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Food ON wheels

Banking on a personalised campaign, this mobile food service has attracted the attention of people


THE VAN moves across each street in the densely-populated housing area, stopping by at a few places. Soon, those inside get down to business. A few of them walk out to the adjoining streets announcing their arrival. Meanwhile, curious onlookers and a few familiar with those in the van gather nearby.

Welcome to the new-age `mobile food service' where popular delicacies are served at your doorstep. P. Ranjith, who runs a canteen at the CSI Higher Secondary School, operates this four-month-old mobile canteen. "Working women are our target group. We offer popular tiffin items and ready-to-eat food hot at the doorstep. Since women don't have enough time to prepare food after a busy day's work, the response has been good so far," he says.

Besides food, the eatery also supplies ready-to-make parotta roundels and gravy, idli batter, idiappam, sambar podi and rasa podi. The day starts at 11 a.m. for the eleven-member team that operates the canteen. But you won't get to see them every day in one area. They stick to a time schedule and visit each area according to that.


On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the team sells food in the Race Course and Thomas Park areas; Monday in the Tamil Nadu Housing Board, Peelamedu; Tuesday in Idayarpalayam and Anna Nagar and Saturday in the ESI Hospital area. Apart from serving food, the team also conducts demos on how to prepare food.

"Many people do not know how to make parottas. Since we are providing the dough, we also teach them the cooking method. Only then will we be able to generate business," explains K. Ramani, canteen in-charge.

The canteen relies on door-to-door campaign to popularise its service. "For new customers, we offer food free. If they like it, they come back to us," Ramani says. But, why stock only a few item? "As ours is a mobile unit, we sell only fast-moving items."

In some areas, existing customers do not prepare food at home during the days the van visits the area. "Our regular customers get upset when we fail to visit them even once. They call us the next day and ask why," he says with pride.

Is the canteen a profitable proposition? "I am able to pay all those involved in the work. Though the business is not very profitable, it is slowly picking up, as the concept is new," Ranjith observes. The canteen sells food from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. For details, call 98422-10688.

M. ALLIRAJAN

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