Thursday, April 22, 2004

The Darshini phenomenon

When it first opened some 15 years ago, Upahara Darshini on DVG Road in Basavanagudi, probably sparked off a phenomenon in the restaurant business that has remained unique to Bangalore to this day. The new class of self-service restaurants serving delicious south-indian cuisine, fresh from the oven or tawa, with hitherto unseen standards of cleanliness, all served at prices that didn't make a dent in one's pocket, exploded across the city. To this day, the phenomenon has endured. The most expensive item on the menu in Adigas, one of the chains of Darshinis around town is just Rs. 12/- A plate of idli and vada with sambar and coconut chutney washed down with a glass of filter coffee is the best way to begin your day. Hygienic food at such rockbottom prices are a god send for a city with a huge working and floating population. By investing in minimal real estate, manpower (its all self-service) these restaurants have managed to keep their costs low and customers smiling. Interestingly this phenomenon does not seem to have replicated itself in other cities, even in South India.


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