We were driving past Murugan Idly shop on Elliots Beach and K commented on the large crowd of waiting people spilling on the street. This is how it should be! He commented. People must stand in line patiently waiting for entry to your place. Now what is it that draws people to such shops. He is selling idly. Something that any housewife worth her batter in Chennai can do.
I understand why Dhaba Express has a similar crowd. We don't get Punjabi / North Indian cusine here in every nook or corner- the butter masalas, naans and tandooris which normally one don't make at home. So it would be a good idea to eat them outside.
But this is idly and chutney and sambhar!
The guy next to Adyar Bakery on SP Road makes a killing each day - crowd of IITians mainly- he sells bhajjis and masala vadas and daal vadas. When I was pregnant I developed a strange fascination for it and bought a couple of vadas for myself. I didn't enjoy it so much though after going through all the pains of walking up in the crowd with K waiting impatiently in the car in the middle of the road.
The Qwiky's outlet in Ascendas food court makes Rs 25000 per day profit- selling coffee/ cakes/ croissants only- not even a complete meal. And the audience is captive- those who work in Ascendas or those who come there for food court experience- destination point. Not a place someon will select for a casual coffee or come there while you are at the beach. It is a destination food court and they are making a hell lot of money. It is not even a complte coffee lounge. Just a few bar seats round the counter is the atmosphere. Rest is shared as part of the food court ambience.
Or look at Pothys sari store in T Nagar (for that matter look at T Nagar itself - what a crowd on any day at any time)- The store is teeming with people even on non sale period. There are people relaxing outside after their shopping ordeal (I call it an ordeal- it really is), people get lost within the store, families get separated and it is impossible to get someone to service you. Yet the store is bursting with customers. And it is not a Nalli or a Kumaran mind you. It is mass market sari store with downtrodden prices-as low as Rs 60-100 per cotton sari.
Saravana Store, T Nagar- Another you blink and miss the rest of your family kind of store. Infact the entire shopping duration, my grandma and Mom could never find where my Grandpa & brother were lost when they returned to the store after parking the car. Infact if you are not looking you might trip and fall into the service stairway, it is narrow and steep and comes suddenly out of nowhere in th plastic goods section.
Spencer's Mall- Have you really purchased anything there- apart from at Westside/ Pantaloon/ Fab India/ Reebok/ Titan other branded stores. What pulls people like me there? We usually end up walking around and buying nothing except parking space for those 2 hours or a Subway meal perhaps.
Fab India- They are predictable, they fade fast, they have no range, no choice and are priced high. Moreover designs - there are no designs- only full sleeve, half sleeve or sleeveless and every level of sleeve costs Rs 50- 100 incremental. Yet they sell. Lack of choice especially in Chennai? Or brand value or brand image?
Grand Sweets, Gandhi Nagar- Another of those queue reaching the street kind of store- even on normal days- I have never made a purchase there because I have no patience with the queue and waiting time.
Anjappars and Ponnuswamys- Typical South Indian food restaurants that have families waiting outside always. Cheap and Holistic South Indian meal- non veg is the main attraction. These are not the hip Chinese places where you inevitably wait for being seated. These are down-to-earth crowded places where you end up sharing tables with another family.
Wonder what attracts people so much to these places?