Habit journal – Day7: Simple food and nostalgia served fresh at Rayar mess!

What better way to start a Sunday than with some idlis, Pongal and vada? And where better to get it than from a Traditional outlet that has been serving enthusiasts for the last 90 years like Rayar’s mess?

How do you do that in today’s time when stepping out is a challenge?

Swiggy.com came to our rescue and delivered promptly. They have now incorporated temperature checks for their teams and contactless delivery into their workflow in a bid to keep customers assured.

Eateries like Rayar mess provide exceptional food. They also teach us lessons on how to run a business. They are open for only three hours in the morning and another three hours in the evening. Their morning menu is limited to three dishes idli, vada and Pongal) and three side dishes (a thick coconut chutney, a green chilli chutney and sambar). Each of the items on the menu is a signature preparation with a massive fan following. Of course, there are no additives. Everything is freshly prepared and served piping hot. If you happen to visit the restaurant in person, you’ll notice they don’t keep track of what you eat. It’s your job to keep track and let the Manager know while paying your bill. It’s almost a community experience.

A simple menu, easy workflows, high trust customer relationships, extraordinary quality – I can’t think of a better business model, can you?

Here’s a review I found on YouTube that captures the restaurant’s magic.

Speaking to a friend who returned recently from abroad, I realised there is one more existential USP for such places. When he returned after a decade to India, he found his neighbourhood completely transformed – he is now a stranger in his home town. It is such eateries that provide him with a sense of belongingness – and nostalgia is the thread that ties him back to his land. The Elder generation feels this too. Treat them to food from such restaurants’, and they’ll reward you with genuine smiles and great stories. These eateries occupy an integral part of their youth and connect them to a joyful time that now exists in only their memories.

Simple food, memories and a sense of belonging – these are priceless. That a humble eatery in a remote place can provide meaning is remarkable. Of course, let us not forget the Digital enablers (the last mile food delivery company in this case). I am convinced technology is not just about efficiency. It can enable experiences that make our lives richer too.

That completes a week of daily posts. It’s a satisfying milestone – now onto the next eleven weeks. Many thanks to all you readers for reading, commenting and sharing – it keeps me going.


  1. A great read to know a simple but very powerful business model. Next time when I visit Chennai, will surely try out.
    Will look forward this blog, Subra !!!

  2. Thanks for sharing the information on Rayar mess and their simple but interesting business model. I’ll definitely try during my next Chennai visit

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