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Y. Aasife Ahmed’s journey from a pushcart to a chain of plush restaurants
Y. Aasife Ahmed is the owner of Aasife Biryani, which is a popular chain of biryani outlets in Chennai. Aasife Biryani has nine branches in the city with an annual turnover of around Rs. 70 crores. Aassife’s childhood was full of struggles, challenges, and hardships. He started delivering newspapers while he was in class seven. Then he started selling old notebooks and papers to wholesale market for making a good profit.
After his father lost his job he was shifted from a private school to a government school. At the age of 14, Aasife started doing knitting work on the leather footwear for a company in Chrompet.
When the leather industry went through a slump Aasife joined as an assistant to Asmath, a biryani specialist in the area. He was paid Rs 500 whenever Asmath hired him.
Y. Aasife Ahmed was not much for bookish learning, his interest was more into cooking. So at the age of 18, he apprehend with a biryani cook. His passion for cooking and his experience under veteran cook gave him the confidence to start a venture of his own.
”I knew what I was passionate about, and I set about pursuing my dream”.
”It was my love for cooking, the desire to achieve something big in life, hard work, and my self-confidence that contributed to my growth”, says Aasife.
Aasife started with five kg of biryani on a thallu vandi (pushcart) on Butt Road in St. Thomas Mount, which has now grown to 500 kg of biryani per day served out at four Aasife Biryani Centre outlets all around the city.
He maintained the quality of biryani irrespective of the change in prices of the ingredients, which attracted more customers.
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In three months his daily sale increased which resulted in an increase in profit. He bought a Bajaj M80 to transport the food from home to his shop. Unfortunately, he had to shut down his shop due to threats from local Rowdy. He set up shop at Butt Road in St. Thomas Mount. In 2002, he opened his proper outlet at Butt Road with a capacity of only 15 people.
After 3 years, he shifted his shop to a large multi-cuisine outlet in a 1,500 sq ft area in near place. In 2014 they had a total of eight restaurants. In an interview, Aasife said ” The expansion was mainly funded through banks and private loans. I ploughed back most of the profit back into the business as well”.
While the shop was established as Aasife and Brothers, they have now parted ways. He gave two restaurants each to his two brothers and mother and kept remaining two himself, which are now part of Aasife Biryani Private Limited, where he holds 99 percent stakes.
Aasife who got married in 2004, and has a daughter and two sons.
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