In the last few years, India has seen an enormous rise in women entrepreneurs, particularly mothers, starting their ventures at home and scaling them into successful enterprises using social media.

But way before this trend of mompreneurs came into being, there were a handful of women from traditional households who went on to create legendary brands.

One of them was Minakshi Jhaveri, a single mother who started the homemade food venture ‘Swati Snacks’ in 1963 to provide a better life for her two children — Asha and Anand.

Unlike most Gujaratis, Minakshi neither had business acumen nor did she offer any specialities like fafda, jalebi or undhiyu.

Priced at 4 annas, she listed only four items on her tiny menu — sev puri, bhel puri, ragda pattice, and pani puri. Yet, she managed to carve her signature into the hearts of Mumbaikars using her warmth and homemade flavours.

In 1979, when Minakshi passed away, her daughter Asha took over the reins of the iconic brand, followed by Anand.

“My mother treated all her customers the way she would guests who visit our home. For a guest, who is equivalent to God, you will prepare the food with the best intentions and a positive attitude, which automatically reflects in the taste,” shares Anand.

“While growing up, I watched her spend that extra hour just so she could inspect the ingredients multiple times, or even walk kilometres to procure fresh ingredients like coriander. That dedication and care is what we have inherited from her,” he adds.

Today, Swati Snacks has four outlets— two each in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Their monthly turnover was Rs 4 crore (pre-pandemic).

Around 25 to 30 delicacies are prepared every day. Besides chaat, items such as satpadi roti and gatta nu shak (masala roti served with a besan curry) and panki chutney and fada ni khichdi (cracked wheat pulao) are the best-sellers.

The siblings make sure that at least one family member is present in every outlet to develop a sense of familiarity with the customers.

Anand’s son Shaan and Asha’s nephew Karan are third-generation entrants who have taken the eatery to new heights.

In the past five decades, the eatery has found fans in stalwarts including legendary painter MF Husain, tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, cricketers, movie stars, and industrialists.

With time, a few things have changed — from a plate that once cost 4 aanas to Rs 150 per plate, and a transition in marketing from using only word of mouth to social media posts.

However, this transition has had no impact on the serpentine queue, no matter what time of the day it is!