The Chinese proverb ‘wealth does not pass three generations’, which means that the first generation builds the business, second take it forward and third blows up all, might sound appropriate for many legacy businesses globally. However, there are exceptions across sectors, including food, that are doubling up the fortunes based on their decade old legacy.
Monish Gujral, custodian of the famous Moti Mahal chain of restaurants that claims invention of tandoori cuisine and more has expanded from around 12 company-owned restaurants till 2004, to more than 150 of them through franchising. It went international in mid-2000.
Moti Mahal was started right after partition in 1948, when Gujral’s grandfather Kundan Lal Gujral settled in India from Peshawar (Pakistan), where he had invented tandoori chicken. Gujral joined the business when he was 17, today he is 50. Gujral takes pride in reinventing the brand to what it is today, including standardizing all recipes and bringing a formal structure to the business.
For e.g., Gujral introduced the system of maintaining a manual for each recipe, which includes the number of ingredients, its quantity to avoid wastage. “There was no recipe standard earlier. I realized that in order to expand it is important to have control over inventory, which was a big challenge for restaurant business, unlike in a jewelry shop, where you know how many pieces are sold,” says Gujral.
Moti Mahal own nine sub-brands including Moti Mahal, Moti Mahal Delux, Moti Mahal Delux Tandoori Trail, China Trail, Chaat Trail, Dosa Trail etc. Started in 1931, and now headed by third generation Tushar Chopra, Delhi based Kake Da Hotel also ventured into franchising to take the legacy forward. It currently has 10 restaurants franchised.
(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (December 2016 Issue).