Authentic idlies and south Indian snacks to the tune of contemporary rock music — that is what Café Idly is all about. Founded by brothers Dinesh and Rajesh in late 2009, the café fits into a snug corner in Frazer Town, Bangalore.
“We wanted to start something on our own, right from our college days,” reveals Dinesh, 26, a commerce graduate. “I was working in HR, and then came a time when we thought, enough of corporates.” On starting Café Idly, he says, “We wanted to do something in the field of food and beverages, either on the lines of Cafe Coffee Day or KFC.”
Frazer Town was the chosen area. “We were born and brought up here,” says Dinesh, “and we thought it would be better to start in an area that is familiar.” Then, they realised that Frazer Town has a fair share of restaurants and cafés. “Beginning something like Cafe Coffee Day or a burger joint would mean we are in direct competition with the major players,” adds Dinesh.
That realisation lead to an idea — to start a café with a twist, where the menu would be starkly different from what CCD or other fast food joints offer. The interior was designed by the duo. The brothers chose south Indian food, mainly a variety of idlies — its familiarity and easy accessibility being major factors. The menu has the idly in its sedate and popular form, and idlies with a twist, like the burger idly, in addition to other snacks.
On the choice of rock music, Dinesh concurs, “It’s a personal preference. We like music, and we had our own collection of cassettes and tapes. We wanted to make use of that collection.” Café Idly encourages customer requests too regarding what music to play. “If we don’t have it in our playlist,” adds Rajesh, 28, “we assure them it’ll be available the next time. Some people come here just for food, others for the music.”
When asked about marketing, Dinesh says, “We don’t have a huge budget for marketing. We have tie-ups with local businesses where our customers go.” Posters from those businesses, pinned to a board, decorate a wall in Café Idly. “We exchange posters — it’s cost effective and beneficial for both of us.”
“We started with around `5 lakh,” says Dinesh. That included kitchen as well as the space. In the future, the brothers plan to bring out music-related merchandise like T-shirts, caps and bags.
“As of now, we have only two tables,” Dinesh reveals, although the brothers have a brisk business in takeaways. They are planning to expand in the near future. Dinesh advocates consistency in service and quality. “It’s mostly self-service. I am not saying we have the best idlies, but I can say it will taste the same today and six months later.” Delicious food at reasonable rates and friendly customer service are Café Idly’s catchphrase. For more information, visit www.cafeidly.com.