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Cool companies

Our fifth annual listing of companies that are hip and happening. This listing is not an “objective” one made by researchers poring over data.

     Print Edition: June 14, 2009

What makes a company cool? Well, youth, as we have seen in the recent elections, is one barometer of “coolness”. But that isn’t the only factor. This listing is not an “objective” one made by researchers poring over data. Instead, we at Business Today went to our reporters and asked them to nominate companies. Companies that may or may not have made it into our various other listings. Companies, that, in more ways than one—product offering, communication, management style—were challenging assumptions.

And, while putting this together, we realised that you don’t have to be young to be cool. The Indian National Congress will be 125 years old next year, but voters still love the party. So, we looked at larger, older companies, which were giving themselves a makeover as well. And we found some genuine surprises.

We will not boast that our list is comprehensive or the “best”, but trust us, this is a cool listing made by a very cool bunch of people: Our reporters. So, sit back and enjoy the read!

Pizza Mania: Domino’s Pizza

Tasty treats: Tucking into pizzas at Domino’s
Tasty treats: Tucking into pizzas at Domino’s
Founded in 1995
Founders: The Indian Franchise, held by Jubilant Group
Main business: Pizza Delivery
Revenue: Over Rs 300 crore (approx.)
Why it is cool: A delivery boy can become GM. (The GM for Western India is one such man)

OK, delivery boy to GM is great for attracting talent. But what keeps the cash flowing into Domino’s is its skill at making pizzas an all-purpose affordable snack. “The biggest challenge for us is not from other chains but from roadside eateries—in a year if people have 60 meals outside home, pizza accounts for just about one,” says Ajay Kaul, CEO, Domino’s Pizza, India. Kaul told his “food technologists” to develop a low-cost pizza, and thus was born the “Pizza Mania” pizza starting at Rs 35. “This pizza began to draw in a whole new type of customer,” says Kaul, narrating how labourers and auto-rickshaw drivers began dropping in. It opened 60 outlets in 2008. Coming up next: a Domino’s in Gangtok, Sikkim, and many more new locations.

Kushan Mitra

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