After a trip down busy Mint Street in Chennai and sampling the vada pav at a small eatery there, 24-year-old Lingesh Waran, a self-confessed foodie, succumbed to the charm of this Mumbai street delicacy. This immediately set him and his friend Deepak Bhattad on its trail in Chennai and later, Mumbai. The journey culminated with the genesis of ‘Vadaa Paa' kiosks early this year in Chennai. While it's early days for Lingesh and Deepak, initial indications appear positive, with certain outlets having footfalls of 300 people a day.
Vadaa Paa is one of the latest entrants in the food kiosk space. The last few years have seen many players such as Burgerman, Nirula's Express (fast food and beverages) and Go Chatzz (North Indian street food), offering both Indian and international cuisine. Salad Chef, Big Mos' Rolls and Wraps, Yo China, Chai Garam, Chokola, Candy Treat, Sweet World, Mr Orange and HAS Juice Bar are the other names heating up the space. The market is not just brimming with Indian players but also has some international players such as the UAE-based Star Engineering Group, which plans to launch a chain of ‘Chickeez' kiosks retailing hot dogs and burgers across India.