The food industry is one of the most flourishing industries and to have a socially responsible organization is like taking it to another level all together! GAYATHRI KRISHNARAJ chats up with Santhosh Murugananthan (Founder) on his successful venture, `Kolapasi’.
They say that food is the way to win the heart of anyone, and ‘Kolapasi’ has made sure to make a special place in the hearts of Chennaites with their delicious food. The year 2013 saw ‘Kolapasi’ establish their first outlet in Chennai at
Nelson Manickam Road, catering to the palettes of both young and old with home-style cooked food adding no preservatives, artificial colours or MSG. They stand by it and do not endorse any products which use them either.
‘Kolapasi’ outlets also do not sell any cola products or packaged drinking water. (Well, of course they serve waterjust that they do not charge for it.) Apart from Santhosh, Adithya Raju and Padmanabhan Murugaiyan too have
contributed to ‘Kolapasi’s success, being its Co-founders.
After completing his MS from Georgia Tech, Atlanta and spending a few years with different corporates, Santhosh chose to become an entrepreneur. ‘Kolapasi’, his second venture, kicked off well and has been his drive to do better for his patrons. Co-founder Adithya, is an IIM Ex MBA graduate and professional with HP. He chose to join hands with Santhosh to start the venture. A man with a very structured style of working, he plays a pivotal role in the business. Padmanabhan, a man of numbers, wrapped up his career with an insurance and trading company to put his heart and soul for `Kolapasi’ and handles accounts. Apart from these three, there is Senthil who is a graduate in Hotel Management from IHM, who started his journey with ‘Kolapasi’ as a consultant to get the firm back to form and kicking. Above all, what takes `Kolapasi` a step above than the others is their gesture of employing transgenders, thus, treating them as equal in the society I) Santhosh believes that building a brand would buildbusiness and he, with his team, does the same brilliantly, in the right way! Wanting to have a catchy name, which will form a brand in itself, the venture was christened `Kolapasi’.
Being a unique name that instantly connects with food, it propped up recall value. ‘Kolapasi’ means ‘extreme hunger’
and the local crowd can immediately identify with it, says Santhosh, who got an engineering degree, but was always inclined to becoming an entrepreneur. ‘Kolapasi’ is not only known for taste, but also for being a socially responsible organization. They never sold, but only served water, which they felt is no commodity, but a necessity! They became
popular for their values, as much for their service and food! They have now begun working towards saving and restoring water bodies. Santhosh, initially, was a one-man army who took orders, cooked and delivered to customers.
During this process he befriended his patrons to find out more on what they need and incorporated the same in their services to make the experience better day-by-day for customers. “We made mistakes, but learnt from them and apologized too, making our customers more supportive”, said Santhosh, who give customers the credit for building the brand! Expanding steadily, `Kolapasi’ has grown to own several branches across the city and intends to go ahead on the path of growth, undeterred! `Kolapasi’ also has another unique service of sampling, where a customer gets to taste a sample of the dish before placing their order.
But above all, what makes them a step above the others is their gesture of employing transgenders, thus, treating them as equal in a society, where many still frown upon them. Thus, in every sense, Santhosh and his team work towards the betterment of society by not only feeding their patrons with the best, but also by elevating the standard of thoughts of people.