Budhani Brothers Waferwala To Expand In Maharastra



Swaminathan Balasubramanian (publisherchefbharath@gmail.com)

 Budhani is one of the most recalled names in every household of Pune and the surrounding region. The company started as a small outlet in MG Road, today has emerged as one of the strongest snack brands manufacturing potato wafers and mixture varieties. The 65-year-old brand, which has its own store in Pune’s camp area and also supplies packaged products in the key areas of Maharastra has changed its packaging and has worked.

The company had recently gone on a brand revamping and found it successful. This Pune-based company is one of the leading sweets shops in the camp area which also sells to the leading retailers and hotels. “We were a brand and we had challenges to our identity when many companies tried copying our packaging style and fonts. This had lead to confusion among the customers on selecting what to buy. Not just because of imitating our name, their products got sold, on the other way round, even a small intricacy in their product started impacting our brand”, says Rishabh Bhudani, the third generation from the family business.

It was the time when the organization has moved to new manufacturing units and they found it the right time to change the package design. “We first had a challenge from our very customers. They were used to our conventional look and feel. Later the retailers also quizzed if the customers will give a chance to the new packaging”, Rishabh says. According to Rishabh, while they were on transformation, the company not only focussed on the looks but also on the quality of the packaging.

Our key retail segment is the neighborhood grocery stores. To increase the shelf life the wafer manufacturer strengthened the layer. “From the two layer-packing with one-month shelf life, we moved it to a 4-layer packaging which will long last for 4 months. Another key challenge for us is our product exposed directly to the sun in most of our small grocery stores reflecting in the shares and quality of our products. Thus along with the make-over, we concentrated on the quality”, Rishabh says.

Post-make-over, they had executives visiting every store to explain the shop owners on the new packaging. For increasing the reach among the customer, the wafer-maker had created a campaign, “ Social media helped us and we started branding. ‘Swaad wahi, quality wahi, chera naya’ (Same taste, same quality, and new face) and people started slowly accepting. Even though there were initially slow in acceptance, over a period of constant customer engagement, the demand increased slowly.”, Rishabh explains. Currently, there are 12SKUs of the product served in their flagship store and across Pune and another pocket of Maharastra. Beyond retailing in India, the products are exported to markets like the UAE, Canada, USA, Australia, Singapore, West Indies. Budhani also has a strong reach in institutional sales.

From Upavas to Party:

Budhani was known in the market predominantly for the upvas varieties of snacks. From such a niche segment catering to the elders in the family, Budhani has special party-packs that have been designed exclusively for weekend home parties. According to Rishab, Wafers is a fragile product and has to be handled with care to ensure the life is for a longer time. “If you notice, despite the competition from the global brands, even today we have regional players playing a key role in that particular market. Customers also have options and they demand variety. Our latest offerings will be finger chips and cheese balls”, he concludes.

On the expansion, Rishab said, he is planning to reach out to more hotels and institutions in and around Mumbai and rest of Maharastra region.

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