Why Adiga’s wants a COO for idli-vada-sambar

Vasudev Adiga, whose parents started the legendary Brahmins’ Coffee Bar in Chamarajpet, wants to take the Adiga’s chain beyond Bangalore, take it beyond the South, and take it to the highways—and standardise South Indian vegetarian food like other fast food joints.

Saritha Rai throws light on his delectable plans in the Indian Express:

“For generations, instinct and experience have guided the cooks who prepare the dosa batter and sambar mix. But a determined Adiga wants his brand in India’s metros by 2018. He wants the Adiga’s sign to beckon travellers on major highways, though McDonald’s and KFC have already preceded him there.

“So, conquering his twin fears of losing control and of outsiders meddling in his business, Adiga has brought in venture capital (Infosys co-founder N.S. Raghavan’s VC firm New Silk Route has invested in the chain.)

“South India’s idli-vada-dosa restaurants have remained largely standalone or single-city brands. Their owners’ ambitions have been thwarted by the challenges of standardising recipes and sourcing ingredients. For example, the dosa batter, a ground mixture of dal and rice, depends on such variables as the quality of water, grinding time and fermenting time, besides the quality of the dal and rice….

“But all that cannot see him through the risks of expanding countrywide, acknowledges Adiga. He is hiring a chief operating officer to take charge of the expansion. The chain is corporatising on many others levels. Like the multinationals, all sourcing will be centralised, except for perishables like vegetables and milk.

“The back-end will be automated by bringing in industrial-style machines to chop vegetables and wash dishes. Just like the MNC chains, which get outside agencies to dice the potatoes just so, Adiga’s too wants to “outsource” such tasks.”

File photograph: The BJP’s Ananth Kumar dives into a plate of idli-sambaar in Basavanagudi while campaigning in the 2009 elections (Karnataka Photo News)

Read the full story: Sambar, extra tangy please

Also read: Real-estate sharks gobbling up our best eateries

A good dosa is like your first love: unsurpassable

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31 Responses to “Why Adiga’s wants a COO for idli-vada-sambar”

  1. tamma timma Says:

    Why not? Saravana Bhavan has already demonstrated this model successfully (in terms of the food it servers, not their CEO getting embroiled in visa controversy). Whats wrong with Adiga huduga venturing into something more ambitious than his father?

  2. harkol Says:

    First of all, Adiga may do well to concentrate on giving a consistent good experience in all his existing outlets. There are good ones and there are some not so good ones in Bangalore.

  3. GG Says:

    Sakkath idea. As a Bangalorean living in the North-East, I can tell you this can be very successful if implemented properly. Here, they sell idli-dose like fast food! And they have such abominations like the Tandoori Manchurian Cheese Schezwan Masala Dose.

  4. Shree Kar Says:

    Karnataka’s 2 Kamat chains have already done this many decades ago. Mumbai’s Kamat chain ( unrelated to Karnataka Kamats) did it on a grander scale. Now Vasudeva Adiga’s is doing it – maybe on a different scale.

  5. navollasa Says:

    adiga should concentrate Delhi NCR Gurgaon and Noida. Lots of Kannadigas are there. except for tamil atrocity of saravana bhavan ( which doesn’t have neer dose or set dose – which is ideal for delhi heat )

    there is a dearth of proper dose idli joints in delhi . lot of oppurtunities to start recipe classes as well.
    coffee may not work well in summer but will do in winter. sweets are almost not available.( sometimes i wonder when bangalis and gujaratis can make it why not ours )

    also maintain kannada boards somewhere to say its not only tamil ( south is recognized by rk puram slum in delhi ).
    sagar ratna does not have kannada boards although it maintains bengloor taste – sometimes puliogare gets garam masala :-(

    our state dishes are more organic and designed for every geography. the hoteliers should understand this science and then expand . city health depends on you people.

  6. MysooruBoyz Says:

    @GG those abominations you mention are slowly but surely making their way here…

  7. DailyBread Says:

    >(Infosys co-founder N.S. Raghavan’s VC firm New Silk Route has invested in the chain.)

    N. S. Raghvan (NSR) = New Silk Route(NSR)

    Shekhar Gupta and his team are notoroius for their pathetic quality of research; is there any connection between NS Raghavan and New Silk Route or is it just a case of Gupta’ s soldiers putting 2 & 2 together to make it 22.

