Setting your tastebuds on fire

After making its mark in the traditional spices business, MTR foods is now eyeing the growing breakfast market    

Photographs by Ra Chandroo

It’s a ritual old-time Bangaloreans still recall fondly: a brisk walk around Lal Bagh, followed by a piping hot Udupi-style breakfast at the Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR). And it was almost a given that no matter how early you got there, you would have to wait – sometimes for close to an hour – before you got a table. Some 50 years after the tiffin room opened, in the mid-1970s, in response to draconian Food Control Act regulations that made the restaurant business unviable, MTR’s founders, the Maiya family, launched packaged foods. They continued with the side business even after the restaurant was reopened. Until 2007, that is, when the Maiyas hived off the packaged foods business to the Orkla group. Now, the Norwegian foods company that owns MTR Foods wants to continue the breakfast tradition across the country, at your dining table, with just a three-minute wait.