Story of Brothers Who Sold Chips in Small Theaters in Gujarat Now are Pioneers of Major Indian Brand Balaji Wafers


The three brothers, Chandubhai, Bheekubhai, and Meghjibhai were born in a poor farmer’s family in Jamnagar, Gujarat. But little did anyone know that the brothers would turn out to become popular Indian businessmen.

In the year 1972, the Virani brothers migrated to the city from their village. They planned on setting up a business in the city area. For the same, they needed business capital for which they asked their father to sell their land to acquire some money. Their father sold it off and got hold of Rs. 20,000. By 1974, the brothers were able to set up a small canteen in a Rajkot theater where they sold wafers and sandwiches that were prepared by their wives.

They continued the business for about 15 years and it made them realize that people are fonder of homemade eatables rather than manufactured food products. They knew about the great opportunities in this sector and went in for an expansion to more number of people. Consequently, by 1989, they installed a semi-automatic plant for fried wafers and started their own brand Balaji Wafers. Balaji Wafers offered amazing quality at considerably low prices.

Initially, it was a challenge. To market their products the brothers went from shop to shop. Most of the shopkeepers refused from buying packets in bulk, there were some shopkeepers who said the seal broke making the wafers stale. There were many others who bought the Balaji Wafers on credit leaving them in a blocked situation. But they never gave up putting efforts and they maintained a positive spirit and found a place as a king in the market.

Today, the Indian snacks market is worth Rs 50,000 crore. The salty snacks cover 60% and potato chips cover 40% of the market share. The market has giants like Lays, Bingo, and Kurkure among which Balaji Wafers has created its own distinct identity. Balaji Wafers has a proud market share of 65% of the salty snacks in Gujarat. It enjoys 50% share in Maharashtra, 25% in Madhya Pradesh and 35% in Rajasthan.

The Valsad and Rajkot manufacturing plants manufacture 38 tons of chips and 24 tons of wafers each day. The brothers have invested in a third manufacturing plant in Madhya Pradesh.

(Photo Credit: Wealth-Forum e-zine, kjexports)