Akshay and Dhanashree are business partners who have co-started outlets for Indian street food- Vada Pav. Wanting to give a flavor of their uniqueness, they founded the Jugaadi Adda, in the heart of India, infusing international flavors to a very Indian street snack— Vada Pav. With more than 25 outlets around the country, Jugaadi Adda is on the race of becoming a national favorite.
Team Storiyaan talked with the owners who spoke about their unique idea, the story behind the name, and their journey into the market.
Questions and answers
Can we start by talking about why you picked Vada Pav amongst various other assorted Indian fast food dishes?
“Necessity is the mother of Invention.” We believe in this phrase word to word. We thought of Vada Pav, as it is easy to make and takes less time to prepare, added to its low cost and affordability. We also believe that Vada Pav is the soul food of comfort for India, so we happily choose this.
Having no entrepreneurial background, how did you mould yourselves to run a business?
One does not require tremendous and explicit knowledge to run a business. We believe that hard work is a necessity. However, we have always kept our goals higher. After doing an excellent 9to5 job, we felt that taking a risk in this field was worth it, as both of us found our jobs boring and monotonous, and so we started our business.
Your menu gives us a glimpse of your creativity with different cuisines. Talk to us about your experimental process with fusing flavors.
We wanted to add a flavoursome and infusing taste to all other food items in Vada Pav, like pizza and burger, but we wanted to keep the Vada intact. So we infused pizza flavor in Vada Pav and also tried different flavors, without compromising its taste. We also introduced a chocolate samosa, which even tastes like a donut!
‘Jugaadi Adda’ encapsulates the essence of the desi street food scene. What is the story behind your brand’s name?
Since we were engineers, throughout our college life, we have thrived on ‘jugaad.’ One may know that ‘Juggadi’ is an alternative word to hustle. Since we were hustling hard to do something unique with Vada Pav, we named our brand as ‘Jugaadi Adda.’
Hailing from typical Maharashtrian families, what were the hurdles you had to pass through to convince them?
It was as tough as passing an IIT examination or getting into a Harvard Business school! They were never convinced in the beginning, as being an engineer who sold Vada Pavs, it was never a prestigious issue for them. In the beginning, we faced a lot of resistance from their side, but after the opening of two-three outlets, they were sufficiently convinced.
Mumbai street food is a brutally competitive market in price, quality, and quantity. Tell us how you manage to stay ahead.
We were the first to launch Fusion Vada Pav’s in the business market, something that people have not experimented with Vada Pav with the way we did. We developed a strategy where we developed our own chutneys and the sauces. Our highest product price is around forty-five rupees and thus being very much affordable concerning what we are offering. We think we are not in the line of competition of the Indian street food currently there.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
We were only closed for a month. After that, we began contactless home delivery and took away. Our franchise made a lot of profit in the pandemic, and from June, the ten new branches of our brand came into function.
How do you overcome the creative conflicts in business? How do you balance your personal and professional lives?
We have divided the tasks we both do. I generally look in the finances area while Akshay looks after the management sector. We work as a team. We follow the ‘Agile Model’ where everybody has the right to speak and display their thoughts, after which we brainstorm our ideas. So, we are using IT techniques in our business. This helps us to avoid personal conflicts due to professional reasons.
How do you stay firm on your decisions, even when others ridicule you?
We always follow our instincts. In life, we come across many people who will laugh at us for no reason; thus self- motivation and mutual motivation between us plays a lot of roles in handling these kinds of situations. In the end, only we can see what we earn, and it has always been worthwhile.
What were the trials and tribulations you faced to set up franchises in different states?
We did not face any significant and predominant issue, since none of our products are frozen. We designed and planned accordingly about issues like transport and management even before we started our business. Thus we never faced any major problem.
What is your vision for your brand?
At least 2% of the world’s population should consume Jugaadi Adda’s Vada Pav daily!
1. Favorite food item from your menu — VIP Vada Pav
2. Go-to item in your menu for a date — Chocolate Samosa
3. A failed fusion you tried— None from our brand
4. One word to describe ‘Jugaadi Adda’— Need
5. One thing you love about each other — Patience