Every day, fresh & pure batter of dosa and idli makes the way in the West Coast of the US to Indians and Americans who are fascinated by this vegan treat. Meet Mani Krishnan from Thirunelveli, the man behind it all. Let’s visit his journey –
Addressing from Kadayam village, Thirunelveli, Mani narrates that when he decided to start the business in the US in 2003 by the name – Shastha Foods, there were no other players in the market, the concept was completely unique. According to him “The system that I created, helped me maintain quality, ensure consistency in delivery and also scale the restaurant business.
Here I am proud to say that Yes it is Indian technology serving in the US boastfully.
Before entering the food industry, Mani was running a profitable business selling motherboards, Intel processors and hard disk drives to Indian companies for 18 years.
First he decided to bring coffee power business in the US, later on, idea to sell idli and dosa batter came into existence in 2003, that time they didn’t study the complete market but overserved the phase where the rate of Indian nuclear families living in the US are rising rapidly, where people don’t have enough time to soak rice, grind it and allow it to ferment.
“Today Shastha batter use by 300 stores across the West Coast of the US”
In an area in San Jose, California, the process of making the batter started with grace – a young man opens dal and rice packets then separate them into 150 containers using weighing and dispensing machine after that soaks them in water. Then an Another man cleans the rice and lentils and places them into stone wet grinders. Then the machines start vibrating and another Mexican boy, covering the head net and apron, constantly checks batter thickness with a supersized spatula.
Founder & Chief of Shastha Foods Mr Mani Krishnan said ” They have 25 employees working here who can pronounce the names of Indian food and ingredients better than I,” They makes 12,500 kilos of fresh idli and dosa batter every week. Over the last 16 years, 100 million of dosa have been serving all over the US.
He adds. “Every minute, four containers of Shastha idli or dosa batter are being sold across the US”.
Distribution of batter served in the same way people get milk every day, Mani says.
The first batch was done in his car. Later, when the company grew they acquired a refrigerated van. Now, three small 14ft refrigerated trucks and a cargo van are used by the team for convenient parking as they have to drive across the city.
In the initial five years, Mani Faces in numerous challenges beyond the kitchen, There was a time where important of two main ingredients Ruce and dal has restricted. He used to buy rice from Africa, USA and Dubai. When first you started the production, you need to continue the supply as you can’t stop. You have to do every possible thing to balance it.
With the help of his wife Anandhi, Mani experiment varieties of batter at home, sharing with friends, families and colleague and asking for feedback before going to large production.
Their batter is a combination of Rice, Urad dal and Salt, they don’t add any other ingredient.
Shastha’s idli and dosa batter is the most popular and fastest-selling product line. Yet, batters like the brown rice dosa, oats dosa, millet dosa, pesarattu are in demand also,” They are soon to launch vegetable idli batter in the market.
Mani believes in the traditional Word of mouth marketing. He gains popularity and goodwill from various Indian events and gatherings conducted by the Tamil Mandram, at the Spring Festival, Livermore Temple and
Concord Murugan Temple.
Mani says ” The community and Indian stores have supported their journey and has a part of his success. He also believes in giving back in his own way.