The young entrepreneur from Kashmir valley employed an innovative technique for advertising, marketing and "winning" customers -selfie.
The technique worked so well that Javid Parsa of north Kahsmir’s Bandipora district completed his maiden anniversary of his food outlet with scores of people thronging his small 13 by 20 feet restaurant, hundreds of people wishing him on facebook and many others putting their greeting in writing beneath the glass slab on his 4 tables.
At a time, when Srinagar city is marked with many brand restaurants with much more delicious food, very large space, beautiful gardens to relish, and more infrastructure than four tables; people wonder why Kathi Junction has overtaken and turned to be a favorite place to sit, chat, eat, discuss, celebrate.
The question is itself answered by the customers turned friends. One such greetings placed under the glass slab on a table there reads, "Apart from food, I get a plate of love as a starter every time. Live long team KJ."
Echoing, similar feelings, another reads, "Junction really making connection of hearts, awesome quality service." "Kill this place with a sarcastic taste," reads another blue colored greeting.
Have you ever heard about book bank in any food outlet in Kashmir? Probably no or may be yes. But this is first time that customers have donated their precious books numbering over 200 to Kathi Junction.
One customer, professionally a teacher, donated 24 books and another, a journalist, donated 18 books--many are no nowhere available on bookstores and many are by foreign authors. If you want to read any book from the book bank, get a lifetime membership against donating a book. "After all book is read once by a reader and kept for stacking, so better let others read it," says Javid.
The 27 year old entrepreneur puts the art of selfie in these words, "when I take selfie with any customer and tag him on the post on facebook, his friends get to know about my food outlet and discussion starts which is always a first step of marketing."
Enquiring from customers about why they prefer KJ--their term for the food outlet--they reply, "The owner attends every customer personally, welcomes him with a broad smile and talks so sweetly that half of their stomach is filled instantly, only half budget to spend now."
The two communities who frequently visit the outlet are students and journalists--target area.
"I kept the pocket money of students in view and provided my offers in the limited range of Rs 30 to Rs 150," shares Parsa.
Another technique which Parsa employed to broadcast his message across one and all is helping students in events by agreeing to be food partner with much discount and speak a few words from the dice when the time comes. He began it first from event of "Taqdeere Kashmir" at SKICC.
Are you thinking of resigning from a high salaried job and turning to be an entrepreneur in Kashmir; if yes, then gather courage to share with your parents who would almost thrash you - at least verbally.
After completing his MBA, Javid was working in Amazon, highest you can think drawing 6 figure salary, but the thought of becoming employer made him restless and finally landed him back to valley on May 14, 2014.
People in his village used to mock him for returning with a talent of "bakery" but unrelenting energy boosted him and got franchise of famous Kathi Junction--a Dehradun based company with more than 100 food outlets across the country.
Earlier he had got admission in engineering. "I got admission in three engineering colleges in three different cities and in three different branches, but I ended up wasting my two years,” says Parsa. “I shortly divorced engineering.”
After parting ways with engineering, Parsa pursued his area of interest – Interior Designing and Architecture. But like a typical restless youth, Parsa grew disillusioned with Interior Designing.
He then moved to Hyderabad where he opted for MBA in project management and human resource from Maulana Azad National University (MANU). In the university, Parsa rose to become the first Kashmiri student to be elected as general secretary of MANU’s student union.
Back home, it was no cakewalk for this Bandipora boy. “Strikes, shutdowns and other clampdown tactics made me reckon that I have to overcome big bottlenecks before banking on my business. It was such a hard time.”
He recently received the first Youth Icon award 2015 in category of entrepreneurs.
Parsa was nominated for the award by Jammu and Kashmir Innovators Forum (JKIF) during a ceremony organised in collaboration with Department of Lifelong learning (DLL), university of Kashmir at EMMRC University of Kashmir. Javid says he wants to give employment to 50 people in next 5 years; presently he is employing 5 people including 2 from outside state.