How Street Food Hawkers in India Have an Advantage Over Restaurants

Many people dream of being entrepreneurs or having their own business in India but only a few of them give some serious thought to becoming street food hawkers.

People who consider street food hawkers to be poor people and have no skills or talent are mistaken because street food is liked by millions of Indians and the potential of it is expanding day by day.

Entrepreneurs also think that having a restaurant is better than being a street food hawker because you get more respect and earn more money. Though this was true a few decades back, it’s not true anymore (to a great extent) because street food hawkers are earning quite well these days and earn respect if they serve quality food at affordable prices.

So just how do how do street food hawkers in India have an advantage over restaurants? Read on about how some street food hawkers in India have managed to achieve success and their trade secrets!

1. Minimal Capital Investment

To be a street food hawker, you need minimal permits/licenses and minimal equipment. The same equipment you install initially can be used for years and years and give you good value for money.

For instance, a Chole Kulche stall vendor lady in Gurgaon who garnered much media attention for leaving her job as a teacher and starting a Chole Kulche stall to earn a living invested just INR 25,000 to start the stall and now has an annual turnover of INR 8 lakhs.

Some small samosawalas who are positioned in the right place even earn INR 1 lakh per month.

2. Be Your Own Boss

According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder India, about 4 in 10 Indians admitted that they think they are better than their boss.

If you realise that you’re geared to leading your own path and have a passion for food, then becoming a street food hawker just might be what you need.

You will make all the decisions like when to work, when to take a holiday, how much inventory to stock, how often the food needs to be cooked, etc. You get to be in charge of every aspect of your own self-run business.

3. Become an Expert at Your Job [restrict]

When you are a street food hawker, you are not limited to one stall only. If you specialise in your own field, you can be an expert and build a brand for yourself.

The popular fast food chain BTW that stands for Bittoo Tikki Wala now has 10 restaurants, but it had humble beginnings when Mr. R.S. Yadav from Ayodhya who had no business training decided to make something on his own.

His crispy tikkis became his speciality, and his hard work and dedication have turned his stall into a fast food chain that’s known for good food and hygienic ambience.

4. Closer Contact with Customers

When you have a street food business, you usually have closer contact with all the customers. This allows you to serve them right and tempt them to visit you over and over again. A good example of exceptional customer service is the polite demeanour and personable smile of the owner of a food van in Bengaluru,

Ravi Gobi van that keeps the customers happy. He keeps a smile on his face even when dealing with irate customers and it makes them forget their anger quickly in most cases.

5. Specialise A Skill and Perfecting It

Street food hawkers can also gain a lot of success if they learn a skill and offer unique products to the customers.

A perfect example of this is the success story of Dosa Plaza in India. It’s owner Prem Ganapathy started his career as a dish washer and struggled a lot to have his own food cart. He soon learned that he specialised in making dosa, so he perfected that skill by offering 26 varieties of dosas in the 1997-1998 to 105 varieties in 105.

Now Dosa Plaza is a multi-crore business and has hundreds of thousands of loyal customers.

6. Carrying on a Family Heritage

Another benefit of being a street food hawker over a restaurant owner is that in almost all cases, your kids inherit the food cart and get to make a living out of it.

When you run a successful cart, you can pass on entrepreneurship lessons to your kids and mould them into skilled business people by the time they are adults. When kids take over your business, you can just enjoy your retirement and let them see carrying on your legacy.

In essence, it can be said that street food hawkers do have the edge over the restaurant owners as far as customer service, innovation, investment capital, skill development and specialisation is concerned as they have more liberty. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, you can be a street food hawker and attain success within a few years through hard work and innovation too.

Actionable Takeaway:

Now that you are aware of the benefits of being a street food hawker in India, you should get started with your research and find a corner where people love street food, are bored of existing options and are willing to pay good money if they get quality. Good luck!


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