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Feb, 04 2014

Thali, the new happy meal for business lovers

An assorted delicacy served with élan is an apt definition for an Indian Thali. Each Indian state has a Thali tale to tell. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, we have several brands retailing food Thalis pan-India. Know more about this hot yet lucrative opportu

Thalis have become an integral part of food lovers and entrepreneurs life. Undoubtedly Thali serving restaurants are in great demand and even young entrepreneurs are showing keen interest to invest in such a spicy business opportunity. Let's browse through some of the freshly served traditional opportunities by few of the well-known Indian Thali restaurants.

Well presented, wholesome with a variety of preparations to satiate one's appetite, wide variety of dishes served at reasonable pricing, a complete balanced diet, unlimited offerings with rotating menus allowing customers to choose at a limited budget can be a few of the many reasons why people choose a Thali meal. Entrepreneurs and epicures have a lot to explore in this opportunity.

Relishing rewards

Mayur Thali's started their thali venture way back in 1974 when per Thali was priced as low as Rs 3.50 only. Amit Chordia, CEO and MD, Mayur Thali's states: “Franchising is the best way to expand in a Thali business. There are tremendous growth prospects in this sector.” Every big name in thali restaurant is willing to expand at a faster pace. Even thali restaurants have a great demand in the US and UK. Panchavati Gaurav that serves 100 per cent pure vegetarian Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisine in the form of unlimited Thalis is also set to spread wings with already existing 16 outlets. Rahul Chandak, MD, Panchavati Gaurav, says: “We are a traditional country and when delicious Indian food, that too unlimited, comes in the form of a Thali, it is truly a value for money and this is the reason lot of people seek opportunities in this sector.”

An assortment of specialties

Each Thali restaurant has an inimitable specialty to serve its customers. The thali at Mayur is a specialty of Mayur that is a combination of Gujarati and Rajasthani food, which boasts of rich culinary traditions and well known for the sumptuous food.

Kolkata based-brand, Savourites boasts of being a single standalone eatery specialising in Bengali Thali and cuisine. Be it the life size portraits of Kolkata in black and white, or the special crockery ordered for thalis from Chennai, Savourites had it all. Service enhancer and Founder Directors, S Ramani, Aninda Palit and Chef Sushanta Sengupta are the names behind Savourites. They believe that value for money is the primary reason for success of Thalis in India.  Imagine a high quality food experience, at a cost of as low as Rs 175.

On the other hand, Panchavati Gaurav, serves 100 per cent pure vegetarian Gujarati and Rajasthani cuisine in the form of unlimited thalis as its specialty. Chandak of Panchavati Gaurav adds- “The most apt way to operate a Thali restaurant is in a Mall or a High street.  Thali restaurant can smoothly operate in Malls with the existing footfall while High street provides a greater visibility retaining the traditional restaurant atmosphere.”

Driving factors

  • Quick service of a complete meal.
  • Homely dishes and offerings.
  • Best expression of Indian cuisine.
  • Fixed price at a decent budget.
  • Change in consumer behavior.
  • People have embraced the new changes in food.

Expansion plans

For Savourites, there are certain logistical difficulties for setting up restaurants in different locations, especially when it is Bengali fare. Procurement and set up maintenance proves a huge problem, where the franchise model really works. The brand is set to explore the market via franchise route. This year Savourites plans to add four more restaurants to the existing two. Panchavati Gaurav already has 16 outlets all over India. The brand is planning to open at least 50 outlets across India and overseas by the end of year 2018.

Mayur is tapping Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Nasik, Aurangabad, Surat, Jaipur, Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai for expansion. By 2015, the brand is looking to start operations in countries like Australia, Dubai, Singapore. Looking at the huge returns, even other brands in F&B sectors are willing to invest in a thali restaurant. Anurag Biyani, Director, Brewberrys Cafe says: “We soon plan to come up with our unique thali format in another six months.  I cannot disclose much about the cuisine right now but it will be something special.”

Training and support

Every brand's franchisee needs a proper training and support to excel. Most of the brands provide complete backing and guidance to its franchisees. Panchavati Gaurav boasts of not only acting as a site finder but also supports as a guide in offering them architectural support along with in-depth training. Mayur sends its staff members from the master outlet to its franchise outlets for training and marketing.



Want to retain the traditional flavour!


Rajdhani, The Vegetarian Thali Restaurant which is the flagship brand of Mirah Hospitality has spread its aroma in this industry over the past few decades. Popularly known as "Thali place" in India, the brand had opened outlets via the franchise route but now prefers expanding via company owned outlets. In an exclusive tête-à-tête with Ekta Verma, Aji Nair, VP, F&B division, Mirah Hospitality sheds light on the reasons that made Rajdhani stop franchising and what will be the brand's next move?

Why has Rajdhani stopped franchising?

I believe Thali is a format that requires more involvement in terms of menu and team. The brand took a call to stop franchising because Thali has a vast menu. Thali format necessitates the need of traditional way of cooking which is difficult to maintain at every franchisee run outlet. Our service and quality was deteriorating at the franchisee run outlets so, we thought of taking a call and making our outlets company owned. Also, volume of business from the franchise outlets was not very high.

Now, how many current outlets Rajdhani has?

Rajdhani currently has 35 outlets out of which only two are now franchisee run- Gurgaon and Chennai. We have closed down Noida, Paschim Vihar, Rajkot and Gujarat outlets.

Brand's next move?

Rajdhani is planning to open an outlet in Bangalore this march and further expansions will happen in North of India.


Thali’s sold till date

Mayur thali’s over 1 crore thali's since 1974, an average of 1000 thalis per day.

Panchavati Gaurav 12,43,841 Thali's till date

Savourites 400 Thali’s a day


Why Thali

  • Good, Affordable & healthy
  • Low prices and preference given to regional products. Definitely a healthier option as compared to junk food.
  • Traditional
  • Rich Indian tradition definitely attracts consumer of every age group.
  • Easy availability
  • Thali's are easily available and can even be packed and taken home on orders.


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