Café Niloufer: Journey from a Small Business to a Popular Upmarket Brand

Café Niloufer: Journey from a Small Business to a Popular Upmarket Brand
Case Code: LDEN199
Case Length: 11 Pages
Period: 1976-2023
Pub Date: 2023
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.400
Organization : Café Niloufer
Industry :Foodservice
Countries : India
Themes: Brand Development Segmentation, Entrepreneurship,Brand Loyalty
Café Niloufer: Journey from a Small Business to a Popular Upmarket Brand
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


The case describes the entrepreneurial journey of Anumula Babu Rao (Babu Rao), owner of Café Niloufer, a traditional Irani café that grew to a quick service restaurant in Hyderabad, India The case touches upon the early days of Babu Rao who came to Hyderabad in 1976 and began working random jobs till he joined as a cleaner at Niloufer Café and grew up the ranks to manage the café and in 1993 acquired the café from the original owner.

The case then describes the changes in operations and the expansion plans put in place after Babu Rao’s son, A. Shashank, joined the family business in 2011. Shashank standardized the processes and established a flat organizational structure with decentralized decision making. This approach helped Café Niloufer expand to four new outlets by mid-2023. Each outlet catered to a different customer segment and varied in pricing, ambience, and menu at each outlet.

The case then focuses on plans to export products through a new manufacturing facility as well as to set up new outlets outside India. Questions were whether Café Niloufer was ready to enter the international markets or whether it was too early. Was Shashank investing too much too quickly when his father had run a single outlet profitably for three decades and would private capital dilute the ownership and brand image of the business?


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Identify the roles and responsibilities of a small business owner.
  • Examine the importance of process and product standardization for a small business.
  • Recognize the importance of decision-making to expand a small business.



Brand building, Family business, Entrepreneurship, Business operations, Decentralization, Customer satisfaction ; Small business owner; Positioning

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