2 idlies (1 plate) costs Rs 25 inside Prasad's iMax while few meters away, on tank bund road, these bicycle canteens sell as much as 5 idlies for just five rupees. That's an idly a rupee.
I do not intend to make any positive or negative remarks about the hygiene factor or quality of ingredients used because I haven’t cross checked the same. But it appears there’s no such compromise on these parameters and these vendors operate on wafer this margin. I did eat once at such a shop and taste was decent. The same food will cost 10 times more inside iMax (or other posh malls/hotels) mainly because of overheads (rent, electricity, advertising, tax, salaries etc besides higher profit margins).
They are quite self sustained and eco friendly. They do collect all waste papers and leftovers and take them back home to dispose at proper place. I haven’t found them spoiling the environment except customers washing their hands..
Haven’t found such canteens (operated on cycles) in other cities like Chennai or Bangalore, though we get to see canteens on four wheeled carts in all cities.
Each cycle is fully loaded-with two containers carrying chutney in front, one big drum in the back (on luggage carrier) containing idlies, dosas and vadas, a big plastic bag hooked to left side which is to be used as dust bin, a plastic can hung to the seat carrying water (a mineral water bottle will be refilled from water in this can-and water is all purpose- for drinking, for washing hands and to dilute the chutney if required :) ) There can be additional bags and facilities to keep paper sheets (which serve as plates) and other accessories.
Not sure how much profit they make. With very low inventory carrying capacity, I think they can serve around 100-150 customers max with the food they can carry at once. Assuming a 10% profit (10 paise on Re 1 idly) they probably make around 100 rupees per session (assuming each customer spends around 5-10 Rs). Not sure if the sell lunch and dinner this way.
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