  8. vgowda Says:

    didnt churumuri get any other photo…i hate to see this guy…..more or less he is the guy responsible for all the problems in the present BJP government and in the end losing 5 valuable years without any work….

  9. Spamesha Says:

    Nice, now children all over the country can get an opportunity to work as cleaners at Adiga’s…bengloor nalli maathra alla…

  10. parijataka Says:

    Great idea. Been done by others though earlier. Hope this works out well for Adigas.

  11. harkol Says:

    vgowda: Really? Seriously?

    You mean, Ananth Kumar asked Katta, Yeddy, Reddy etc. to indulge in run away corruption, with wanton disregard for law? Did he incite Renukacharya & Halappa etc. to let their libido get the better of them? Had he asked Murgesh Nirani to indulge in multiple scams? Did he induced Savadi and Patil to watch porn in assembly?

    Come on! BJP’s troubles in Karnataka are stemming from sacrifice of principals at the altar of power. They started by buying MLAs, and that led them down the path of Mining & land scams.

    Ananth is one of the decision makers from BJP central leadership, but I suspect higher blame rests with Sushma Swaraj, Jaitley, Gadkari and other Karnataka local leaders.

  12. sunil Says:


    Greediness and corruption is the problem of the current BJP govt. No point in blaming x y or z.

  13. rama Says:

    Navollasa!!! so you were waiting for Adigas to announce their expansion plans to hog on neer dosa @ NCR?! Tamil atrocity it seems! you dont deserve any!

  14. DailyBread Says:

    Darshinis are real the QSRs. They have a great business model. The innovation, improvisation & standardization they have done using stainless steel in their kitchens, restaurant furniture, crockery etc. is simply amazing. The quality, quantity, consistency in taste, speed of delivery and the right temperature of the food throughout the day should become subject of case studies in our Business Schools.

    Mr. Adiga, wish you the best in this endeavor, I am sure you will be successful in what you have set out to do.

    PS: Focus on value for money Darshini format….

  15. D.Shrijay Devaraj Urs Says:

    I am happy to hear that Karnataka brand is spreading outside and as suggested there should be something to indicate that it is from Karnataka whether it is kannada board or something else . There is a possibility of confusion .Hope some more karnataka brands will spread.

  16. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    Good idea, as long as there’s something Kannada/Karnataka about the food that results from this standardization. As it is we have to suffer through “sambar”, “rasam”, “pongal” in supposedly Kannadiga run restaurants. MTR is beyond hope, but they still have the right saaru and haven’t gone the way of the watery, peppery piss known as rasam.

    Our restaurateurs are like the rest of us – they let others decide what our food (among other things) is. No wonder everyone knows about Andhra cuisine, and Chettinad cuisine, and Kerala cuisine, but what passes as “Udipi” cuisine is konga cuisine.

    The only restaurants where one can find food truly from Karnataka are the Kamats, Pai Refreshments and sundry other North Karnataka establishments. There are very few places (if any) to get a good patrode or hidakavare bele huli or hulisoppu (with raagi mudde) or majjige huli or tambli or kaayi dose or bassaaru etc. The situation is probably worse with non-veg preparations.

  17. Nastika Says:

    @Gokulam 3rd Stage,
    South Indian or for that matter Karnataka cuisine that is sold is actually a Udupi cuisine pioneered by Shivalli Brahmins.

    Unfortunately there is hardly any places in South Karnataka that provide native south Karnataka food (like ragi mudde, palya, saru). Ragi mudde is replaced by poori or chapathi. Saru is udupi style. Palya is only cabbage – no other vegetable of any beans/grams).

    Non-veg, baring few military hotels, is basically Punjabi cuisine with Andhra style preparation. No where you can get gives wood-fired nati-koli saru.


  18. M Says:

    @ Gokulam 3rd Stage. Thanks for pointing out that there is nothing Udupi in Darshini cuisine. I think true Udupi breakfast snack would be Sajjige-Bajil (=Uppittu-Avalakki); and for evening tea, Goli-Baje (=sweetened banana bajji) and Buns (cannot recall the ingredients). Udupi restaurants in Udupi find it difficult to sell these and instead they offer Mysore Masala Dosa.

  19. harkol Says:

    Gokulam: I am puzzled. Which ‘Udipi’ cuisine t are you talking of? I haven’t seen anyone claiming to have a Udupi cuisine except Kodiyal in Malleshwaram.

