The poor man’s bakery

While many cafes and restaurants run out of business due to the increasing number of hawkers on the roads of Mumbai, Yazdani Bakery thrives.
Situated in Fort, Yazdani Bakery opened in 1950 as a restaurant and bakery, but has been functioning as just a bakery since the last two decades. Co-owner of the bakery, Parvez M Irani, maintains that the bakery was started by his father, Mehrwan Irani, to serve the poor man, and not to make profits. That is why Parvez feels, that Yazdani Bakery lived, despite the increasing number of hawkers, cut-throat competition and inflation.
Recounting an incident that happened when he managed the bakery along with his father Mehrwan, Parvez talks about the time when the government increased the price of flour from Rs 42 for a kilogram to Rs 40. As a result, the price of the bread had to be increased from 5 paise to 6 paise. Later, when the prices of flour came down to Rs 42, Mehrwan reduced the price of bread back to 5 paise. “I asked my father why he had reduced the prices. He told me then that we are a poor man’s bakery and not a rich man’s bakery. He felt that the 1 paisa should go into the stomach of the customer and not into our pockets,” said Parvez. Since then, Yazdani bakery has kept its prices low and caters mostly to the middle and lower-middle classes of society.
The dedication to serve those with limited incomes, along with Mehrwan’s and Parvez’s giving nature, won the establishment the wishes of many. Parvez talks about his encounter with a poor and hungry man who came looking for a job at Yazdani bakery. On being offered food, he declined, asserting he came for a job and not for free food. Parvez made him eat anyway, after which the man said that the bakery would never shut down. “In 1992, when the city was burning, most shops and eateries were closed. But with God’s grace, mine was open. There were huge queues outside my bakery. The rich, poor, lepers and homeless all came to eat here. That is the time I remembered that poor man’s words,” said Parvez.
Along with Parvez, his brothers Rashid and Zend, manage the bakery. Serving the poor came as a habit to the family. “My father told me that customers come in because the street outside our bakery is clean. So, we must look after these poor cleaners. Since then, I have tried to help the poor and maintain Yazdani Bakery as a poor man’s bakery” concluded Parvez.

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