- It is not the wealth inherited nor the assets acquired that distinguish a person as a successful entrepreneur. It is the passion with which he or she works that shows their spirit of entrepreneurship. Despite being knocked down by fate plenty of times, Patricia Narayan got up stronger every time and worked passionately toward her goal to become the inspirational hero she is today!
- In 1980, she started out with a snacks stall at the Marina Beach, Chennai. Today, ‘Sandeepha Chain of Restaurants’ founded by Patricia employs over 200 people!
- When you learn about her life, you’ll realise why we said she was knocked down by fate repeatedly. She married Narayan when she was just 17. Since it was an inter-faith marriage, she had to marry the person she loved by going against the wishes of her parents. Though her marital life started off well, it started taking a turn to the worse when Narayan started getting addicted to drugs. There came a day when they did not have money even to buy groceries for the next day. She understood that he was not a person she could depend on to support her and her children. With that understanding, she left her husband and started a new life with her son and her daughter. The next dilemma was how to earn money. She made simple food items at her house and started selling them. But that wasn’t enough for her family of 3. So she sought financial help from her acquaintances and set a snacks stall at Marina Beach. This simple snacks stall is what has grown into ‘Sandeepha Chain of Restaurants’ today!
- Sandeepha is the name of Patricia’s beloved daughter. The story behind this name is tragic. In 2004, Patricia handled the canteens at a few government offices and was a director of a branch of Sangeetha Restaurants. After having battled with life throughout her youth, she was sailing smoothly with a steady income and a happy family. That is when the death of her daughter and son-in-law, in an accident, struck her. She broke down completely. But her son encouraged her to get out of that depression by telling, ‘You have the potential to make Sandeepha’s name live forever, mom…’ She started working, but toward a bigger goal – making her daughter’s name immortal.
- There are so many businesses, but why did Patricia choose the highly competitive food industry? She chose the food industry because of her love of food and cooking. Be it the times when she made pickles in the house that could barely accommodate the 3 members, for a daily profit of Rs 10-20, or the times when she saw a daily profit of Rs 25,000 from the snacks stall at Marina Beach, or the times she manages several prominent restaurants for a daily profit of Rs 2 lakhs, it is her love of food and cooking that got her through everything!
- Her hard work coupled with her passion for food and cooking boosted her career to great heights! In the 1980s there were so many shops one could buy snacks from. Even amidst such competition, through sheer hard work, Patricia managed to bag a chance to cater food for a Slum Clearance Board Office. Her name spread and so did her business. She started catering to National Port Trust Management School and a branch of Bank of Madurai. The National Port Trust Management School had 700 students at that time. But the numbers did not deter Patricia. She was determined to meet such challenges and succeed in her life.
- Innovation is what keeps a business alive. Patricia showed innovation in her business right from the start. When other vendors at the Marina set their stalls in the beach with whatever materials they could get to build a roof or a partition, Patricia went for a mobile cart. Secondly, there were numerous vendors who sold the usual items like tea and bajji. So she sold items that were considered new to that era – cutlets, samosa, juices, French fries, and ice cream. Thirdly, she employed 2 differently abled people to help her run the stall. She gave them the necessary training to do the jobs. Even her advertisements were different from those of other vendors. To cite an example, she would hire a look-alike celebrity to come to her stall and arrange for photos to be shot. This attracted a good crowd to her stall, thus increasing her business.
- Patricia’s success inspires us in 2 ways. Firstly, she did not have a partner to support her. With her hard work and passion as her only support, she excelled in life and business. Secondly, this kind of success is huge even for a person brought up in an urban setting. So imagine how big a success it is for a woman from Nagercoil to come to Chennai and establish herself in a highly competitive industry. May she continue to inspire thousands and thousands of people with her values and her story!