  20. D.Shrijay Devaraj Urs Says:

    Thank you Gokulam friend for listing some of the unique items particularly chitakdavare that too farm fresh and that too sone avarekai in the month of december and jan it would be like SWARGAKKE KICHHU HECHHANDA .[ I must mention here that Sri.Devaraj Urs ,former Chief Minister of Karnataka who was fond of local food had asked my brother to arrange at home on two occassions as he was the police officer in Mysore and I have witnessed him enjoying it ] My only plea is build karnataka brand .

  21. Sankaran Says:

    All the best to Adiga. When it comes to sambar, its always legendary Saravana Bhavan, no once can match the taste.

  22. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    harkol, I speak of the ones here in the US. They spell them “Udipi”, serve nothing from Udupi and play Tamil film songs in the background. Not one person from the staff could recognize a kotte kadubu if it hit them in the face. The tragedy is that these are run by bunts who happily speak to the servers and cooks in Tamil rather than hire people who know true Udupi cuisine.

  23. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    M, you have your golibaje and bun mixed up. Golibaje is savoury and made with maida, coconut, curds and chillies. Buns are made from bananas.

    DSDJ, yakree hotte uristeera? US alli namge frozen avare kaye gati.

  24. har.sri.ga Says:

    Its time for udupi restaurant owners to get into fine dining segment. I dont mind having a beer along with hot idli sambhar… Times have changed.
    On one side we need more and more darshinis ; on another hand we need fine dining places serving good Karnataka dishes where we can relax, enjoy the food and still feel at home.. I am bored of eating indo-chinese, north indian food in all these fine dining places.
    I better not mention about places trying to serve international cuisine, most of them are wannabes! there are very few places in Bangalore which come close to serving authentic mexician, italian etc in their plates..

  25. chidu22 Says:

    Saambaar is not Karnataka/Kannada in the first place. Our brethern have conveniently forgotten Saaru, thanks to Tamilization of Karnataka food.Idli -Vaada matthu saaru.

  26. Nastika Says:

    @Gokulam 3rd Stage,
    South Indian or for that matter Karnataka cuisine that is sold anywhere is actually a Udupi cuisine pioneered by Shivalli Brahmins.

    Unfortunately there is hardly any places even in South Karnataka that provides native south Karnataka food (like ragi mudde, palya, saru). Ragi mudde is replaced by poori or chapathi. Saru is Udupi style. Palya is only cabbage – no other vegetable or any ಕಾಳು.

    Non-veg, baring few military hotels, is basically Punjabi cuisine in Andhra style preparation. No where you will get ನಾಟಿ ಕೋಳಿ ಸಾರು prepared on ಸೌದೆ ಒಲೆ.


  27. harkol Says:

    Gokulam: I know what you mean! ;-) I have visited Udupi palace in sunnywale some 3 yrs back & another one near maryland (long back). People in US rave about it, but I found the food ordinary and nothing to do with Udupi.

    But, the saravana bhavana in Sunnyvale was even worse. Wonder why we stood in a queue to find a table there!

  28. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    Nastika, I am half Shivalli Brahmin, and there is nothing in an Udupi restaurant that my ajji would consider her own. I have had the pleasure of eating raagi mudde outside my own home (or homes of friends) exactly once, at a small matha in Mudukuthore a long time ago.

    harkol, the one in Sunnyvale is probably the worst of the lot. As for the Saravana Bhavana, I have been to one twice in my life. I don’t know why I went the second time.

  29. the colonel Says:

    So food has been its rightful place, what one recommends is RIGHTLY shot down by others.

    Darshini is for hunger and not taste.

    Therefore where in bangalore do i get good tasty sambar if not at home.

    or not even there.

  30. MysooruBoyz Says:

    New Silk Route has nothing to do with N.S Raghavan !!
    Check out http://nsrpartners.com/content/new-silk-route-buys-fast-food-chain-adiga%E2%80%99s

  31. navollasa Says:

    nimagyakri hotte uri . saravanabhavana makes kal dose which is really kallu. else its all papery stuff which they call mysoor masala dose due to which delhiites ask if mysoor is in tamil nadu!!
    see what you people do even here!

    proper 3mm soft home made dose is just a dream to get.
    hunase huli , ,majjige hulli , kaayi palya , gojju , neeru maajige all served on a plantain leaf with people wearing panche with bheemsen joshi at background – yes what else red fort and all those monuments of delhi are laid out for?

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