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Making of the Dhananjay Datar

Monday, March 19, 2012

This is the story that began 27 years ago when Dhananjay Datar, a young boy from Akola district in Maharashtra, went to Dubai and started a humble kirana store. That business in two and a half decades has become a 450 million dirhams Business Empire, with 23 entities spread across the Gulf. Today the world calls him the ‘Masala King’. Roop Karnani profiles the man whose success seems fictional. The man in turn attributes the growth of his business empire to his wife  Vandana , reaffirming the fact that ‘Behind every successful man there is a woman’.

Dhananjay Datar, symbolically gifted his wife, Vandana a special edition Binz Limousine in Mumbai, last year.  It was the first such model to come to India. The 6.5 metres long limousine, costing Rs.3.5 crores, was his way of showing appreciation for wife Vandana, who brought about a radical change in the turnover and profits of his company, ever since she joined him in the business. “Thanks to her unstinted support and commitment to the group, our turnover grew by 50% in 2010, and this despite a severe recession in the UAE. Perhaps, this was the best way to acknowledge and appreciate her”, says Datar with a smile.  Incidentally, this makes her the only Indian to own a Binz Limousine special edition.

His phenomenal growth has become even more rapid, after his wife Vandana joined him in the business and this despite heavy recession. Datar attributes all credit to her for the recent giant strides made by the Al Adil Group. Usually behind every successful man there is a woman, but this is a case where behind this successful businessman, there is a successful businesswoman.

So what makes this Dubai based Maharashtrian entrepreneur tick? It’s his hands on approach, his business acumen and his modesty that has brought him, where he is today. And now he has spread his wings and is set to take a giant leap ahead. Datar has set up an ultra-modern new export office with latest equipment and international standard interiors, and a huge warehouse, to successfully meet the rising demand of exports, aiming at almost 300 tons of Indian products per day, to Gulf countries, under 'Peacock' brand. This is up from 50 tons daily, three years ago.  Datar is the only Maharashtrian entrepreneur in India to export and sell overseas, food items in such huge quantities. 

Thanks to this unbeatable combination, the Al Adil Group has been able to expand from just six supermarkets three years ago, to 20 supermarkets, and has grown from two companies to three other companies in Dubai, including a manufacturing unit. Today Al Adil is selling more than 5000 food items and other products in Gulf countries, through their supermarkets, most of which are sourced from India.In spite of severe recession, the turnover in Dubai has gone up from 300 million dirhams to 450 million dirhams.

Back home, Vandana has also been instrumental in the rapid expansion in India, which has seen exports grow a massive   600% in three years.  Besides, both Dhananjay Datar & Vandana have in this period set up 100 SMEs in Maharashtra, and helped them to meet stringent quality norms required in the Gulf countries, by their regulators, and for the first time they will be exporting the ‘Peacock’ brand of spices, instead of just the raw materials. They have also added on a large number of new suppliers.

In fact Datar has also extended his support to the Indian community through various CSR activities, making notable contributions towards his community and the Marathi language. All of Al Adil's super markets employ an 100% Indian workforce. He actively helps to provide an overseas platform for programs like 'Marathi Vishwa Sahitya Sammelan' and 'Gaurav Maharashtracha'. This gave him huge recognition amongst the Indian diaspora settled in Gulf countries, contributing even further to the expansion of his business.  The 44 year old Datar says sustainable and rapid growth is the mantra for the Al Adil Group.

Incidentally The two and half decades hard work has resulted in Datar establishing his identity as one of the top 10 businessmen in UAE and has earned himself the title of Masala King. He has also earned several accolades and awards in India & UAE, and now he is getting some top international recognition, the latest being the Oxford Entrepreneur of the Year, in London, and another similar award in Zurich prior to that.

What makes the Oxford Award prestigious is that he was the only Indian chosen and also the only businessman from UAE. The award is given at an Enclave of top 200 leaders of the world, like a mini-Davos, started 11 years ago. The honors and celebrations never slowed down Datar's progress.  On the contrary, every milestone of success made him zealously grow faster.

Al Adil Trading
The Al Adil Trading has been a passionate promoter of “Indian Culture, Good Food and Healthy Living”. Its core ideology is to provide authentic Indian products easily to the Indians settled in the Gulf. The 100% vegetarian  product range includes all kinds of spices and masalas, pulses, rice and flour, oils and ghee, pickles and chutneys, tea and coffee, canned and instant foods, ayurvedic herbs, cosmetics, dry fruits, mouth fresheners and savories, confectionery items and sweetmeats. The range is sourced directly from the manufacturers to ensure the best variety. An ISO 22000,HACCP,GNP,GHP certified company, Al Adil not only has its legion of loyal customers but also some of the most prestigious names in the business as part of their client roster. The company has 19 stores and 4 manufacturing plants across the UAE and has completed 27 years of service to their rapidly growing customer base.

100 % Marathi employees
Although, Datar is a Dubai based businessman, he patronises the Maharashtrian Community. All of Datar's super markets employ a 100% Marathi workforce.

“These Marathi employees made me prosper, as they increased my business 400 % in the last 2 years”, says Datar, expressing his gratitude towards his employees. Datar has rewarded these employees, keeping in mind their contributions. For Example:  Deepak Belose, who helped Datar, right from the beginning, was appointed as a Director of the company. Another associate Navnath Gunjal was appointed as Director of Finance. More and more Marathi employees are being recruited through his  Vashi  (Navi Mumbai) office to work for the company's super market chain in Dubai. The aim is to create huge opportunities for the Marathi youth to go abroad for jobs.

Thanks to her unstinted support and commitment to the group, our turnover grew by 50% in 2010, and this despite a severe recession in the UAE.
—Dhananjay Datar

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