6th grade fail Mustafa’s fresh idli batter is going places. Find out what changed his story

Image courtesy: YouTube.com and bangalorebest.com

P.C. Mustafa was one of those kids who couldn’t care less about studying to make a career. The son of a farmer in Wayanad, Kerala, Mustafa was a free spirit until he failed his 6th standard and the possibility of helping his father in the fields threatened to become a reality. The boy was determined to not let that happen. He tried his hands at studies again with renewed determination, and succeeded.

After an engineering course at National Institute of Technology, Calicut and trysts with IT jobs in the U.K and the Gulf, Mustafa came back to India, pursued his studies in IIM, Bangalore. But his true calling came about when one day he was watching his cousins shell out Idli batter to customers in their small kirana shop.

Image courtesy: www.youtube.com
Image courtesy: www.youtube.com

Sanshudeen T.K., Abdul Nazer, Jafar T.K. and Noushad T.A. ran a small grocery shop in Tippasandra, Bangalore and Mustafa used to spend time with them at the shop after his day’s job. When he saw that Idli batter was going off shelves at an alarming rate, he understood that despite its low quality and irregular supply the batter was in very high demand.

For working women, it’s handy to make a few ‘2 minutes’ Idlis and run to office. Mustafa drew inspiration from this idea and turned into an entrepreneur, with an aim of providing better quality of Idli batter to people.

Image courtesy: cooking.jingalala.org
Image courtesy: cooking.jingalala.org

This is exactly what happened. Mustafa and his cousins began perfecting the art of making batter and in course of time saw that people loved it and wanted more! The business foray had begun. But when they decided to extend services to Chennai, the whole issue of storing fresh food without preservatives surfaced and the venture failed.

Mustafa was against using flavouring agents and preservatives and therefore limited his services to Bengaluru. Also, not very enthusiastic about getting into the packaged food business and despite warnings from other businesses, Mustafa kept to the fresh food business.

Today, though ID Special foods (that’s what they are called), does not sell packaged fast food, they are a famous outlet for not just idli batter but also chappatis, paranthas and tomato and coriander chutney.

Image © iStock.com/bonchan
Image © iStock.com/bonchan

Keeping to this much, the venture with minimum help has expanded to Chennai, Mysore, Mangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Sharjah.

Even today, fellow businesses ask Mustafa to get into the packaged food industry as shelf life of fresh foods is highly limited. But Mustafa is not drowned in the pessimism. Instead, the man believes that as both a 6th standard failed student and a Rs. 62 crore company owner, he has achieved a lot, and from now on sky is the limit!

Doesn’t this determination towards ‘fresh’ sound great after the recent ‘Maggi’ disaster?

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