The Monginis bakery chain has been serving freshly-baked goods to the Egyptian public at reasonable prices since the nineties. We met with Adnan Khorakiwala, Monginis director, who told us the story of Monginis.
In the 1940s Monginis was an Italian restaurant in India. During World War II the Italians were asked to leave India by the British and the Khorakiwala family decided to buy the restaurant and turn the business into a bakery. In the seventies the brand became an Indian franchise with more than 700 outlets.
In 1987 Adnan’s father came to Egypt and found the country to be very similar to India, so he decided to start a Monginis in Egypt. “In the late nineties, we came to Egypt and by then we had a vast knowledge of baking,” said Adnan.
“When we came here we learned a lot because Egypt was very advanced in terms of the baking culture compared to India,” Adnan said, describing the early challenges the family faced in Egypt. Adnan recalls that the language was a huge challenge for his family. “The first generation, my father and uncle, faced a bigger challenge, because at that time the language was not known to them. I went to school over here so I speak the language. So for them it was a bigger challenge to understand people and to explain their concepts and values to the employees. It was not easy.”
“We started as a very small family business as the culture and the local tastes were not known to us,” said Adnan. When asked why they chose Egypt Adnan jokingly answered: “Egyptians love to eat and I love to feed them.” However, the real reason was his father. “My father liked the country, it was very peaceful, it was a slow-growing country and he felt at home.”
Monginis’ ultimate goal is happiness. “We want to bring a smile to every individual in Egypt and to each and every household,” Adnan explained. After the revolution, Monginis found that their customer-focused values were the reason for their growth. “Our brand is very focused on the value-for-money concept. Our customers are very price-sensitive and people come to us for that. That helped us a lot during the revolution,” Adnan said.
Monginis is also focused on developing local talent, with 1,000 employees and shops across the country. However, their main concern is quality manufacturing. “We have chosen a franchise model to open up our shops so we are focused on production.
I leave the selling to the skills of the local person who is running the shop, because he knows the area and the people, and the likes and dislikes of the neighbourhood. ”
When questioned about Monginis’ involvement in charity work Adnan said this should remain unadvertised. “What you give with your right hand should not be known to your left hand.” However, Adnan explained that with every shop they open, about 10 families benefit.
The latest product in Monginis’ line is the 3-D cake, a made-to-order cake that features popular images. They recently opened a website where people who live abroad can order and send gifts to their loved ones in Egypt.