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The Sujata Mastani

A smile on the customer’s face makes Sachin happy and provides him the courage to innovate. Sujata mastani a brand that stands for quality and trust was built brick by brick through the dedication and passion of Sachin and his family. He made it sure to transition his business to modernize and adapt to changing needs of time.

As the team of India Success Stories stepped in the conference room where we were to chat with Mr. Sachin Kondhalkar and Manisha Kondhalkar, Directors of Sujata Mastani, an aura of calmness and positivity touched us. We knew that today we are going to leave this place with renewed energy and inspiration. As Sachin unravelled his life journey it became clear that passion to continuously serve customers made ‘Sujata Mastani’ a craze in Pune.
People from various parts of India and the world around visit this cultural capital of Maharashtra, Pune and during their stay they are advised not to miss the opportunity to enjoy and relish some of its specialities. One such speciality is Sujata Mastani, a mixture of ice-cream and milk shake. You cannot leave Pune without having relished this wonderful and unique drink, which you won’t find anywhere else except amchi Pune. Every Puneri is passionate about a few things in Pune and one of them is ‘Sujata Mastani’.
Challenging the status quo:
Things that overtly look simple are often the most complex and a lot of hard work goes into their creation.  What looks easy and obvious today, has hidden in it an interesting story that grips and inspires you. We bring you the success story of ‘Sujata Mastani’ from its inception to growth as shared with us by the two of the pioneers of this irreplaceable brand.
Sachin’s grandfather migrated to Pune from a small village  20 kms away from Wai, Satara at the age of 14 years. Coming from a modest background and least education he was never satisfied with the status quo and always wished to try something new. He initially worked at place where he would prepare incense sticks. As time passed by he shifted to managing a tonga. The first attempt to start his own business was when he bought a tonga. With the vigour to keep doing something new he progressed to starting a pan shop in Sadashiv peth, in the centre of the city. The zeal to work hard runs in Kondhalkar family, so the pan shop opened at 6 pm and shut at 12 am.
He had 7 sons and 2 daughters, all his sons got educated thus, decided to take up jobs. As he started to age Sachin’s father took the initiative to manage the pan shop after office hours. Sachin’s grandfather passed away and  took complete responsibility of the shop. When you wish something intensely change begins and just about everything around starts supporting you to make your wishes come true. Sachin’s father wished to start a new business and while he was contemplating on this idea he found a vacant commercial property near the pan shop. He was a foodie thus decided to start an ice-cream shop there.
A story of transitions begins:
At the base of every great idea lies research. Businesses are based on ideas, which have to be tested and studied. So in 1950s Sachin’s father studied the market thoroughly and started manufacturing and selling pot ice-cream. Nowadays we relish ice-creams all around the year but, in those days ice-cream business was seasonal. The peak time for business was March, April and May. Rest of the months were slack, so another innovative idea struck in his mind ; he started making and selling snacks like bhaji, wada served with tea. In the months from December to February, Bhel was added to the menu.
Sujata Cold Drinks:
Now they focussed only on ice-cream and did away with other eatables. He sourced milk from a bhatti, heated it a particular temperature and cooled it to prepare delicious ice-creams in pots. You may ask why pots? Well, freezers didn’t exist in those days; after selling ice-cream the whole day whatever was left, they relished it themselves in the night. In 1967 a licence to run the shop was acquired and business jumpstarted in the true sense. The shop was then under the name ‘Sujata Cold Drinks’.
Sujata Mastani as a harbinger of innovation:
Business saw its next transition when Mastani suiting the taste buds of the customers was introduced in the menu. Mastani was already being sold in the market and customers were well aware of the drink. Milk shake and ice-cream with rose syrup was mixed and served. But, he was quick enough to realize that  the drink diluted as ice melted. Instead, Sachin’s father replaced ice with pasteurized milk (heated to a certain temperature and cooled) and added it with rose essence. To uniformly spread the taste of ice-cream and prevent it from diluting the taste he mixed ice-cream to the drink as well as topped it again with a scoop of ice-cream to serve it in a glass.
Sachin pursued Bcom at SSPM College, Pune and later completed Mcom. But, ‘Like father, like son’ this adage goes true for Sachin. After his college hours he started managing the pan shop. Business pulled his attention and he turned his focus slowly to the ice-cream shop.
Technology driven growth without compromising the taste; transitioning to automation:
During late 70s the challenge was to sourcing ice during summer. Sachin kept roaming in the market to source ice. Ultimately, the first step towards automation and tech-savvy business was taken. They brought a small freezer to store ice-cream. Earlier ice-cream was made and served immediately, now they could store it in the freezer. No one can resist the pull of passion. In 1968, Sachin could not resist his drive and passion for this business, which gave immense happiness to people. He shifted his entire energy and attention to business and was fully involved in it.
What shook Sachin completely?
A labour strike in 1992 in the store at Sadashiv Peth crippled the business completely for 4-5 months. This shook Sachin completely because it struck during Dussehra when people ordered ice-creams to celebrate the festival. This was a totally unexpected event that the family was not prepared for.
Now Sachin knew that while taking a decision an insight of its consequences was necessary; Read More

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