Vantage point

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Anantashram vs Mahesh Lunch Home

A few weeks back I wrote about Anantashram, the old seafood speciality place in Khotachiwadi deserved to go out of business, because they had taken their customers for granted, and remained stuck in a time warp.

In a city like Mumbai, or indeed any big city in India, running a restaurant successfully is not very difficult. Don't get me wrong. I don't mean people like Madhu have it easy. Running a restaurant is hard work. But it is a business which rewards those who work hard, innovate, prepare good food and have good service. If a restaurant is failing in an Indian city, it is doing something horribly wrong.

So if Anantashram shut down, they did something wrong. There are others who did things right and succeeded.

I visited one such restaurant this week, Mahesh Lunch Home. I visited the Juhu branch, but started off in fort as a lunch home, i.e a simple place where people come just for having a fixed lunch menu. Today it has grown to be a fairly swanky establishment. A good meal will cost you about 400-500 per head. Yet, the restaurant is doing riproaringly well. Getting a table there is difficult even on weekdays.

I am sure they are doing this well because they changed with time. They adapted well with the customer demands. For instance I went there with some colleagues at 3 p.m. We were told that the last lunch orders are taken at 3:30 pm. Yet, they did take orders way after the deadline. They knew that turning down orders means refusing business. Not only do you lose revenue, you also lose goodwill.

Mahesh Lunch Home thus succeeded. While Anantashram which prided itself on "not taking any order after 9 p.m., eve if the PM comes to eat", failed.