Meet Venkatesh Iyer, The Banker Who Started The Popular Food Chain Goli Vada Pav – News18

Curated By: Business Desk

Last Updated: December 11, 2023, 12:34 IST

Venkatesh Iyer started Goli Vada Pav in 2004.

The outlets of Goli Vada Pav exist in 20 states and its total annual turnover is more than Rs 55 crore.

It is comparatively simple to carve a business enterprise, while working on a conventional idea in the corporate world. It, however, requires confidence and persistence to develop your business on an unconventional path. This is what investment banker Venkatesh Iyer did. He was into finance, but he shifted to the food business. He is the founder of the popular food chain Goli Vada Pav. Venkatesh Iyer started his venture in 2004. Today, Goli Vada Pav has 350 outlets and is a matter of case studies as well in Harvard Business School to Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. The outlets of Goli Vada Pav exist in 20 states and its total annual turnover is more than Rs 55 crore.

A major highlight of the Goli Vada Pav shops is that the company recruits people who quit school after completing class 10 or even before that. This is because Venkatesh Iyer wanted to help people coming from poor economic backgrounds.

There is an interesting anecdote behind how Venkatesh chose the word Goli for his business venture. He explained the reason behind this in an interview with a portal. Venkatesh recalled that when he used to talk to someone about the Vada Pav shop, people used to say, “Kya Goli De Raha Hai?” (What Goli are you giving?)”. He said that the word Goli, which means fake, is a part of the widely spoken common colloquial language in Mumbai. It was from here that he got the idea to use the word Goli for his shop’s name. Venkatesh started his first outlet for Goli Vada Pav in Thane in 2004.

Venkatesh is also contributing towards the education of children who are from impoverished backgrounds and are unable to pursue education at schools. Three E has been prominently included in the core agenda of the company. This means education, employment, and entrepreneurship. Venkatesh says that he is deeply influenced by Infosys co-founder, NR Narayana Murthy.

In an earlier interview with The Hindu, Venkatesh said, “Though I was born and brought up in the Maximum City, I never really paid attention to the poor man selling Vadapav by the roadside. But for the first time, I started to observe keenly and was fascinated by the fact that 50 vadas bobbed out of the big kadai in five minutes.” It was at that moment that Venkatesh decided to re-package the vada pav into a branded product.