BhatBhateni is literally the largest supermarket chain in the country that operates in around 19 different locations both inside and outside the Kathmandu valley. As such, every Nepali during some phase of their lives has visited BhatBhateni either for shopping or for other purposes. And, the things we see are the large buildings full of products and crowds of people shopping all at a single place. However, this was not the case in the past and the BhatBhateni today is wildly different from what it used to be. In this article we will learn about the aspects that made it such a successful brand in the Nepali market.
Min Bahadur Gurung, the company’s owner and chairman inaugurated the company in 1984 as a “Single Sutter” 120 sq. ft. cold store. The store was located near the BhatBhateni temple, Naxal, Kathmandu and started with the initial investment of just Rs.35000. At that time, Mr. Gurung was an employee of Nepal bank and had started BhatBhateni for his wife as she couldn’t find a suitable job. As the sales numbers were good, the shop expanded to a double shutter 210 sq. ft. one with a grocery store. At this point, Mr. Gurung had left his job at Nepal bank to focus on the expansion of the business. Unfortunately, the shop got caught up in a huge fire in 2047 that resulted in huge losses. Following this loss, his friends also lost trust over him and retracted their share in the business.
Mr. Gurung didn’t felt discouraged through the fire or his friends and he had already revived the shop in just a single month. Also in just three years, he launched BhatBhateni supermarket in 2050 with an investment of 25 lakhs. This supermarket had two floors and an area of 3000 sq. ft. with 13 staff members to manage the place. Soon after, he started expanding the brand rapidly through establishment of various branches across a number of locations. As a result, it gained acknowledgement form the masses and people started frequenting the places for its services and products. At this point, the brand has become fairly successful and people were also familiar with the brand.
The present and the Future:
Today, BhatBhateni is the largest supermarket chain in the country with combined sales of around 5.5 cores daily. Also, its annual income comes around $200 million in total each year across all of its locations. For this reason, it’s one of the largest tax payers in the country. Similarly, the brand employs over 4400 full-time employees in all of its branches with the majority being women. However, it’s not the total number of employees as there are many other that work part-time or for the maintenance of its buildings.
The brand also has many future plans for further expansion and growths. Currently, it has an annual aim of inaugurating 3-4 stores across various locations. Some of its ongoing projects include the ones in Tokha, Sanagaun, Dhangadi, Birgunj, Janakpur and Birtamode expected to be completed at the end of the year.
Contributions and Controversies:
As BhatBhateni is such a large brand, it has contributed towards the society to gain its trust and favor. Some of the most prominent ones are the emergency ward built in the teaching hospital at Maharajgunj. This has significantly helped people get better treatments and also helped to save a lot of lives. At the same time, they also regularly donate to flood victims as well.
Considering the size of the supermarket, it’s bound to have some sort of controversies attached with it. Among them, the most recent one is about the tax evasion case worth NRs. 90 million in total. Other controversies include the one where the administration was sentenced to imprisonment for the selling products at a higher rate.
In short, it still one of the biggest and most successful corporations in the country. Also, the reason for its success is largely dependent on the quality of its services and the strategically placed locations for its branches. Another great factor is the leadership under which the brand never failed but kept on reviving each time it fell. Similarly, its contributions towards the community also helped it gain positive favors from the general public as well.