Hyderabad: After the Hyderabadi biryani, if there is one thing that the city of pearls is famous for is the Karachi fruit biscuit. Giving stiff competition to the all-time favourite Osmania biscuit, the fruit biscuit with a tinge of salt has made a mark for itself not only among the local crowd but also the national and international tourists. However, very few people know that the owner of Karachi Bakery had first started a coal depot before setting up the bakery in 1953.
Sindhi by origin, Khanchand Ramnani first came to Hyderabad from Sindh via Rajasthan to set up a coal depot, but as luck may have it he choose to set up a bakery that sells general items along with cakes. It was not only later on that the ‘world famous’ fruit biscuit came into being and became everyone’s favourite. A few years into the business, Ramnani’s four sons — Asaram Ramnani, Narayan Rao Ramnani, Ramesh Ramnani and Lekhraj Ramnani (only surviving second generation) took over the business. While the eldest two used to take care of the factory that used to make handmade biscuits and cake, the youngest two were made to sit in the shop which was just 800 square feet in size at that time. The bakeries, currently, is being run by Lekhraj Ramnani and his nephews who form the third generation of the business.
“The second generation never had the knowledge nor the time to expand the business as they were busy with taking care of the demand that the bakery at Moazzan Jahi Market had created. We were introduced to the business at a very early age — at about 17 — and it was only we got a full understanding of the business that we actually thought about expansion. From a humble 800 sq ft shop here, we expanded the shop and made it a 2,000 sq ft shop. In the production side as well, it was difficult task for us to convince our father and uncles that we need to modernise the business,” said Manoj Ramnani, third generation owner of the business and son of Ramesh Ramnani.
After the Moazzam Jahi Market shop expansion, the four sons from the third generation decided to look at expanding into the city and set up the first shop in Banjara Hills. After that there was no looking back and in a span of almost 10-15 years, the bakery was able to set up 20 stores in Hyderabad. In addition, it has stores in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Vijaywada, Vizag and Ahmedabad along with its biscuits being available at all retail outlets.
Question Manoj Ramnani about the popularity of the biscuits, he says that the quality and taste speak for itself. “We have never done any marketing of our biscuits, it was all through word of mouth that we have been able to have such huge sales. Till date, we get customers from different States and countries who come to our head office in Moazzam Jahi Market to buy the biscuits and there are some locals who start their day with our biscuits only,” he informs.
The bakery has moulded itself with changing times and the 10 variety of biscuits along with various cakes and other items it offers are testimony to this. Another interesting feature of the business is that it has expanded and spread its wings to so many places that they have lost track of how many employees they have and what kind of sales are happening. Each of the four brothers have designated areas and are busy in expanding themselves while maintaining the quality and consistency of their offerings.