We all are now familiar with online food delivery apps that make our life very easy. But, what was the scenario in the 1990s? Dr Sudhakar Rao Polsani, chairman of Polsani Groups, answers the question.
Welcoming us with a smile as sweet and fresh as the cakes they manufacture in their bakery, he shares, “We started Country Oven in 1993, when my wife Rama Devi, who is the main pillar of this business and family, got this idea. As I was a doctor by profession, I worked in Iran and was in the USA for a few years. There, she saw the module of bakery and the hygiene that they maintained, she came up with this idea and we went ahead. As Ameerpet was then a hub for IT sector, we chose this place,” says Sudhakar.
To enter into any particular business, one should be aware of what goes into it and the experience gained would never go waste. Sudhakar – an MBBS, DCH, who later did his MBA and learnt baking – is the best example of that.
“I only knew how to make coffee or tea at home. At times, we burnt our hand trying out a few dishes, but this was a completely new learning. I went and studied what bakery and baking are; we did a lot of survey before venturing into this and one of my friends who helped me to understand this business made me understand what ingredients are needed, the quantity needed, the flavours, and made me cook and bake something every day for three weeks,” laughs Sudhakar, expressing happiness to be backed by a team of loyal employees, who joined him on day one and working till date.
“We have chefs from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu who have been with me from the start and most of the staff is with us for more than 20 years, this being 27th year. Due to this long association, we also feel like family members,” added Sudhakar, who is also planning to extend the franchise across the world if the same hygiene and conditions are maintained.
Country Oven was the first bakery to start their first e-commerce cake shop (www.countryoven.com), servicing in India and the USA. They have a self-operated logistic department to deliver the e-commerce orders. You name the flavour and they serve it.
Sharing a funny incident when they first ventured into the e-commerce door delivery system, he says, “It was in 1993 that we used to take orders from the US in pager, and deliver the cakes along with flower bouquets. Once, a son ordered a cake from the US to be delivered to his mother here. We went to deliver it, but that lady, being suspicious, interrogated us for more than half-an-hour, and even said, ‘who gave you my address’, ‘how dare you give a cake to me’. When we asked her to call her son to confirm, she understood that it was he who ordered the cake for her. She was very happy, made our delivery boy sit with her and offered him coffee,” says Sudhakar, who is supported by his son Karthik and daughter Niharika. “My son and daughter are one strong support system to me, apart from my team,” he added.
Apart from the superhit bakery, the Polsani group also ventured into multiple businesses. Medeaz is a platform for health seekers and health providers where a family can register and seek help, and will be guided accordingly. Foodeaz is a brand which will be available in most of supermarkets with their ready-to-eat food items, like dosa and idly batter, and these companies are taken care of by his children.