‘Jog’ging their way to accomplishment

NIKHIL BALLAL

Would you believe that someone who is a lawyer by qualification can earn fame as the best caterer in the city? If you don’t, meet Narendra Jog, who is a lawyer by profession and one of the most celebrated caterers in Nagpur. He is one of the few caterers who has ISO22000:2005 certification. However, the certificate isn’t the only thing that defines what Jog Hospitality is about.

Born in a well to do family, Narendra Jog feels that he always had entrepreneurship in him. After 10th, he started doing petty businesses that would make some profit to him. This even included door-to-door sales of sarees too. This resulted in lesser marks in 12th and Jog opted for commerce and went on to do law. After graduating, Jog went on to practice law but the gloomy atmosphere of the court was too much for Jog to carry on. He stopped his practice within a fortnight and decided to venture in something else.

One of his family friends informed him of an opening for a caterer at the canteen of Gondwana Club of Nagpur. Jog took it up as a challenge. This canteen was a learning place for him where he observed the nuances of the business. Jog started another venture, however he suffered losses in it.

It was then that he thought of dial for food as a business venture in 1993. With the experience of foodand minimal requirement of capital, dial for delivery seemed like an excellent option. “We had fewer funds and dial for food was an excellent option as it doesn’t require huge investments. I had bought a small shop from the accumulated profits from my previous ventures. I decided to use it for this purpose,” recalls Jog. While we are fascinated with the 30 minute delivery guarantee in 2017, imagine the novelty that Nagpurites felt when they had this facility more than two decades ago!

The novel idea with lip-smacking food is always a successful combo! More than sufficient quantity is the cherry on the top. Armed with all of these, Dial for food naturally took the city by the storm and dial for food became famous in no time. “This concept was ahead of its time and people loved it. The local residents would boast about it in front of their outstation relatives and place an order with us. In those times, they even used to ask us to pick up a milk pouch on the way and deliver it to them and we would comply with their request,” shared Jog.

Jog also delivers food to the railways too. A complete meal with two sabjis, rotis, dal, rice, salad and a sweet is hygienically packed and delivered to you at your seat in your railway at Nagpur station. All you have to do is call them in advance and inform them about your seat number and bogie number.

Gradually, Jog decided it was time for expansion and started taking catering orders for parties and occasions. The quality of food was never compromised on and people were willing to pay more to get him cater for them. “We never negotiated on quality. I’m allergic to the Vanaspati ghee and have made it a point that no Vanaspati ghee would be allowed in our establishment. We never go for substitutes. When my customer is willing to pay me more than the market rate, I think it is my responsibility to give me that quality,” he adds.

Jog encourages quality and also tried his hand in growing his own vegetables. For some reasons, he has to stop it. Yet, he purchases vegetables that are organically grown by the locals. “I know the efforts and money invested in that crop by the farmer or even a home maker. We should always value it,” jog advises. Putting his preaching into practice, Jog buys all the produce that enters his premises.

Today Jog Hospitalities stand tall with two guest houses – Jog Centre and Jog House along with outdoor catering, dial for delivery and two marriage halls in Nagpur that they run on contractual basis. Jog Hospitality works 364 days in a year, taking only a day off in Diwali.

Narendra Jog believes in decentralisation of work. That is why he has deputed managers and other people who look after every aspect of their expertise. Every day, the kitchen of Jog Hospitality satisfies hunger and pampers taste buds of minimum 1200 people.More than 125 workers work in his establishment. The people are well-trained and know their work well. There is a team of free-lance delivery boys who are paid per delivery. Ask him how he retains trustworthy people and he says, “In order to get good people and have a longer association with them, you need to pay them well. I usually pay them more than the market rate. That is why they prefer working with me. Though the shifts are fixed, my workers are more than willing to do double shift. There are some who work from 8am to midnight. I pay them for their overtime. They think it is better to earn extra bucks here itself.”

Thanks to his bankable staff, Jog can take multiple orders in a single day and his managers see to it that everything goes in sync with their reputation. He has successfully delivered the entire menu at a short notice for hundreds of people number of times.

Ask Jog what his speciality is and he confesses to be clueless! “If you go by the number of orders we get, it would be Paneer Butter Masala. But again, it is a hot favourite amongst the citizens and every caterer gets maximum requests for the same. Every time I ask people about what they liked, the answers vary from Amrakhand to Kashmiri Pulav to Paneer Butter Masala. I seriously don’t know what I should call as our speciality,” Jog admits.

Narendra Jog is planning to start a restaurant called ‘Plated’ in the same premises on the theme of ‘order what you can eat and eat what you ordered’. People would also be able to get minimal quantities like half chapatti or a bowl of rice.

Abhishek Kane, a resident of Nagpur swears by Jog Hospitality’s food. “It easily the tastiest in Nagpur and their Paneer Butter Masala and Butter chicken is to die for! Known for their punctuality, quality, hygeine and polite staff, Jog Hospitality beats its competitors even in quantity they serve. Also, I guess he is the only one from the city who can prepare food for 100 people within an hour,” he shares.

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