Royal Sandwich stall on TTK Road needs no introduction. Akshatha Iyer on the man behind this successful enterprise
Remember those yummy sandwiches that would threaten to cause traffic snarls on TTK Road?
Yes, you’ve got it right. It’s the famous Royal Sandwich stall on TTK Road in Alwarpet, which always has a swarm of people around it.
What is so special about sandwiches here that people keep flocking to the stall for it, one may be temped to ask its owner, Sheik.
“I try out new varieties of filling and toasting the bread till it is a perfect sandwich,” says Sheik, who hails from a family with modest resources in Madurai. He moved to Chennai, along with his two brothers, and during his initial years in the city, he tried his hand at various jobs including that of a delivery boy in a departmental store.
However, he did not enjoy his work and his mind was constantly filled with the idea of establishing a snack stall of his own. With a mix of perseverance and luck, he managed to open his sandwich stall in 2000, which he named Royal Sandwich because it was attached to Royal Shop, a departmental store on TTK Road. In the early years of his small business, he had only a few customers as he did not know how to publicise his enterprise. Shoppers at Royal Shop were his customers.
Through patience, persistence and tastier sandwiches, his customer base increased until all Alwarpet and neighbourhoods around it knew him by the taste of his sandwiches.
Sheik has become popular, especially with the youngsters, who consider Royal Sandwich stall to be a cool hangout.
Sneha, a resident on TTK Road, says, “I have known this shop since its inception. Sheik Anna has supplied sandwiches for all my birthday parties.”
Sheik has a fan page on Facebook, which has over 2000 members. As a practice, Sheik visits stalls similar to his with the idea of improving the quality of his stall. Sheik wants to expand, setting up a restaurant exclusively for sandwiches.