• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
BW Businessworld

Cooking Up A Storm

Photo Credit :

From a rather modest beginning — with Satkar restaurant just outside Churchgate station in South Mumbai — Kamat's soon became a restaurant chain, and then expanded to become a hospitality services group with hotels and resorts, a couple of department stores thrown in for good measure, and restaurants in Singapore, the UK and the US. Vithal Venketesh Kamat, son of the founder, is Kamat Hotels' executive chairman and managing director.

A reputation for good, reasonably-priced food is always a great business, especially if you are located in prime areas; so not surprisingly, the company went public in 1994. But it has taken a long time for the promoter family to breach the billion-rupee mark.

Alongside opening restaurants all over Mumbai in the 1980s and 1990s, they acquired a series of hotels at various holiday destinations. They have management contracts for hotels in Aurangabad, Karwar, Udaipur, Delhi and Pune. In FY12, the company acquired another hotel at Fort Jadhavgarh in Maharashtra.

Vithal Kamat and his family hold 51.7 per cent of the company; foreign institutional investors hold roughly 31 per cent (mainly Clearwater Capital which holds about 30 per cent, acquired through conversion of foreign currency convertible debentures).

Outside a McDonald's it's normal to see Ronald McDonald, the company mascot, reclining on a bench. In a Kamat's restaurant, you may find a picture of the founder and the current chairman on the wall. Who says Indian fast food chains cannot become well-known hospitality companies?

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 30-07-2012)