Emerging Brand :Ratnawali Ingale(Caffe U n Me)
The collegians today live in two worlds….the college and the cafe…And Ms Ratnawali Ingle exactly captured this temperament to make her entrepreneurial debut…Visit her 'Café U n Me' at Deccan Corner and you will see the cheerful faces of youngsters celebrating their life movements…And you can see satisfaction on Ratnawali's face as well.
A Computer Engineer by training Ratnawali was a homemaker for almost 15 years after her marriage, handling her family responsibilities and bringing up her daughters. However, three years ago, she decided to do something to earn and also to make her busy in the field of her likings.
“I didn't want to be in office job, so started a business. I was observing my daughters and their friends. This generation is crazy about café than hotels and restaurants. Most of the cafes are attractive but not affordable to everyone. Hence, I decided to start a café with a pleasant ambience and privacy, at the same time which is affordable to college students and middle class families,” says Ratnawali. Thus, her daughters inspired and motivated her to start 'U n Me'.
The 'U n Me' was started in 2016 and within three years now, it is having five branches in different branches in the city including at Vishrantwadi, Chinchwad, Garware Chowk and MIT.
“Around 90 % of our customers are college students. So I selected locations near to colleges and busy, crowded places. A variety of food items are available here, but there are fewer burdens on customers' pockets,” she points out.
Describing the theme, Ratnawali tells how 'U n Me's logo speaks for everything- A young couple and a red heart! “These young minds celebrate birthday parties, Valentine's day, Mother's day and many more at my café. For me, it is not always a couple. 'U n Me' can be anybody like mother-daughter, father-son, and friends. I offer discounts accordingly. For example, a discount for a mother on Mother's Day,” Ratnawali explains. Incidentally, during evening hours the café is crowded with middle-age and elderly persons with their friends and family. Her café is in demand even for corporate meetings.
To attract the customers and to retain the customer base, Ratnawali always look for innovations and creative ideas such as background music, special gifts on special occasions etc.
“My business spread by word of mouth publicity. Around 80 % customers are repeat customers, who visit the café on daily basis. Thus there is an emotional bond taking place. Sometimes, they dislike some dish or taste. We politely replace the order without any extra charges,” she adds.
She also admits that she had learnt a lot from her customers. Gone are the days when a fiancé used to propose his soul mate privately. But now proposing a fiancée has become an event! They make these candid movements memorable through a 'Propose Day'. Our café witnesses 2-3 propose days and 4-5 birthday parties in a week.
Before entering into the business, Ratnawali did a course in 'Digital Marketing' and also worked in a franchise of other café to gain some experience. Then she joined 'Saturday Club Forum' and BNI (Business Network International). Her business started flourishing, as she got her first franchise at BNI. Of course, her husband Mr Sadanand and her daughters are the strong pillars of strength for her. Ratnawali also gives credit to her mother, who is always with her in tough times.
Sharing her 'Business Mantra', Ratnawali says, “Be passionate and honest about your work. If you want to be an entrepreneur, be punctual and plan your path before you start.' She further says 'Trust' factor and customers' satisfaction are key elements of any business.
For women willing to be an entrepreneur, but not daring to start, Ratnawali advises not to waste time. “You have to take the risk and take time out of family responsibilities. Monetary aspect is equally important. You have limitations in a job, but you are your own boss in business. Also you can earn more,” she says. Ratnawali conducts sessions, seminars and meeting for awareness to encourage the new comers, especially, the women to take franchise.
Initially, some of her friends discouraged her from starting a café. But she has proved herself by earning 20,000 daily in the first month itself and upto 70 lakhs in the first year of establishment of the café, which is a great achievement.
'U n Me' has kept her so busy that she could hardly spare time for hobbies like playing badminton and guitar. But on social front she is active. Every academic year, she adopts a student from weak economic section and takes the responsibility of her/his education, health etc for that year.
For Ratnawali, it's not just 'U n Me'….It's about 'We'!
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