The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic brought the entire world to a standstill with businesses being shut, people losing jobs and taking up odd jobs to earn their living.
Mumbai's Pankaj Nerurkar's life took a hit after his popular food joint, Khadpe's, which had been serving authentic and delicious Malvani food in Prabhadevi for the past three years, was shut due to the pandemic. The movement was restricted during the COVID-induced lockdown which massively impacted the footfall and hence the sales. Nerurkar was unable to provide for the rent as well as the salaries to his staff.
However, he did not let the crisis get the better of him. Nerurkar decided to don the chef's hat but this time instead of the customers flocking, he would bridge the gap to reach them. He started preparing the meals at home with the help of his wife and to solve the problem of space, he started a mobile restaurant in his nano car. Called 'Nano Food', soon, word spread about authentic Malvani food being served from the backseat of his vehicle.
"It has been twenty years that I have been in the restaurant business. I have worked with a number of chefs and learnt numerous lessons. All that I learnt from my mother, I got an opportunity to introduce and experiment with dishes with my restaurant. People liked the quality and we were earning at least ₹50,000-60,000 per day," Nerurkar told Curly Tales.
"Once the restaurant was shut, I had to face people mocking my decision and passing comments on if I would be able to get through the tough times. But my family supported and encouraged me to start afresh and to start with all the resources that we had. We decided to make use of the car and made a WhatsApp group to communicate and advertise about our return," he explained.
To enable the customers to access quality food at an affordable price amid the pandemic, Nerurkar reduced the price of his dishes. With determination, consistent efforts and reduced overheads, his meals-on-wheels is now making ₹1 lakh every month!