60-year-old M Mahadevan is today Chennai's most known restaurant owner and baker. Popularly known as 'Hot Breads Mahadevan', the owner of the multi-million-dollar bread enterprise had modest beginnings.
Mahadevan was born and brought up in Udumalpet, a small town situated 65 km from Coimbatore. Though both his parents were doctors, he took interest in business and did his post graduation in commerce.
After joining Madras University in 1979 as an assistant professor, his passion to start a restaurant grew. He started working at a hotel — cleaning tables, serving food, and trying to understand the way the restaurant business works. Mahadevan recalls in a Rediff interview,
"My interest in the hotel industry began after reading Arthur Hailey's Hotel. In hindsight, I feel what attracted me to the hotel industry was people; I love meeting people. My parents also met people, but only those who were in pain and misery, and I want to meet people who are happy. Those who come to a bakery or restaurant are always in a joyous mood."
Having started small, today Mahadevan runs three companies in the south — Hot Breads, Copper Chimney South India, and Oriental Cuisines. Presently, there are 30 Hot Breads outlets in Chennai, two in Puducherry, 14 in West Asia, and one in Europe, as reported by The Hindu.
Copper Chimney South India has many restaurants and outlets under its umbrella, which include Copper Chimney, Bombay Brasserie, Cream Centre, and Marina. Brands like Benjarong, Zara, Ente Keralam, Wang’s Kitchen, Teppan, French Loaf, and Planet Yumm come under Oriental Cuisines.
As for Mahadevan, the sky is the only limit.