Hyderabad's popular bakery, Karachi Biscuits, has earned global repute and it’s all to do with the brand’s quality

This brand of biscuits, cakes and confectionery opened in 1953 at Mozamjahi Market today has a global presence and almost every outlet stocking its fare and now in Dubai too (opened in 2017).

Manju Latha Kalanidhi Published :  02nd November 2018 12:58 PM   |   Published :   |  02nd November 2018 12:58 PM
Karachi Bakery

The scrumptious Karachi biscuits

Firstly, the world famous’ Karachi Bakery is in Hyderabad, India. Secondly, there is no brand by that name even in its namesake city in Pakistan. And yes, the story of how the Sindhi gentleman Khanchand Ramnani moved to Hyderabad after the partition and named the biscuit brand after his hometown is true. This brand of biscuits, cakes and confectionery opened in 1953 at Mozamjahi Market today has a global presence and almost every outlet stocking its fare and now in Dubai too (opened in 2017). In 1960, Ramnani opened his own baking unit and started selling his signature fruit biscuits. That was the masterstroke that made him win the hearts of the Hyderabadis.

Known for the hint of saltiness, the delicious melt-in-the-mouth biscuits that are dotted with tutti-frutti were rivalled only by the Kaju version and the salty, perfect-for-teatime Osmania biscuits. One could maybe measure the reach of this brand based on its social media and web impact. There are recipes such as ‘homemade Karachi fruit biscuits’ on YouTube and listicles like ‘10 things you did not know about Karachi biscuits’ and even Instagram giveaway contests dedicated to their signature offerings. The brand is today managed by Ramnani’s son Lekhraj and family. However, the family believes in the adage, ‘Keep calm, talk less and work hard’. So there are barely any interviews of the family in the media as they prefer their work to speak for themselves.  

Lekhraj Ramnani 

Says Lekhraj Ramnani, 63, “My father started this brand with a focus on quality and that is what remains even today. Although the next generation (of nephews, his two brothers passed away) believes in social media promotions, I am into day-to-day working, delivering quality products on time.” Karachi specialises in eggless cookies (only two or three are not). However, that doesn’t mean the brand has not been innovative. Today they have about 10 varieties — from Shermal to oregano — in the artisanal variety and over 40 kinds of cookies (the Kaju, fruit and Osmania still among the hot selling ones). While their popularity and demand in Hyderabad is an organic phenomenon, their consistency, quality and service seem to have helped them get ahead of the others in the baking arena.  

With a recent branch opening in Mumbai (January 2018), the bakery chain believes they can open 100 across the world by 2020. Although the number of branches in the country hardly touches 25, they seem to be omnipresent. From local provision stores to other bakeries, on Amazon.com and at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, from where every Hyderabadi decides to pick up a few packs for their friends when they fly. While the third-generation is into finding the spaces and setting up the shops, the only surviving second generation member Lekhraj is into the procuring of the materials and ensuring the supply chain runs smoothly. Their outlets are easy to spot. 

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Almost from 100 metres away, one can smell the aroma of the cookies and the bright pink birthday cake in the backdrop. The outlets also sell pizzas, burgers and other food that youngsters love. Lekhraj is a man of few words, and he says it is the love of the people that takes them from strength to strength, from outlet to outlet. That almost every true-blue Hyderabadi starts his mornings dunking the Karachi biscuit into his tea means a thriving business for a long time to come, a cakewalk for the cookie kings of Hyderabad.

Pics: R Satish Babu.