Chandubhai Virani

Chandubhai Virani (Balaji Wafers)

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Balaji wafers which was started around 1982 with just 1 tawa(frying pan) has grown enormously and today is a Rs1000 core($170 million) company.It hold’s a hefty 65% share in 5 states where it is sold.

Chandubhai was born in a small village in Kalavad,India.Population was just 2000 and his father was a farmer.Chandubhai and his brother decided to start fertilisers and farm implement’s business with a capital of Rs 20,000 that their father had given them.But soon the venture failed due to lack of experience.They were supplied with duplicate fertilizers due to which they lost all money.

Virani’s then started canteen for college students but that too failed.At that time Chandubhai was just 17 years old.Then in 1974 the brothers started working in Astron cinema canteen.Even though they had job in canteen they did other jobs like managing ticket counter and filling in for doorkeeper.Seeing this they where given contract to run canteen.

They use to buy other local brand or loose wafers and packet them.This did make some profit but not much.The turning point came was in 1982 when they started making their own chips and wafers with just 1 tawa.Expanding these idea they decided to sell their wafers to other shops.This was the time when they first coined their brand “Balaji”.This was easy said than done.They had to wander shop to shop to sell their wafers.More difficult part for them was to collect money from shopkeepers.They were treated as beggers.But that didn’t stop Virani’s from selling chips.Their motto was to satisfy end consumer.And they did.From 1 shopkeeper to 10 and in time they had 200 loyal customers.

They hired one cook but almost half a month Virani’s had to cook for themselves because of frequent leave of their cook.But they where never heartbroken and kept going.

As demand grew they were in need of larger production which was only possible through machines and technology.So they set up machines for peeling,cutting with 10-20 kg capacity.This increased the business in 1982-1989 but profits were wafer thin.

In 1989 they brought 1000 meter plot with Rs 3.6 lack bank loan and expanded from 2 tawas to 8.After 3 years they succeeded with turnover of Rs 3 crore.But more money only motivated Viranis to do more.In the same year they set up their first automated wafer-making plant at a cost of Rs 50 lacks.However it constantly broke.Even though it had a capacity to produce 1000 kg chips per hour,several months were without any production at all.But these was not going to take Viranis down.They worked harder,understood the problem and got it solved.

Demand exceeded what they could create, and in 1999 Balaji Wafers installed a fully automatic spud chips pass, succeeding it up with other in 2003-04 with a susceptibility of 1,200 kg per hour. Income continued to acquire and, between 2000 and 2006, Balaji captured a 90 per cent chips industry in Gujarat, and also got leaders in namkeen products. Likewise, its markets in Maharashtra and Rajasthan also increased exponentially.

Thus encouraged, they set up yet another machine in Valsad in 2008 with a processing ability of 8,000 kg of potatoes, producing 2,000 kg of Murphy chips per hour. The troupe now has a susceptibility to make around 450,000 kg of potatoes per day and 400,000 kg of namkeen per day.

A small wafer business which started in a canteen of small theater with one tawa has now expanded to a big fully automated plant which covers over 85,000 sq. m and creates indirect employment for 250,000 people.

chiragChandubhai Virani (Balaji Wafers)

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