Visionary Woman Foodpreneur's journey creating a global restaurant business
Read how a global food business was born from humble beginnings driven by a woman's passion for connecting traditional Indian values to a global audience
What makes a woman pursue her dream, her passion?
Is it her will to do something different, or is it her courage to follow her heart or is it her grit to fight against life battles and soar high above all social constraints. It might be a combination of everything, but what stands out in women who chase their dreams and turn them into reality, is their “never give up attitude”.
One such story, one such journey of a unique, strong, hardworking, self made , visionary woman entrepreneur who is providing 'home' food for people who are away from home.
Meet Mrs “Jayanti Kathale” founder of ''Purnabramha''a unique chain of restaurants which serves unique classical Maharashtrian/Indian food.
Jayanti founded Purnabramha in 2012 in Bangalore (India ) and today it is a global business with branches in India, Japan and USA and plan to take their Indian home cooked flavors around the world.
Purnabramha is not just a business or chain of restaurants. It is a story of modern India where traditional threads are weaved and protected. Threads which hold pearls of trust, hard work, determination, confidence, belief, strength, love, affection. These form the values and foundation on which Purnabramha is built and it is these values which are reflected by every employee of Purnabramha.
It started in 2012 in Bangalore and they had their first restaurant in HSR layout. They serve a variety of dishes which were once cooked in our mother’s and grand mother’s kitchen. They enrich their customers taste buds with flavors that carry memories of home cooked food.
The Spark : Connecting modern India back to its roots through home cooked food.
“ATITHI DEVO BHAVA” a famous Sanskrit quote in India, which means “Our Guest is God”.
What is the first thought which comes to our mind when we think about guests?
FOOD, isn't it? In Indian culture where guests are considered equivalent to God, one can imagine the importance of FOOD in this culture. It is a special treat which will be remembered for a lifetime.
We are all aware of the richness of Indian history, culture, art & crafts, traditions, varied languages, cuisines, flavors etc. But in the modern day scenario of fast paced life and global jobs, our days are filled with moments which are on the go. Right from our work to eating food to reading books to exercising to having conversations with our loved ones to playing with our kids...so on and so forth. Amidst all this we crave moments which will make our heart happy and one such thing that makes our heart happy is “our mom’s home cooked food”. Whether it’s a great day or a bad day, whether it’s a school going child, working men or women or old aged people. At the end of the day we all crave from our heart and say “ I wish to eat food cooked by my mom”
How it all started : A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step
A similar craving was felt by Jayanthi , a successful IT professional who was working with Infosys in Bangalore and travelled globally on work .
She craved authentic home cooked food everyday. While she loved cooking and treated herself everyday, her craving didn’t end there. She had a craving to fulfill others craving for home cooked food.
She says “I had a deep desire to fulfill cravings of all those who are deprived from home cooked food in this modern world”.
Her desire got much stronger on that day when she was on a journey of a thousand miles.
She was travelling in a plane from the USA to India. As a norm while travelling on a plane we are expected to mention our food preferences, which she had missed to mention. As a result of which she and her family had to survive only on water and bread for 25 hours.
It was on that day when she made the decision of serving home cooked food to everyone in this world. Her entrepreneurial journey began then.
Jayanthi is a strong, ambitious, persistent, self made entrepreneur who holds a humble and loving heart, positive mindset, caring and trusting attitude, and her boldness can be seen her redefining the fashion statement by wearing traditional nine yard sari to work/restaurant everyday and her traditional nose pin trying to shine as bright as her eyes but it fails as her eyes reflect the strength of her soul.
She says “Cooking is art and we at Purnabramha are excelling in this art everyday. We wish to provide the best quality food to our customers. Especially to those families where both partners are working and don’t have time to cook fresh food and feed themselves and their children ''. She envisions making her business a global brand. And wishes to serve delicious food from Purnabramha even to those who are away from family sailing on ships.
Attitude is Everything : When the roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind
Jayanti Khatale was born in Nagpur to parents who were sports teachers. Growing up in a joint family gave her the right balance of modern and traditional values. She moved to Bangalore after her marriage and began her professional career as a software engineer. She moved up the corporate ladder to become project manager at Infosys. Carrying 13 years of work experience, she was consistently one of the high performers throughout her career.
Like most women she too was juggling with the pressure of being a working mother. She too was going through that stage of life, when our career and professional life is at its peak, and at the same time it’s time for us to nourish and cherish motherhood.
Our desire to build a strong big family who we can proudly call ours and experience the other dimension of life which brings along bigger happiness starts creeping in just at that time when our career graph is moving up. Both sides are equally important and the balancing act becomes challenging.
Travelling for hours in Bangalore (India) traffic and logging in a long number of hours at work plus managing home, kids was equally challenging for her just like it is for many of us. It got all the more challenging after she had her 2nd child. Back during those days child care facilities weren't available at workplaces.
But her never giving up attitude kept her going.
