Meet Chandubhai Virani, Who Made Balaji Wafers A ₹4,000 Cr Business Empire & Refused To Sell It To Pepsi

Chandubhai Virani is the businessman responsible for making Balaji Wafers a successful business empire!

by Shreya Rathod
Meet Chandubhai Virani, Who Made Balaji Wafers A ₹4,000 Cr Business Empire & Refused To Sell It To Pepsi

Wafers for the rest of the world means Lays or Pringles, however, for Indians, it means Balaji Wafers! The flavourful potato wafers made by the brand are something no child will ever forget. But do you know who was responsible for making this potato wafer business a ₹4,000 crore empire? It was Chandubhai Virani and here’s the success story of Balaji Wafers.

Meet Chandubhai Virani, The Man Behind Balaji Wafers

Chandubhai Virani balaji wafers
Credits: Balaji Wafers/ Facebook

A successful business might be compared to the journey of Chandubhai Virani, who rose from poverty to become the head of an empire. It is a story of willpower, courage, and unwavering will. Chandubhai went through terrible times financially early in life. It is inspiring to read about the life of a man who rose from humble beginnings to build a prosperous company.

Gujarati Chandubhai grew up in a lowly family. His family’s financial situation prevented him from completing his education beyond the tenth grade. The family relocated to Dhundoraji with the meagre resources left by their father in the hopes of a better future.

Chandubhai, together with his brothers Meghjibhai and Bhikhubhai, made their initial entry into the Rajkot agricultural products and machinery industry with an investment of ₹20,000. But in less than two years, the company faltered and eventually folded.

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The boys had to work many part-time jobs. Chandubhai handled everything, including hanging posters, repairing theatre seats, and managing a movie canteen. The financial problems were so bad that they almost put us in the dog for not paying our rent. Nonetheless, he paid off the bills because he was resolute. The brothers received a job at ₹1,000 per month after receiving praise for their exceptional canteen service.

Started Making Chips In His Home

balaji wafers
Credits: Canva

Chandubhai noticed that the audience preferred wafers at this particular movie theatre. Using barely ₹10,000, he started making his own chips in a shed at home after spotting a market niche. Satisfied with the taste and quality of the chips, Chandubhai thought he would take a bigger chance.

In 1989, he founded the first potato wafer plant in the state in Rajkot’s Aji GIDC. Three years later, in 1992, the brothers Virani established Balaji Wafers Private Ltd. At its four large plants around the nation, it produces an incredible 6.5 million kg of potatoes and 10 million kg of namkeen per day.

The company brought in an astounding ₹4,000 crore in sales in FY21. The company’s 5,000 dedicated employees—of whom 50% are remarkably female—are the main reason for its success. An inspiring tale of the business spirit is that of Chandubhai Virani.

Currently, they offer potato wafers in flavours including peri peri, cream and onion, chaat chaska, pizzy masala, chilli tadka, pudina twist and more. They also sell namkeen products like soya sticks, chiwda, bhel mung dal, chana dal, bhujiya, chana jor garam, gathiya, varieties of sev and so on.

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And if you are a Western snack lover, you can try the Scoopitos, Nachos, Funne, Poprings, Wheelos and their flagship product Chataka Pataka in different flavours.

Cover Image Courtesy: Aditya/ X (Formerly, Twitter)

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