn’t want to venture into such a restaurant business but rather use his expertise in managing operations and human resource management. So what else? Cafés are a hot favourite, but Bangalore has a café at every possible corner. That’s when the very niche idea of Chocolate Café appealed to him. It was a new concept and would appeal very well with the coffee shop goers of the city. The Chocolate Room fit extremely well with his findings – a combination of luxury, café business and a niche and tempting product.
Since then, things have worked brilliantly for this first generation entrepreneur. He started the first franchise café in one of the most happening locales of Bangalore – Koramangala. It became an instant talk of the town and attracted an enviable footfall. Within 3 months of its opening, café began reaping its profits. That was huge confidence builder to Mahesh and he could convince himself that yes, he was cut out for entrepreneurship. Mahesh then went ahead to start his second outlet in less than six months and this time in the heart of Bangalore – Brigade Road.
Mahesh today spends most of his time at his new café in Brigade Road. He says business is good, not as difficult as it seemed from outside. “I was sceptical about dealing with government agencies and its formalities. But things weren’t too difficult once I got into the business. I realise it’s about how you manage your business that matters.”
When asked what he would say is his biggest strength as an entrepreneur, Mahesh says its nothing but patience. “When working in this kind of industry, you can never lose your temper when things are not going right nor can you make sure things are perfect and 100 % right all the time. You need to start getting comfortable with the ambiguity of entrepreneurship and this patience pays.”
Though the time he spends for his business is tremendously high it has never felt like a job for Mahesh. He is the CEO as well as the store manager. Mahesh is sure about something, he is not going to go back to a conventional job. Once Chocolate Room is established into a self running machine, Mahesh wants to get more adventurous in entrepreneurship. Great going! We wish you the very best Mahesh!