A perfect meal is incomplete without a hearty dessert and a sweet shop came across as a perfect business idea to Giani Gur Charan Singh (giani or gyani means learned) who came as a refugee to Delhi from Lyallpur, Pakistan.
This is a phenomenal success story of a name which has been serving the sweet tooth of Delhites for more than seven decades now. Started in 1956 in small shop in Chandni Chowk, Giani‘s journey began with just one item to offer its customers and that is Rabri Faluda. The outlet got popular among the shoppers who came to Delhi’s oldest market to buy their monthly groceries as well as with shopkeepers from small towns and other cities, who went there to buy wholesale goods from its narrow alleys.
Looking at the growing footfall Giani ji expanded their menu card and added milkshakes, halwas and ice creams to the list and became the perfect neighborhood dessert shop. Their strength is offering the creamiest of ice creams at an exciting, affordable price which got popularity among the middle class. A refugee had managed to strike perfect chord with the sweet tooth of Delhi. In 1962, Giani-di-Hatti bought its first machine – a second-hand one – but still a huge investment at Rs 12,000.
But as the Indian economy opened, and a wave of economic growth ushered in new prosperity and western-styled shopping malls, the Gianis felt they needed to reach out to new customers who were being scooped up by the new boys on the block — the Baskin Robbins and Gelato stores. So Gianis began to change with the times. They blended their goodwill with some innovative product mixes and introduced ice cream, shakes and sundaes to woo new customers.
They imported machinery from Italy but procured milk only from farmers with whom they had an old partnership. This was also a time when recession was breaking the backbone of common man. But a smart move by the Gianis turned this tough time into a golden opportunity for them. The rentals had dropped and this was the time when they could enter even the posh localities of Delhi and woo their taste buds.
The brand is now run by Gurpreet who took over the family business after completing his MBA from University of Leeds, England. He made several organizational changes and adopted a franchisee model to reach out to more and more people. The joint which was popular for its falooda, shakes and moong dal halwa, now offers 38 flavours of ice-cream, varieties of fruit shakes and ice cream sodas.
Gurpreet says, “Lot of people feel entering the family business is very easy but I don’t think so. The expectations are very high, a lot of things are at stake and one wrong decision can take an adverse effect. Now the challenge is the keeping up with people’s expectation and sustaining in the market and fighting the competition.”
While his father spoke to him about the tricks of the trade he made one thing very clear to Gurpreet. “Never lose touch with the middle class. Whenever anything goes wrong focus on what the middle class of this country wants and follow that,” he had advised.
They manufacture and retail ice creams so they understand both the aspects of the business making their grip extremely strong. For years they have grown their customer base just through low-cost radio advertisement.
A strong believer in hard work and perseverance, Gurpreet feels budding entrepreneurs should not be afraid of failure. “Failure is temporary, but giving up makes it permanent,” he reiterates. Giani’s success story tells us how you can stick to basic principles, stand tall against changing external conditions and continue the legendary legacy of your services.
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