Remember the song ‘Peta Rap' from the film “Kaathalan”? Here's a new twist to those words — PetaWrap. Brainchild of Rakesh Raghunanthan, PetaWrap is a kiosk that sells vegetarian and non-vegetarian wraps, shaped like Mexican burritos. Designed to resemble autos, these kiosks are set up near supmarket stores. A steady stream of customers at the Gandhi Nagar kiosk, set up near a Pantaloon showroom, includes college students with bikes and executives who drive around in cars.
When Rakesh returned from the U.S. in 2009, with an MBA degree from the University of Hartford (Connecticut) and a one-year experience in market research and credit risk rating, he wanted to enter business.
All the options he considered were related to food. “I've always enjoyed cooking, and wanted to start some kind of food business. I settled on wraps, because I consider them wholesome.”
While discussing the business effort with his friend, musician Anil Srinivasan, Rakesh told him he was looking for a name that would give wraps a Chennai flavour. “Without waiting to think, Anil said: ‘Call it Petawrap!' I thought it was an awesome name.”
After brainstorming with a few other friends, Rakesh got the idea of a kiosk resembling an auto. “I wanted to localise ‘wraps' as much as possible. The common man in Chennai must have travelled by an auto at least once.”
Rakesh tied up with Pantaloon, Cognizant Technologies and Bharat Petroleum, and started business this March.
A kiosk each has been set up near Pantaloon showrooms at Gandhi Nagar and Nelson Manickam Road, one at ‘In & Out', Bharat Petroleum (Mogappairand two at Cognizant Technologies, MEPZ (Tambaram).
The kiosks offer three vegetarian wraps made of methi roti — with fillings of channa masala, paneer masala and vada (from vada pav) — that range from Rs. 30 to Rs. 40; and three non-vegetarian wraps made of a mix of maida and atta — with fillings of chicken manchurian, chicken Chettinad and chicken kebab — from Rs. 40 to Rs. 50.
Rakesh has tackled the problem of offering both vegetarian and non-vegetarian wraps. “At each kiosk, separate grillers, pans and storage equipment are used in the production of vegetarian and non-vegetarian wraps.”
Other concerns he has addressed are hygiene and health. “While making or serving wraps, the boys have their head-nets and gloves on. Minimal oil is used.”
Rakesh employs social media to get more visibility for his business. “Petawrap is on Facebook, and has 700 fans. It is also on Twitter.” He has also created a cartoon character called Petawrap Paramasivam. “We have plans for him.”