She says “These desires bring along the real struggle of life and tests us everyday. In this journey of motherhood we must never forget that we are human first and we must never let go of our dreams”.
Along with her professional and entrepreneurial achievements, she is also a passionate writer and blogger.
When asked about she redefining the fashion statement by wearing traditional nine yard sari (a traditional India attire) she says “I would have laughed if my grandma told me to wear this traditional sari to work but unknowingly my daughter made me believe that it does matter what we wear and I was convinced that we have to break these blind belief systems society has built around attires because we are covered with our emotions and strengths and in reality we are in the form of a woman. There is affection and sincerity in this traditional nine yard sari”.
The Initial Days : Dreams are free, the journey to achieve them isn’t
While working with Infosys she had parallel started pursuing her passion for cooking. She provided catering service from home alongside her professional job. Especially to old aged people who lived alone and were parents to Non Resident Indian's (NRIs )
She selflessly supported them and stood by them like their own daughter. She had identified couples in Bangalore whose children were away staying abroad and served them food.
She says “ That experience of serving old aged people taught me a lot about life. Every couple treated me and my husband like their own daughter and son and blessed us.
" That gave me immense happiness which will stay with me forever".
After years and years of struggle as a successful IT professional and a mother to 2 kids, she decided to start her own restaurant.
Talking about her initial days she says “ During the initial days I did everything by myself. Right from cooking, cleaning serving, washing utensils and attending the billing counter, each and everything that goes in running a restaurant”.
The Initial days were filled with hard work, but her never give up attitude kept her going.
Specially running a food business in a city where the local food is quite different from what we serve made it all the challenging.
Jayanti proudly mentions the people who have supported in starting her business and continue to stand by her. Her husband Pranav Khatale who has stood by her like a rock, her 2 children who support her, her brother in law who supports her immensely and is the partner and Managing Director at Purnabramha . Her family, best friends and the entire team of Purnabramha work tirelessly every day to serve delicious fresh food to its customers and support her.
She says “I have learnt along the journey and everyone associated with Purnabramha has taught me and supported me immensely”.
In one of the video where she shares her experience of being the entrepreneur of Purnabramha she says
"Purnabramha is a thought, a beginning, a beautiful journey, journey between you and me. A journey where we make people feel at home who are away from home and fulfill their cravings by serving fresh home cooked food "
"Purnabramha is a school of innovation where many ambitions are created and fulfilled. A place where thoughts and experience is nurtured and freedom and trust is built among all our stakeholders. A place where thousands of kitchens operate from our kitchen.What we need to achieve in life and what can be lost in life, we can never decide on that. Maybe, Purnabramha started because of me craving for home cooked food, whatever the reason be. I will continue on this journey until the end and make it a successful journey. Trust is one of the most important factor in the industry and the entire team at Purnabramha instills trust amongst each other everyday. Our customers are like God and knowingly or unknowingly”.
We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges
Talking about her challenges she says that the struggle of life is real and quotes a quote mentioned by Sachin Tendulkar in his autobiography where he has said that “While playing the game of cricket, the bat must make a noise”.
She relates to that quote and says, “ We will face many challenges. It's important to take risks and face the challenges boldly. It’s important to try and give our dreams the best shot”. The biggest challenge she faces in her business is maintaining and retaining the unskilled labour. Without them the restaurant comes to a stand still position, hence it is very important to retain them. Speaking about them she says,
“ Unskilled labour is the backbone of our business. Along with their hard work they also teach us many life lessons and I personally learn specially from them everyday. Our educational degrees or professional work experience has not taught us the tricks and techniques to manage unskilled labour, we have to learn it ourselves and they are key”.
At the same time she faced another big challenge which was balancing home, work and the needs of her children. It is a never ending battle all through our life. For which she says “I built a strong support system right from the initial days and my husband supported me a lot”
Global Ambitions & Scaling the journey
From one to many restaurants in India, Japan and USA, Jayanti has built Purnabramha amidst all odds and challenges she faces along the journey. Purnabramha serves different varieties of food and caters to all age groups. Right from a a baby to an 85 year old. They focus on providing best quality food which is preservatives less and this is one of their business USP.
Apart from serving food, they also host various functions and aim to make their customers special days extremely special and unique.
She says “We are home for people away from home”
Purnabramha is growing rapidly in India and across the globe. We asked her regarding future plans for her business.
She says“ Purnabramha was a small seed which is grown like a plant and is growing rapidly. I plan to make Purnabramha a global brand and start chains around the world. I wish to serve our food even to those who are sailing on ships. We aim to serve the best quality food and make it easy for people around the world,is my vision”.
She also spoke about the equality initiative she has started for women. An initiative where women can take up Purnabramha franchisee, run a business and become entrepreneurs. She is actively working on developing women entrepreneurship through Purnabramha.
Do check out for Purnabramha’s restaurant in your city and visit them to relish delicious home cooked food.