He once owned a house and had his small flour mill. He lost his money in “house-societies” just like more settled and effluent businessmen do in the share market.
Arvind Kumar Jain says that he never dreamt that he would be selling khasta kachaudi from place to place in his ripe age. He has seen around 67 summers but still has to roam around on this bi-cycle to Pragati Maidan, Samta Sthal, and Rajghat etc.
Lack of money limits his prospects to open a small shop in the Seelampur area of Delhi where he lives. At the same time, due to increasing rates of food items, his margins are cutting short because he can’t increase his selling price which will lower his sales.
What is khasta kachaudi
If you have never eaten a kachudi or kachori in your life, then you certainly have missed a unique Indian savory in your life. Just like popular samosa and al00-tickie, kachudis are famous in the Indian household in various forms. In fact, some people eat stuffed kachudis mixed with sabji or curd as their only breakfast item.
However, khasta kachaudi is different from the regular ones. They are not stuffed and are harder than usual. They are more like mathis–another item Indian enjoy with tea. Khasta kachaudi, unlike the regular kachaudi can be eaten even if it is not hot. As the hot part is served by the sabji. This form of kachaudi also facilitates the taste as it is easier to maintain the same taste. It also allows Arvind to avoid preparing them on his own and just buy it from the wholesale market.
Dynamics of Business
Arvind Kumar takes Khasta Kachaudi, sabji (potato vegetable in curry), serving bowls (called a dunna), and wooden spoons from wholesale markets. He mentioned that he usually takes around 200 Khasta Kachaudis and proportional sabji, which can be estimated to around 10 Kg.
He comes to Pragati Maidan metro station at around 7 in the morning and stays there till 11 and then moves on to Rajghat and Samta Sthal. He sells 10/- INR per plate, which means he has a sales potential of 1,000/- INR per day.
The procurement of material is done on daily basis. He says that sometimes a bit of material remains unsold though usually he ends up selling his stock. Due to rain and some unfavorable climatic conditions, he sometimes experiences depleted sales.
The sabji served also contains green chillies which make it very hot in taste. However, the consumers can ask Arvind to avoid putting chillies and use other make-up as sausage, lemon, etc.
The spoons served are straight in shape it is very difficult to eat sabji with them. When I pointed it out, Arvind remarked that he can’t use plastic spoons of regular shape because they are costlier than the ones he uses. The price constraint does not allow him to facilitate the customers with a better spoon.
Constraint to expansion
I noticed that he enjoys a good sale. When prompted as why not he opens a permanent shop in some area where he thinks he can sell his kachaudis, he replied that he does not have money to do that. If some loan can be offered, he can think of it. I mentioned that there are many options available in micro-credit forms, to which he said that perhaps their interest rates are very high. He even mentioned that he believes in repaying the loan as he believes in simple Jain philosophy of Karma.
The unavailability of money remains one of the major constraints for street businesses. Though their are lots of micro-credit firms and NGOs like Rangde are working in this area, a huge opportunity still remains for entrepreneurs to explore this sector of funding in individual cities.