By, Itishree Mishra
M Keshab Rao, Founder, and Managing Director of GreenChillyz
Hailing from a small village in Berhampur, M Keshab Rao’s(Chasing Global Dream in Street Food Biz) life is the story of a school dropout who overcame all odds to be a successful entrepreneur. After the sad demise of his father, Rao moved to Bhubaneswar to eke out a living for his family.
His turning point came with the establishment of GreenChillyz at Master Canteen Square in 1999 in the 50 sq feet OPOLFED (Odisha State Poultry Products Co-operative Marketing Federation Ltd) outlet with the investment of only Rs 25,000 lent by his friends and relatives.
Keshab Rao(Chasing Global Dream in Street Food Biz) along with his two younger brothers started the journey towards success in the name of GreenChillyz across Odisha. GreenChillyz from a street vendor is now the biggest and only food chain with the fastest growth rate in Eastern India and boasts of more than 20 outlets with a turnover of Rs 10 crores manned by 400 employees.
Rao’s(Chasing Global Dream in Street Food Biz) dedication, patience, and vision for making GreenChillyz a household name across the country are exemplary. Now, they are heading towards a target of 100 outlets inside the country and overseas and exalt to the status of an MNC food chain by 2025.
But Rao is no ruthless business owner. He loves to spend 20 percent of his income for the welfare of the people. “I extend my helping hands to cancer patients, orphans and old age homes”, he says.
GreenChillyz has received a host of prestigious awards -“Best Food Chain Restaurant,” “Best Business Entrepreneur Awards,” “Times Business Awards,” and many more.”
His avowed mantra: “See the dream, struggle to achieve it and success will come to your path automatically.”
Did you ever think you’ll reach this position? How did you make it possible?
What I am now today is beyond my imagination but one thing I would like to say that I was always determined to do something for my family.
When I was in the sixth standard, the sad demise of my father, the only earning member of my family, was a shocker for us.
In this tough phase, I(Chasing Global Dream in Street Food Biz) managed to complete my intermediate and with a thought to generate livelihood for my family, I moved to Bhubaneswar.
During my job search in various cities across India, I opted for street foods. Being a food lover, I wished to start a food stall with lip-smacking savories in a hygienic way on the wayside.
In the meantime, with the blessings of the Almighty, I got an allotment of 50 sq feet OPOLFED counter at Master Canteen Square in 1999.
I took Rs 25,000 credit from my friends and relatives to work on my dream projects with the help of my two younger brothers and a worker.
On July 23, 1999, we planted the seeds of our success in the name of GreenChillyz. If you are dreaming of a thing give your best to achieve it. With this thought, I(Chasing Global Dream in Street Food Biz) never looked back and crossed all the hurdles with the hope to make GreenChillyz a global brand.
What makes the GreenChillyz a household name?
GreenChillyz always believes in quality, quantity and best service to our esteemed customers. We(Chasing Global Dream in Street Food Biz) at GreenChillyz maintain the tastes of food, hygiene atmosphere and treat our customers as family members and try to give utmost service to them.
Why did you think of setting up this food chain?
The prime reason for the food chain is to meet the demand of our esteemed customers, give their favorite delicacies near to their place and in the hope to give employment to more people.
I would like to share one of my reminiscences which is one of another reason i.e. to divert the rush. Just after a few years of GreenChillyz when we introduced special Biriyani at our food counter, it was quite difficult for us to manage the rush.
That time Biriyani was considered as the food of the rich people which is available in star hotels of Odisha.
But being a street food vendor we have come up with the idea to spread the taste of Biriyani among the general mass. I(Chasing Global Dream in Street Food Biz) can proudly say that initiation was the turning point of our business.
Now we have more than 20 outlets in and outside Odisha with a combined turnover of Rs 10 crores and able to generate more than 400 direct employment. Positive feedback of the customers gives us immense self-satisfaction.
What will be your next step?
We are heading towards a target of 100 outlets nationally and internationally and becoming a giant food chain MNC by 2025, we have started working on it from last year.
We are planning to open our restaurant in Bombay, Delhi and other metros in the recent future. As Puri is going to be a world heritage site we are happy to announce our next restaurant chain in Puri and Konark within six months.
What is the role of the state government in expanding entrepreneurship?
To be very honest in comparison with any other states of our country, Odisha is growing vigorously and at the same time, it gives us ample opportunity to grow our business.
We have a great future ahead to grow our business in our land. The current government is very co-operative for us.
How you differentiate the Odisha market in 1999 and today’s market? Is your business affected?
That time we are a single player and dominated the street food business. But today there is tough competition. One thing I would like to say is that lifestyle, population, and love for food varies.
Customers are also increasing at the same pace. But our food quality, quantity, and service help us to hold our customers for this longer period. Our business has never got affected by this competition, rather it has blossomed.
What does success mean to you and how you advise others to sustain it for a longer period?
I always believe in maintaining quality, quantity, and behavior. When you start a business, first you prepare yourself to face the failure. You have to be optimistic about your goal.
For me, life is a journey of struggle. In 1999 I was struggling and today, I am struggling too. I would suggest one thing ‘See the dream, struggle to achieve it and success will come to your path automatically.”
My customers have always been uppermost on my priorities, they are my heroes and my existence is possible only because of them. I am here only for their love and blessings. All credit goes to them.
Success is not a destination success is a journey and I am on the way. It is a continuous process.
For customers obsessed with reviews, how do you deal with negative ratings?
See, there are three types of review i.e. a bad review, good review, and an intentional review. We attend to all types of reviews.
I am looking after all the reviews and we have a special team, they contact those customers and assure them of good service. For us, every customer is important.
Have online food delivery players like Zomato and Swiggy eased your business?
Certainly, it bodes well for our business. It helps us promote our business and makes our platters available at the doorstep of customers without any hassle.