I still remember how, when I was a little girl, I would accompany my mother to MG Road for some weekly shopping, and just before we would head back home, we’d make our customary stop at Budhani Waferwala to stock up on snacks for the week. I would stare, wide-eyed, at the stacks of sacks overflowing with potatoes. Those days, and today, Pune’s love for Budhani Wafers has only increased.
So recently, when I had a chance to chat with Rishabh Budhani, the current generation of the Budhani family who joined the age-old business full time a few years ago, I was beyond excited to ask him about his work, future plans, and Pune. Read up on!
When did you join the family business?
It’s been 5 years since I have been involved in the business full time. However, my work in the store goes back to my school days. During summer holidays, I used to spend a few hours every day in our shop, learning various skills like packing the products, attending to customers, making bills, delivering goods to various clients etc. Even at that age, I used to enjoy it so much!
Tell me a little about how and when the business started; some history and interesting facts.
My grandfather, Mr. Madhavji M Budhani, who hailed from Bhuj-Kutch, launched his potato wafers’ manufacturing business on August 30, 1955, with a sum of Rs. 110. He had saved up money for years and kicked off the venture in a rented 100 sq. ft. room on MG Road, Camp.
The small space served as his living and manufacturing quarters. He soon called his brothers, Mr. Motilal M. Budhani and Mr. Mangaldas M. Budhani, down from Bhuj, to help him and together they were stronger! They took turns to fry the chips and cycled around the city to sell them. In 1970, the business grew stronger and witnessed more success when they upgraded to a convenient gas fryer.
Soon, the second generation got involved in the business and in 1974, the family bought a range of semi-automatic machines and a diesel fryer.
As the business continued to grow bigger, to meet the increasing demands, the family imported a fully automated chip line in 2004.
And finally in 2016, we started a new production unit in Ramtekdi, Hadapsar, with a vision to expand nationally and internationally, keeping the taste and quality top-notch!
Being the third-generation entrepreneur, I have seen three generations of customers coming from across India and abroad, sharing their Budhani memories and moments from back in their time.
The fact that my grandfather started the business with just a sum of Rs. 110 still amuses, and most importantly, inspires me and everyone else who knows about it!
What do you love the most about Pune?
I cannot name just one thing as that will not do justice to what I feel for Pune. The people here are so kind that you feel an instant connection with them even though it’s the first time you’re meeting them.Being in this business, meeting so many customers daily, I love how friendly they are and most importantly, how happy they are to see Budhani grow. They always give us their wishes and blessings for our future endeavours. It’s a people’s city!
Another thing I must mention is how green Pune is! The nature around us is truly mesmerising. And of course, the weather- just the right amount of rain, heat and cold! A special mention goes to Pune’s food- from amazing street food to classy restaurants serving amazing delicacies, Pune has it all!
What are your future plans for the business?
Our vision is to deliver the best quality products at economical prices across the globe. We aim at expanding our products’ line. We have always worked on our production as well as packaging process to make it more environment friendly. So yes, I am working on expanding the business, keeping our environment in mind as that’s the future. What we give to nature, it gives us back.
Some similarities between Budhani Bros Waferwala as a brand and Pune as a city?
Pune and Budhani Wafers both have a history that people love hearing about. We have both developed over the years while keeping our roots, culture and values intact. And I must say, we are both loved by everyone who has visited us!