There is no person in Bengaluru who have not heard about Vidyarthi Bhavan. To that extent, this legendary hotel has made its mark in the heart of Bengalurians. Started as a modest eatery for students, over the years, has stood a test of time to become a landmark food point in the city. Vidyarthi Bhavan in the quaint area of Basavanagudi, Gandhi Bazaar was established in 1943. In the journey, it has quenched the thirst of Billion food lovers for yummy Masala Doses’s. This year, it turns 75, the restaurant has managed to cater the onslaught of newcomers, native foodies offering an authentic taste of food in the city.
Benne Masala Dose is the Top Seller
The management here keeps track of the number of customers each day through a Dose Lekka. It is said that the number is around 1,250 on Weekday, and up to 2,200 per day on a Weekend. Clearly, Benne Masala Dose is the top seller and the other most loved items are poori-saagu, Khara bath, Kesari bath, idli-sambar, uppittu, and rava vade.
There used to be Gulab Jamoon (not the regular round shaped one) in the menu of Vidyarthi Bhavan but today, you don’t find it as the chef who made it from scratch passed away in the 1980s, says Arun Adiga, managing partner, Vidyarthi Bhavan.
From Rs.1 in the 1980s to Rs.46 for a Dose
Over the years, Vidyarthi Bhavan has managed to increase their customer base. They have extended their timings till 8 p.m on demand and seems that there is no plan to extend it further, as they are not into meals. The management has understood that it will have an implication on the shift timings of their 28 employees.
Talking about the rates, Mr. Adiga said, we have seen a huge change from Rs.1 in the 1980s to Rs.46 for a Dose. Along with us, there are so many loyal customers who have been a part of this change.
“Bengaluru has changed. In the 1940s, when Vidyarthi Bhavan was started, people were conservative about eating out. People who came here were students and people who came to Bengaluru. Now, it is the other way round. People barely cook at home and eating out is the norm. People will search for new restaurants. But, unless you maintain quality, there will not be repeat customers.” (Source: The Hindu)
Customers come in with High Expectations
Vidyarthi Bhavan, over the years, has become so popular that it is counted one among the heritage places of Bengaluru. From being an Adda of intellectuals, writers, and famous personalities, VB is also there in the likes of stalwarts like Rajnikanth and others. There was a time when people like Masti Venkatesh Iyengar, DV Gundappa, Rajkumar, C Ashwath used to hang out and till date, the glory continues. Beyond its regular circles and south Bengaluru, the popularity of VB has reached to newer levels through social media. However, there is a B-side to it.
Mr.Adiga says that customers come in with high expectations, and sometimes, they end up in disappointment. Be it with the building (there has been some change but the old self is still kept alive), the uneasiness of sharing a table with strangers, or not being impressed with the taste of the food.
We Can’t satisfy everyone, though we try to satisfy at least 90% of the customers – Mr. Adiga
Adiga feels that in this age of social media, people won’t wait for a second to review their experience on social media branding it either good or bad. He further adds that people ask for the menu and they feel disappointed when we say that we have only six items to offer.
Well, all said and done, Bengaluru will not get another Vidyarthi Bhavan and there is no second thought to it. You might have visited this hotel for ‘n’ number of times but still, you don’t find an excuse to skip a visit to this legendary hotel. That’s Vidyarthi Bhavan for you.
Congratulations to the management of Vidyarthi Bhavan for completing 75 glorious years. Let it continue for more and more years to come.
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