In 1984, when Raghunandan Srinivas Kamath started offering Pav Bhaji and fruit flavoured ice creams in his small shop, everyone was surprised with his rare menu. But, Kamath knew what he is doing. Before starting his own business, Kamath worked in his brother’s restaurant to know Indians’ habit to eat sweets at the end of the meal.
Very soon, Kamath completely focused on the ice cream business with a brand name of “Naturals” and featured in the top 10 brands of KPMG survey with a retail turnover of Rs 300 crore in FY2020.
Beginning of Naturals Ice Cream
Kamath father was a fruit vendor from Mangalore, Karnataka. His mother was a homemaker. Kamath was the youngest with seven siblings. The whole family used to earn hardly Rs 100 per month by cultivating and selling the fruits.
Kamath was not good in his studies but still, he was promoted to further classes due to the poor education system in the 70s. At the age of 14, His family shifted to Mumbai. Kamath failed twice in the board exam. And, he could not continue his study further.
But, he learnt so many business lessons with his father in the fruit business. Later, he joined his elder brother in South Indian eatery named “Gokul Refreshments”. They used to sell Pav Bhaji and ice creams in that restaurant. In 1984, they earned a revenue of Rs 5 Lakhs from a 200-sq-ft shop.
Kamath wanted to start homemade flavours in ice creams other than traditional vanilla and chocolate. His idea was not entertained by his family.
Very soon, the brothers split and he got restaurant business. Now, Kamath was independent to decide about the business. He hired six staff and invested Rs 3.5 lakhs to start the Naturals ice cream brand.
Due to his rich experience with the fruits, he got immense success in his local flavoured ice creams and sold 1000 cups at the first weekend.
Rest is history. In the 2021 KPMG survey, Naturals we’re listed among the top 10 brands of customer experience. And, the firm clocked a retail turnover of Rs 300 crore in FY2020.
Kamath’s Inspiration from his Ma
From childhood, Kamath closely observed his mother when she used to prepare different foods. There is no quick recipe for good food. His mother used to give him enough time to prepare a tasty meal. He also did the same in the ice cream business and invented different flavours through deep research.
Currently, Naturals sells plenty of unconventional flavours including cucumber, prasadam, gajar halwa, tilgul and others. These flavours are prepared by less popular fruits like chikoos, jack fruits, litchis, black grapes etc. These flavours are not in much demand but increase the brand value. Through these flavours, people understand that Naturals has good knowledge about fruits.
Currently, Naturals have 135 outlets in different Indian cities and offering an average of 20 different flavoured ice creams at a time in 2021. As per Naturals’ claim, around 125 staff members of the firm produce approximately 20 tonnes of ice creams daily.