No Harvard, Stanford, MIT or IIMs here. But….

On 2nd January we went to Rayar’s mess to have our breakfast. We had one of the best breakfasts we ever had, of course outside my home. Piping hot, freshly made Idlis, Vadas and my favourite Pongal, followed by filter coffee. The taste lingered in my mouth for about a week. Spoke about Rayar’s mess, on Arundale Street, Mylapore to at least a dozen people. Saw their customer rating on Zomaro. Felt delighted.

Yesterday we went to the Marina Beach for an early morning long walk to be followed by a visit to Bindu’s uncle’s place for breakfast and coffee. Unfortunately (luckily) for us, her uncle and their family were not home and hence we went to Rayar’s mess again. My mouth started watering again..

We reached the mess at about 8.45 am and were told that the wait was at least for 45 minutes. Scores of people were waiting to get a seat. The mess starts service at 7 am and closes by 10.30 am for breakfast, serving Idli, Vada and Pongal along with accompaniments. There are only four tables with four seats per table totalling sixteen customers per batch. Customers are served in batches, and the next batch of customers are allowed entry only after the earlier batch of customers complete their breakfast. Despite being told by the guy who takes down your name in a sequence on the waiting list that one would have to wait for at least 45 minutes before getting in, 95% of those walked in, waited patiently. We went inside the mess by about 10 and had our sumptuous breakfast. We came out and waited for about ten minutes to pay for what we had eaten. Yes, there are no bills, no printouts. The gentleman from the mess will ask you for details of what you have eaten and tell you how much to pay. You pay and then leave. 

For seven decades, the place has been run like this with some minor changes but with no change to their success. It’s an iconic place especially to have breakfast in Chennai. Limited menu, freshly made food, served with a personal touch in a simple set up with no frills whatsoever. Extraordinary value, delivered profitably, every time to create and keep customers for life. Please click on the link below to read the news item about Rayar’s Mess published in The Hindu newspaper.

Rayars still spins glorious idli tales
Isn’t this supposed to be at the core of every business? Delivering profitable value to create and retain customers.  

The man who set up Rayar’s mess and the third generation who run it now, understand their business purpose well. None of them is from Harvard, Wharton, Stanford or any of the IIMs. You don’t need any fancy MBA, so long as you understand your purpose and deliver!

Photographs taken when we went there:


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