It was nearly three decades ago that Dr. Dhananjay Datar, a young man from Akola in Maharashtra, went to Dubai and started a humble kirana store. That business in two and a half decades has become a huge Business Empire, with 23 entities spread across the Gulf. Christened Masala King by the Sultan of Dubai, Dhananjay Datar, a Doctor in Business Administration, has been ranked No. 14 in the Arabian Business ranking covering the entire Gulf Countries and has been ranked No. 44 in the Forbes Middle East in the Arab world.
“I am proud to be a Indian,” says Dhananjay ‘Masala King’ Datar, Managing Director of the million Al Adil Group, now entering home market with Masala King Supermarket that will be launched in Kharghar by actor Karisma Kapoor.
Says Dhananjay Datar, “Karisma Kapoor was chosen to be the face of our inauguration as she represented the Indian woman of today, who is a perfect homemaker and yet is career-oriented. She a perfect-brandfit.”
Interestingly, all of Datar’s supermarkets including those in the Gulf boast of a 100 percent vegetarian product range includes all kinds of spices and masalas, pulses, rice and flour, oils and ghee, pickles and chutneys, tea and coffee, canned and instant foods, ayurvedic herbs, cosmetics, dry fruits, mouth fresheners and savories, confectionery items and sweetmeats. The range is sourced directly from the manufacturers to ensure the best variety.
The quality, the expertise and the range of products and pricing is laudable. For example, the variety of rice itself is so much that you can get almost anything here. “Masala King Supermarket has offered a 50 per cent off on rice to pulses to a range of essential products for 15 days from the launch to ensure customer sampling. The range and pricing here is amazing. And I am glad to be inaugurating his store,” avers Karisma Kapoor.
Al Adil not only has its legion of loyal customers but also some of the most prestigious names in the business as part of their client roster. The company has 27 stores, 2 flour mills, 2 spice factories and 4 manufacturing plants across the UAE, Oman, Baharin and Saudi Arabia and has completed 31 years of service to their rapidly growing customer base. The company has also diversified into import and export under the special class establishment with trade lines in the US, Canada, Tanzania, Kenya, Switzerland, Italy and Eritrea as well as Kuwait, Oman and the UAE.
Dr. Datar’s innovative idea has enabled Al Adil to figure prominently in the books of history where it is registered in Limca book of Records and Guinness World Record for its midair Silver Jubilee celebrations. “I wanted to celebrate Al Adil’s 25 years of celebration in a life time experience in a unique style on board a Royal Jet Airways Boeing 737. On 22nd March 2009, my wife Vandana and I along with close business associates took off for a grand celebration at 40,000ft above sea level. I also gifted my wife, a bespoke edition customized Rolls Royce, which was specially made by Rolls Royce for her, at a whopping cost of Rs.8 crores (approx. USD 2 million). There are only 17 such Phantom editions in last 105 years, and this is the 18th special edition. It is actually the first Rolls Royce Phantom in Dubai.”
Dhananjay Datar keeps adding feathers to an overcrowded cap, thanks to his innovations. He is the Forbes – Best Indian CEO Award, Arabian Business – Indian Innovator CEO Award, Entrepreneur Magazine – Best Indian Retailer Award, Dubai Duty Free Best Supplier Award for quality, technology and strategic partnership, Distinguished Supplier / Partners ward, Environment Award, International lifetime Achievement Award by Maharishis Mahesh Yogi Foundation, Commercial Prestigious Award, Madrid (Spain), Bizz Award, Frankfurt (Germany), Rashtriya Udyog Ratna Award, India, Quality Brand Award in India, Emirates Flight Catering “Certificate of Appreciations” Dubai, Jumeirah Hospitality “Certificate of Appreciations” Dubai and Dubai Airport & Dubai Duty free “10th Supplier, Dubai”, The Peak of success Award Texas, USA, Global Award for Perfection, Quality & Ideal Performance, Geneva Switzerland, International Star for Leadership in Quality Award Paris, France, 20.Best Enterprises Award Oxford, UK ad Bharat Vikas Ratan Award New Delhi, India among others.
But apart from his innovations and his entrepreneurial skills, Dhananjay Datar has also regularly extended his support to the Indian community through various CSR activities, making notable contributions towards his community and the Marathi language. All of Al Adil’s super markets employ an 100 per cent Indian workforce. He actively helps to provide an overseas platform for programs like ‘Marathi Vishwa Sahitya Sammelan’ and ‘Gaurav Maharashtracha’. This gave him huge recognition amongst the Indian diaspora settled in Gulf countries, contributing even further to the expansion of his business.
“The Indian employees made me prosper, as they increased my business 400 per cent in the last 2 years”, says Datar, expressing his gratitude towards his employees. The aim is to create huge opportunities for the Indian youth to go abroad for jobs. No wonder then, this able entrepreneur, an Indian by birth and at heart, aims to take the Indian market seriously. “The Modi Government came to The Gulf and extended a hand and said come back and invest your money home and we will stand with you. And here I am. There is much much more to expect from the Masala King chain now!”