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Selling ‘pakodas’ is a way of employment – Was Modi Right?


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Long long time ago as a school going children, all of 12 years a few of us wanted to set up a temporary small tuck shop in the school for fun. All we boys could do was to make fruit chaat and took permission from our principal to set up a table during the recess.

Four of us I remember pooled in our monthly pocket money which was all total a measly sum of Rs 40/- (those days more than decent amount).  We went to the sabzi mandi and got a huge sack full of fruits- Banana, boiled Shakarkandi (sweet potato), lemons, cucumber, apples, a pineapple and some grapes. We got a few knives from home, some clean cloth to wipe our hands and a bucket full of water clean tap water, Chaat Masala , salt, tooth picks and plates made of leaves called Pattals, double checking we don’t forget anything. An old cardboard box served as trash bin.

We put up a small notice on the school notice board a day in advance. To run it smoothly we divided our work and created a small cash counter with a small toffee box as our cash box. Response was tremendous and by the end of it (half an hour), we had finished every piece of fruit we had bought and we had earned a profit of Rs 20/- total sales being Rs 60/- Not bad at all.

Each made a cool five bucks on an investment of ten Rupees in half an hour, of course prep time being a few hours more. This was my first ever experience as an entrepreneur and even decades later I remember it.

Food business is the best business as you get 50 to 100% profit on investment. During my visit abroad I found several small tuck shops selling fish and chips or neatly crafted hand carts making Hotdogs with buns and sausages. It is on every street in UK- the only difference is their presentation and style is impressive. A similar trend started in India.

I remember in South Extension Delhi, We had Chinese food on the wheels. Old Trucks or Station Wagons were painted and used as food outlets. Food was great but neat and pretty reasonable. Even takeaway was cool. It was always crowded and one had to be in a queue to get access. One could see a brisk business opportunity in this. Best part of such business is that you invest in the raw material in the morning and collect your profits in cash the same evening!

Off late, many guys from IIMs and similar reputed B schools, after doing their MBA started Food chains selling Vada Sambar, Idli Dosa. As long as your food is great people will drive several miles and queue up to get a bite. This is the mantra for success. There are Bakeries in Pune where the guy opens his outlet at 12 noon and shuts shop by 7 PM (all sold out). Hyderabad Biryani selling in tons a day too is a case in point. Keventer milk, in Connaught place inner circle is something no one can miss. The way hundreds of milk bottles flow out of the small door per hour, you wonder if he has a milk well in his shop.

A Vada Pao Hand cart fellow had established a roaring business in Pune and was selling thousands of plates in a day because his stuff was hot, fresh and tasty. So much so Income Tax department took notice of this by just counting used empty paper plates in the trash can. He was raided for huge income!

On Shahjahan Road in Delhi opposite UPSC office there was a Chaat shop called Prabhu Chaat wala which started small almost hundred years ago but has become a Land Mark. With a roaring daily sale, this guy is minting money- and why not. His stuff is the best in Delhi where high and mighty come in expensive cars to get a plate full of Prabhu’s delight.

What is McDonald? It has stuff like Aloo tickee burger and paneer tikka wraps wrapped nicely packed in red boxes charging you a good amount which people pay gladly- its value for money. Hello, what great difference between Aloo tickee burger and  Vada pao? Almost the same raw material but branding and packaging is different. Both are earning great money. McDonald invests in hiring an expensive place but vada pao is sold as street food!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to all this in one line and said ‘you can make great money by setting up a Pakora Shop’!

I get intrigued and sometimes annoyed when some of our Indian Brethren criticize this by making fun of this and call it Pakodawala jibe when complaining of jobs. We want job and not work. Naukri Chahiye Kaam Nahi.

I remember meeting Vikas Khanna the Master Chef by chance at Bloomsbury publisher’s office in Delhi where I had gone to finalize the manuscript of my book. Vikas a very humble man was also there finalizing cover for his upcoming cook book. My Publisher had organized a working lunch and I got an opportunity to talk to him at length.

Typical Punjabi warmth and no airs about himself he told me that in his home town Amritsar they used to sell Chcholey Bhature on a raiddee (hand cart). He says they had limited crockery and he helped his dad by washing these very quickly so as not to miss a customer. He gradually got into cooking inspired by culinary skills of his grandmother which he says was his foundation training. He graduated from Welcom group graduate school of hotel administration a constituent of Manipal Academy of Higher Education in 1991 and worked for big hotel chains like Taj Hotels, Oberoi group, Welcom group, and Leela Group of Hotels.

Kinara is a restaurant started by Vikas Khanna in Dubai. Kinara is described as a ‘journey of the senses and an explosion of flavour.’ The restaurant is located in the JA Lake View Hotel, Dubai. According to reports, at Kinara, the ever-innovative Khanna offers an array of Indian dishes that combine his love for subtlety and spice in mouth-watering ways.

If you have brains and a good education you too can become a ‘Pakoda King’.

McDonald started with one outlet and later Ray Croc expanded the business. Hold your heart- as per 2019 report McDonald brand has 38695 restaurants across the world around 40,000 today with a turnover of USD 21 Billion! Net profit per annum is USD 9 Billion.

Wakeup guys don’t just jeer at someone not at your innovative PM at least- learn to earn. Don’t beg for a job. Sky is the limit. Dill Mangey more and more.

By Virender Kapoor

Virender Kapoor
Virender Kapoor
Virender is an Indian who wears many hats. An educationist of repute, Masters in Computer Science from IIT Bombay, he also holds an MA in International relations. He was the Director of a prestigious management Institute under the Symbiosis umbrella. He has emerged as a leading think tank in human behavior, motivation and success. As a celebrity author, his name appears with the likes of Thomas Friedman and Dale Carnegie. His books are now available in eight regional and foreign languages like Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati ,Telegu , Malayalam , Tamil, Punjabi and Vietnamese He has authored more than 36 books as of now which are on Amazon worldwide and several of his books are in the pipeline.


  1. Well said Sir ! Anyone who is willing to work sincerely in the food business can hope to become financially successful with Good Food served and happy customers!
    I too enjoyed street food in Calcutta in 1992 and on the streets of Mumbai for many years.
    Amazing variety, value for money and great taste! Hats off to all entrepreneurs in this food industry !!


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