It is an unbelievable story of a young man who without much education, without any knowledge of local language and without having any support in a place away from his hometown managed to overcome all the difficulties to prove himself and to achieve his dreams.
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Prem Ganapathy, an Indian entrepreneur, and a businessman who is the founder of the successful restaurant chain “Dosa Plaza,” which was started with limited investment and it has become worldwide having 45 outlets all across the world with multi-crore business.
Fight against all odds
It is an inspiring story of a young man who struggled hard, managed every day against all odds and yet achieved unimaginable success. The entire story of Prem Ganapathy is incredible because he never had anyone to support, neither he has any plan nor does he knew what exactly he wanted to achieve. But one thing has been always on his mind that he wanted to prove himself, he was not willing to let all the difficulties stop him from his dream of being successful.
Prem Ganapathy was from a poor family in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu. His was the large family having seven siblings. He had always dreamed of having some business, which even he was not sure about. He did many jobs in Chennai and was always trying to find what should he do? Just after his class 10th exam, Prem decided to try his luck and he ran away to Bombay (now Mumbai).
He left Chennai, pinning the hopes on his acquaintance who was in Mumbai and who had promised him a job instantly. But when Prem reached to the business capital of India early in the morning and waited for hours, only to know that it was just a false promise and the man never turned up at all. The young boy of 17 years, alone in the big city without even knowing the local language started realizing how difficult his life will be, yet not even once he thought of going back. The spirit of fight back, which hold young Prem Ganapathy and it made him stronger while he faced a most difficult situation in the life for next few months.
Keeping the dream alive
Prem Ganapathy was only 17 when he left his family. Without blaming himself for the decision, Prem turned his misfortune into opportunity. He struggled hard, most of the time slept hungry, but kept his dreams alive and today he owns Dosa Plaza, a multi-crore business.
Early days in Mumbai, Prem has to struggle when he gave up the hopes of meeting his acquaintance and getting some job. The very next day he found a job of cleaning and washing in a bakery which gave him Rs.150 for a month. While giving an interview to a newspaper, Prem described his early days in Mumbai as the hardest days of life when he struggled doing all types of jobs for a living. He had worked in different places, different restaurants, and shops. Mostly he started working as cleaner or dishwasher in the restaurants. He moved from one part of the city to another when he got a better job option. He worked in Chembur and then in Navi Mumbai. He was working from dawn to dusk, always thinking about the dream of having a business and for which he kept on saving his earnings.
The hard working young man never gave up even when circumstances were against him. And in the year 1992, Prem owned a handcart with his savings. He started selling food items, mainly idlis and masala dosas near Vashi Railway Station. But even then his ill fortune continued. “Many times municipality workers used to take my cart away in the van but yet I was always positive and such incidents made me stronger,” he had said it in an interview.
Prem thanked the people who helped him in learning lots of things in life. Some of the people with whom he shared a room have taught him to use the computer. He used to spend time in cyber cafes whenever possible and to know more about how to start his business. The story of McDonald’s restaurant inspired him when he read about its struggle.
Dosas of variety
In the year 1997, he made his mind and started his independent restaurant business by renting a place for Rs.5000. Prem named his restaurant as Prem Sagar Dosa Plaza and started selling varieties of dosas along with his brother.
Even during the first year of his restaurant, he had introduced more than 26 types of dosas. He has experimented with dosa having variety. Some of his unique dosas are Schezwan dosa, paneer chilly dosa, spring roll dosa and many others. His business grew slowly and by 2002, his smaller stall becomes bigger and he offered 105 types of different dosas to his customers.
The turning point came when a well-located mall offered him a space to start his business. “It was my luck that the person belongs to the mall came to me with the offer. Most of the time people from malls have dined at my place and have enjoyed the taste and price both.” Prem described it as a god-given opportunity.
Slowly, as the business of dosas grew, more and more franchise requests started coming in and Prem Ganapathy never had time to look back. Today the restaurant “Dosa Plaza” is one of the highly reputed restaurants famous for unlimited types of dosas. Today his restaurant has become worldwide with about 45 outlets in India and across the world, mainly in the countries like New Zealand, UAE, Oman and some others.
It is really an amazing story about a person who started earning from Rs.150 per month, then his business with mere Rs.1000, and now it has grown to a 30 crore business. Prem Ganapathy has shown tremendous dedication and never die attitude which made him one of the most successful entrepreneurs.
His philosophy of work is simple, though his business started from the footpath, his main focus was to serve the customers good quality food and to maintain the cleanliness.