God of Affordable Eats

Gopady Srinivasa Rao, pioneering restaurateur and founder of Taaza Thindi, Cakewala and Cane-O-La, is getting a title from his admirers today

Cakewala, another of Srinivas Rao’s chains specialises in cakes and pastries.

A daring entrepreneur who pioneered affordable food joints in Bengaluru is being honoured on Saturday.

Gopady Srinivasa Rao, founder of the Mayura Group, prefers to remain low-profile, even as his businesses in Bengaluru---restaurants, cake shops, and bakeries---draw huge crowds every day.

Hailing from a village in Udupi District, Srinivasa Rao’s family moved to Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh. He started Trivikram restaurant in 1976 when he was just 19.

In the 1990s, he moved to Bengaluru with a dream: bringing European bakery standards to India.

“I am not a businessman,” he told Metrolife, as he accompanied this reporter on a tour of his businesses. “All I wanted to do was make good snacks affordable.”

His life is an inspiration to all employees, and those who want to embark on a path of entrepreneurship, say people who have worked with him.

Srinivasa Rao’s businesses are landmarks in Bengaluru, and many of his brands have multiple outlets. His philosophy of keeping it affordable continues, a good 42 years into the business.

Namma Bakery in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, for instance, offers soup at Rs 10 even today. Cool Joint offers fruit milkshakes at Rs 30. Taaza Thindi in Jayanagar 4th T Block offers a masala dosa at Rs 25 (it was Rs 20 till recently).

“I had no Godfather when I came into the food business,” he recalls.
“The odds in my path ignited my passion, and that has kept me going.”

Cakewala, which makes cakes, pastries, rolls and puffs, has two branches in Jayanagar, and another branch just opened in HSR Layout.

Many of his employees have been with him for decades. B M Changappa has worked for the Mayura Group since 2003. He is now one of the partners at Taaza Thindi. “I enjoy working here. He treats us like family,” he says.  Girish has worked for 22 years and is now the director of Good Breads.

People inspired by his journey are coming together to honour him in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Keep kitchen open

Gopady Srinivasa Rao’s eateries always have open kitchens and cleaning areas. “The ‘No admission’ board has no admission here,” says Suhas, director of Cakewala (bakery), Eshanya (fine dine restaurant) and Taaza Thindi (budget restaurant).

Many proud milestones

  • Started a restaurant in Kadapa when he was just 19.
  • Imports state-of-the-art equipment for his eateries.
  • All eateries have open kitchens. Customers can walk in.
  • Many protegees have opened their own businesses.

Yum chain

Good Breads, Nammura Hotel, Mayura Bakery, Cool Joint, Taaza Mithai, Cakewala, Eshanya, Nature Fresh, Event Network, Ice Bank, Cane-o-La, Pride Bakers, Taaza Thindi, The Cake Shop.
(Eateries founded by Gopady Srinivasa Rao; many have multiple outlets)

‘Yogi of work’

The Mayura Group is honouring Srinivasa Rao at a private event on Saturday. In an elegantly written Kannada invitation, the group says he will be honoured with the title of ‘Kaayaka Yogi’ at the event Namma Spoorti (Our Inspiration).

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