Gujarat-based Induben runs Chilli and Cheese, a homemade food venture that sells delicious vada pav. The shop’s story begins with Induben’s serious traffic accident.
In 2017, Induben from Mehsana Gujarat had a serious bike accident that left her spine severely injured. Her spine had multiple cracks and a nerve compression issue. She was advised of complete bed rest by the doctors if she wanted to avoid a permanent back problem. The mother of three was left devastated by this incident.
The finances of the house came to a crisis, as the money Induben had earned through her stitching business went to her treatment. Her husband, who is a government clerk, was putting all his salary into his wife’s treatment as well. The family had to feed the mouths of five and spend money on the education of the three daughters of the family.
When her daughters suggested Induben sell homemade food, she was not so confident about it. She was living in a city that had all sorts of food and food ventures, so Induben struggled to find her USP. But she had grown up in Kolhapur, and her mother often made vada pav at home. Her mother used to add her own masala to the vada pav instead of using store-bought ones. This gave the vada pav a distinct smell and taste. So Induben decided to use her mother’s recipe in her business. Thus came to existence Chilli and Cheese, Induben’s food venture.
Chilli and Cheese initially offered only vada pav and later started selling sandwiches, pizzas and burgers as well. But still, vada pav is the best seller of the shop. It is also available in mint and schezwan flavours which are favourites of the younger generation.
In February 2022, Induben also appeared in the reality TV show The Big Picture, hosted by actor Ranveer Singh. “The show changed our fate. I was afraid we would have to shut shop as none of us is an expert in marketing. Ranveer’s encouragement on the show made a huge difference. I was very nervous on the show, but when I returned home, I received so many congratulatory calls from relatives and strangers,” Induben said in an interview with The Better India. In fact, the business’s best selling item is the ‘Spicy Simba Vada Pav’, which Ranveer Singh named himself, she says.
Induben says the business has now started growing, and that they receive an average of 30-40 orders per day. Last month, they churned a revenue of Rs 1.25 lakh, of which a majority was reinvested, she notes. What was left was Rs 8,000, which she took home. Since her business had come to a standstill during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the Rs 8000 profit is also a big deal for her, says Induben.