Janmabhoomi to Karmabhoomi - Ranjana Singhal
- 08 Mar 2017
The family of Totaram hails from Dera Ismail Khan which was part of the North West Frontier Province in the undivided India of the pre independence era. The family spoke Derawali at home even after moving to New Delhi post partition. Totaram was a freedom fighter who believed in the ideals of Rashtra Pitha, Mahatma Gandhi and he wore the Gandhian topi, kurta, waistcoat and churidar made out Khadar all his life. Ranjana Singhal, who happens to be the energy behind the restaurants Thats Why Food, On The Go and Cafe Totaram is the grand daughter of this freedom fighter Totaram. "We used to call him 'baujee' as kids and he was a man of conviction who believed in himself and never succumbed to pressure all his life. He lived with a value system and he was successful in instilling the same among the members of our family," shared a nostalgic Ranjana who has been awarded the "Woman Entrepreneur of the Year" award by the Coimbatore Management Association recently. She is also the recipient of the FICCI - FLO award and another one from JCI is in the offing.
Ranjana was born and brought up in Delhi by her hard working parents Champa and Ramesh Murada. It was her mother Champa who made sure that her kids worked hard while also acquiring skills alongside. "I learnt to be fearless because of my mother and I handle relationships thanks to my father. My husband Sanjeev is a boon for me. I will not be where I am if not for him. He gives me space and lets me ruminate while I am under stress and he helps me to do things better. My husband trusts me and never thrusts his opinions on me. We have been in the food business over the last 15 years in Coimbatore and this oppourtunity was given to me by my brother in law Nipu Bhatia. We started of as textile people working out of Tirupur and now we are well known in world of fine dining," added a bubbly Ranjana while greeting a regular guest at her 'On The Go' in Race Course.
Hard working Ranjana works all the 365 days a year and she makes it a point to visit all her food outlets on any given day. She has been sharing her experiences and insights with a number of students from colleges like PSG over the years. Ranjana was the 'First Among Equals' at the Womens Entrepreneur Development Programme at the Indian School of Business at Hyderabad. " The programme was designed and sponsored by the world famous Goldman Sachs and the three month stint at ISB changed me for the good. It was a life changing experience and thanks to my mentor Viji of Chennai my 2 page business plan became the prize winning one at 38 pages finally. All this and more has brought out the mentor in me. Recently one Sudarshan of Madurai was mentored by me and he is now being funded by the Native Angel Network. I was so happy on learning about this," stated the energetic entrepreneur.
Ranjana believes in quality,integrity and also ensures that her people are taken care off. Her team has been happy with her and they reciprocate by working tirelessly. Some of them have not taken off in months. Ranjana has a Corporate Chef who creates recipes, presents it with costing and other nitty gritties. Such new recipes are usually introduced on occasions and on popular acceptance it becomes part of the menu. Ranjana began with frontier food at Thats Why Food in RS Puram and brought it eclectic food at On The Go in Race Course. Her Cafe Totaram was an experiment which served fusion based food like Pita with Jalapeno Chicken. Items like Pita Sandwich,Mud Souffle,Tikkas and Kebabs are part of her list of famous items served in her outlets. " Actor Naseeruddin Shah simply loved the Caramel Custard at On The Go and we have had actors Madhavan, Karthi and Sneha visiting us in the recent past. Of course our own celebrity Narain Karthikeyan has been here on a number of occasions," added Ranjana.
While talking about some tips which will help one in ventures connected with food and service, Ranjana shares further," Its important to keep our guests happy. I tell my people to ensure that every disturbed and bothersome guest should finally feel happy while going home. They are not just customers but our guests. We have to personally be aware of the happenings at our ventures and have complete knowledge about the kind of guests visiting us. Every guest and every item served is as important for it leaves a permanent impression. These sound principles have been our driving force."
Its amazing to learn that she hosts a number of her friends and relatives at home in spite of her busy schedule. Ranjana believes in accountability and transparency. She sends a monthly Profit And Loss Statement to her associates. " Being an entrepreneur does not mean that profits walk in. We took months to make our restaurants break even. However we ensure that our vendors are kept happy round the year. Persistence is important. Fearlessness should be backed with appropriate measures in order to make entrepreneurship worthwhile , " opined the mentor in her.
The joy of being a Coimbatorean is evident when Ranjana speaks about Coimbatore, "Delhi was my Janmabhoomi and Coimbatore is my Karmabhoomi. I simple love the city and my friends. Any news or new is not from Delhi but from Coimbatore these days. My guests at the restaurants run by us at Coimbatore are our real brand ambassadors. Now its time that I replicate my business in other cities. After all Coimbatore has been my home turf and I need to prove myself elsewhere too," smiled Ranjana while wishing everyone a successful Womens Day.