Women Entrepreneurs

Ramya Ravi: the ‘Donne Biryani’ queen in the making

When a young girl, barely in her twenties decided to start a food outlet in Bengaluru, to serve Donne Biryani, that too in the middle of the pandemic, not many took it seriously. There were 2 reasons why her entrepreneurial idea was thought of as a damp squib- one, there were several Donne biryani outlets in every nook and corner of the city, and second, no one was venturing out to eat at restaurants during the pandemic!

Undeterred by impending failure, this young and gutsy entrepreneur, Ramya Ravi, went ahead and started a cloud kitchen called RNR in mid-2020, to serve the most authentic naati style Donne biryani. “The hospitality industry was in acute distress due to the fear factor engendered by the pandemic. I wanted to test the waters first, hence started it as a delivery brand by tying up with Swiggy,” explains the soft-spoken, second-generation entrepreneur.

Within a few weeks, the RNR Donne biryani orders rose up the charts and it became the favorite food partner for food delivery giant Swiggy. The resounding success of the RNR cloud kitchen, prompted Ramya to start her flagship restaurant in the most popular and bustling Jayanagar 4th Block area in South Bengaluru in late 2021. “The benefit of starting a restaurant during these times is that we got the required infrastructure at economical costs as restaurants were not operating in their full capacity,” apprises a beaming Ramya.

Ramya says she was inspired by her father who runs a successful chain of restaurants himself. Besides that, she has a strong affinity for food and a liking for a variety of cuisines which inclined her towards starting her entrepreneurial journey in the food and hospitality industry.

But why Donne biryani and what is so special about Ramya’s Donne biryani? Ramya smiles and explains emphatically, “Karnataka is known for Donne biryani. But, unfortunately, there is a sheer dearth of brands that can go nationwide and popularize Donne biryani. On the other hand, my grandmother who is born and raised in Bengaluru is well-versed with ‘naati-style’ cuisines. Her Donne biryani is our family’s favorite. A perfect blend of the two ideas led to the inception of RNR. My sister & I hence started RNR with my grandmother’s recipe of Donne biryani, so that the authenticity and taste are not compromised on.”

In just a few months, the RNR restaurant has become a hot favorite of connoisseurs of Donne biryani in Bengaluru. The restaurant, that serves many other ‘naati’ specialties like naati koli curry, naati koli fry, drumstick chilly and Elaneer payasam, is packed even on weekdays and at times one has to reserve a table.

“With RNR, we were one of the first to successfully position Donne biryani in the mainstream segment of the market,” says Ramya proudly. “Keeping pace with the ever-evolving customer needs and market trends has been the key to our success. What we believe is if we have to be accepted in the hearts of the customers, then it’s ultimately important to meet their needs to the fullest.” Ramya plans to make RNR a national brand in a few years.

Ramya’s advice to budding entrepreneurs is: ‘If you have an idea, do not be afraid of implementing it’

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