It’s rare to find a restaurant these days where for just Rs 99 one can buy a combo of a vada, an idli, a dosa and coffee: and still have rave reviews from dedicated clients for the taste of its food.
What’s even more rare, is to find a budget restaurant chain taking several steps towards CSR – the most significant one being that of inclusion.
This is the popular Vasudev Adiga’s (VA) chain of budget fast food outlets found all over Bangalore, Karnataka.
A program that started just about 2 years ago, when Jacob Kurian of New Silk Route and CEO of Vasudev Adiga’s approached the Association for People with Disability (APD) (http://apd-india.org/) with the concept of training the disabled to get into mainstream jobs at Vasudev Adiga’s.
Keeping the profile of candidates in mind, all of whom are from very disadvantaged sections of society (remote villages, not educated beyond the 7th grade, differently abled); a 6 week program was designed for training and employing people with a variety of disabilities in a range of jobs. These included assistant cooks, cashiers, stewards, cleaners, parcel counters – store keepers, accountants. All graduates of the program are guaranteed employment by Vasudev Adiga’s.
The training program is conducted with the help of several partners. APD ensures job readiness, hygiene and soft skills; Presidency College of Hotel Management that teaches basic kitchen skills to the trainees: and on the job training happens at Vasudev Adiga’s by the company’s HR team. All new employees have an appointed buddy to integrate them into the workforce.
Now with over 86 special needs employees finding productive livelihoods at full pay and benefits, the APD-Adigas partnership is a proven case study for funding organisations.
Their program won the National HRD Conference Showcase Award for CSR in 2015 and the company is now an inspiration and a reference organisation for other companies studying their model.
The training is financed by partners like Tech M Foundation, Wadhwani Foundation and other pro bono volunteers.
In other CSR efforts the company keeps exploring opportunities to source products and services that they can source from NGO’s e.g. The transcription of Customer feedback forms was moved from an commercial agency to PAPCP (Parents’ Association of Persons with Cerebral Palsy). This provides livelihood and employment for 18 persons . They are paid the same rate as one would have paid a commercial agency. The company now gets timely and excellent data that they use in our customer feedback reviews.
VA is an inspiring example as, being a chain of budget restaurants, they have still taken a remarkable step towards inclusion with 86 differently abled people from rural and urban areas employed across their outlets in just two years. Its not the size of one’s business but the size of one’s Heart that actually matters!