We took a trip to Una Mas to meet Vidya Badrinath and had a chat with her over some delectable cinnamon sugar nachos. Here’s what she had to say,
“I’m basically from the US- we’ve been there for 16 years, my family and I. I worked with software. Once the recession hit, we moved to another state and I did my masters there. I was eager to work after I’d finished to work, but unfortunately nothing came my way. I was restless, I wanted to start something to fuel my entrepreneurial dreams. We moved back to India and started a software company. In the US, I’d noticed that many Indians flocked at Mexican restaurants. They somehow felt that the flavours were similar to Indian food. I did some homework for a couple of years on this. I talked with a couple of big brands and chefs. I met the CEO of Una Mas and had their food. I was bowled over by both the food and the CEO’s willingness to be flexible. We really needed someone who was willing to be patient and flexible while we edited some things to suit the Indian palette. We signed the master franchise and opened up in Chennai. We dream of opening up at least 10 outlets in India, maybe another two in Chennai.
“With regards to the food, we cook everything in-house. Nothing is frozen, swimming in MSG or preservatives. We eat at the restaurant everyday ourselves! And what I would gladly feed my family is what I give people. We’re one of the few places in town that serve diabetic, gluten free and low fat options. We even have diets for people who are sensitive to spice. We try to introduce new menu items every month.
“My favourite thing on the menu is the Burrito Bowl. I could eat one everyday and never be bored! Of course, the Chocolate Delice is a winner.
To women of today, I’d say,
“Especially here, I feel that people don’t take women seriously enough. If there’s a man sitting beside me, they prefer to talk to him- my own vendors do that to me! Unless you really make something of your life and make them look at you, they’d rather not. You need to show them what you’re made of. You need to tell them, ‘If I need to prove it to you, I will’.
Another thing that drives me every day is a positive mindset. I believe things happen for good. The Gita says, ‘Whatever happens is for good’. People look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them this, but they’ll realise it on their own. Nobody realises it immediately. Wake up to a great positive mindset everyday, and your day is made.
Lastly, I believe that a woman needs to keep her cool. You need to be strong- your family looks to you for support. I really don’t like seeing weak women. If you’ve had the privilege of being educated, then go out there and make use of it. You gotta move, you gotta do things- make your fame.”
Fine Una Mas at 151, Kodambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai.