Mysuru Manju

July, 2018

Hi Folks
Last week, as I finished a pleasant, satisfying walk along Kukkarahalli kere in Mysore, I found a lot of people heading towards a small dead end road. I followed them. To my surprise I found a full-fledged eatery there but the only difference was – no board, no chairs to sit and no concrete structure at all. There were 2 mobile vans converted into clean, hygienic food joints with some jugaad engineering deployed to accommodate dosa counters, chapatti making corner, idli steamer and frying pan for hot vada and pakodas. The foldable top provided cover for a hand wash, garbage bin, billing counter, packing section and take-away orders too. Being a traditional south-Indian business, there was place for the customary Gods & Goddesses decorated with fragrant jasmine garland and aromatic incense sticks. Just 3 people were managing the mobile food-van (it was much more than a mere food-truck) and catering to college students, walkers, elderly, office-goers, home makers, beggars etc. with the efficiency of a McDonald and with a welcoming smile on their face. The kitchen and serving area was spick and span – out in the open for all of us to see. Plates and parcels were flying thick and fast as if a robot was at work. I was amazed at the speed and turnaround of orders not to mention the variety on the menu list (which was of course not written) and the traditional taste. This is not a startup which is experimenting with its stuff and customers. This business is operating since last 18 years I heard and that too at incredibly reasonable prices. It is a go-to, must-visit eating joint thronged by people from India and abroad whenever they are in Mysore.

Close to this mobile-food van is Manju who has set up ‘Mysuru Kaapi’ under a make-a shift counter, serving piping, hot filter coffee in clean, white, old style porcelain crockery along with biscuits to munch – all at Rs. 10 only. I couldn’t miss noticing his typical Mysore courteous, polite, friendly hospitality as he said “Thank you maa’am. Please come tomorrow also and spread the word”. I was happy to see a young man serving coffee proudly instead of complaining of lack of opportunities to work (which may be the case, who knows). I really wish he sustains in the long run. Salute to the undying entrepreneurship spirit which I am sure all of you have found across our country over the years !

Now, if these 2 businesses were to scale up, then what ? Meeting so many entrepreneurs day in and day out as part of my profession, this was the question ringing in my head. As usual, I wondered whether these guys should start an LLP or a private limited company or an OPC or a mere partnership firm or stay single as they are currently. All the related compliances started buzzing in my head……what if Manju decides to form a private limited company to begin with ? OMG ! his trials and tribulations starting with getting a DIN number, his run with RUN (getting the name), directors appointment, incorporation, board meetings, auditors appointment, the saga of opening a bank account, fund raising, finding an auditor etc. etc. The current need for a director to undergo an annual KYC process by filing DIR3 along with related documents, not to mention the rather long unwanted process of being appointed as a director of a company. (this needs a separate article actually !) Everything is so time-consuming and onerous that it may be better for Manju to stay single ☺ I thought. This is not to discourage having a formal legal structure but just a mirror to the actual situation under law. Every entrepreneur or a startup founder must be mentally prepared to go through this process before jumping into a company mode.

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