He could just pass 10th. He was jobless. Nothing too much in the name of assets.
He reached Mumbai is search of job. It was not a great start for him. He was looted outside the Bandra station for the only rupees 200 he had and other belongings. He lost everything excluding the clothes he was wearing.
The most unfortunate thing was that he was robbed by the person who accompanied him to Mumbai and promised a rupees 1200 per month job. Because he feared that his parents would not allow him work in Mumbai, he came to Mumbai without informing them.
Before coming to Mumbai, he worked in Chennai and earned rupees 250 a month. He would send the money to his family in Nagalapuram Village located in the Tuticorin district of Tamilnadu. His family included his parents and seven siblings.
At Bandra station in the year 1990, a 17 year old boy who had nothing, except determination.
He did not understand Hindi. Feeling pity about his situation, a Tamilian took him to a temple and appealed visitors to contribute money and arrange a ticket for him to Chennai.
But the 17 year old boy, Prem Ganapathy, was damn sure that Mumbai is going to make his life.
After bit of effort, he got a job of washing utensils at Mahim Bakery. He would earn rupees 150 per month. He continued working at several restaurants to earn and save.
In about two years, he saved some money to start his own business of selling Idlis. He hired a handcart for rupees 150 per month rent and bought some utensils along with a stove for rupees 1000. It was year 1992, when he started operating his business outside Vashi railway station.
After doing it all alone for some time. He felt the need for some manpower as his business grew. He brought two of his younger brothers to Mumbai. He ensured hygiene at the eatery and they all wore a cap. This was a surprise for his customers as roadside eateries did never care about this.
Local authorities seized his cart on many occasions and he had to pay penalty to get it back as such carts did not get a license. In few years, he saved some money and leased a shop by giving rupees 50000 as deposit. They paid a monthly rent of rupees 5000 and also hired two additional employees. His streetside cart was now a small restaurant.
Many of his frequent visitors were college students and he made good friendship with them. He learned using internet from them and started looking for recipes on internet. He started experimenting with dosas and in the first year itself, introduced 26 new dosas like Schezwan Dosa, Paneer Chilli Dosa and Spring Roll Dosa. By 2002, his restaurant had 105 varieties of dosa and earned a lot of fame.
However, he always dreamt of having an outlet in a mall. He approached many malls but his offer was turned down as they were reserved for big brand like McDonald’s etc.
But he got an opportunity to open his outlet in the Center One Mall at Vashi. He got the opportunity because the managerial staff at the mall were frequent visitors to his restaurant. His outlet in the mall was a big success and people started asking for business franchisee. He agreed to the offer on a condition that all the ingredients will be provided by them.
In year 2012, they had 45 restaurant across 11 Indians states and 7 at foreign nations like New Zealand, Dubai(U.A.E), Muscat(Oman). Everything under the name of The Dosa Plaza.
The man who was standing outside Bandra station without a single penny with him in 1990, had set up a brand and empire of 30 crores in 2012.