Today he heads his own catering company, Noidabased PYX Industrial Caterers, which provides meals to more than 8,000 employees of corporates such as Airtel, Birlasoft, GlobalLogic and Tech Mahindra. “With more and more companies willing to go that extra mile to retain employees, providing basic amenities like good food has become an important issue with most of them, and a boon for me,” says Pillai.
Wasn’t catering an unusual profession to choose in the 1970s? “Oh yes, it was,” he says, “But it was easy to get into a catering institute and it was a good way to get a job in the merchant navy which paid handsome salaries.” From a desire to travel to starting his own enterprise, Pillai has certainly had an interesting professional journey
While doing his specialisation in food and beverages and working part-time at a three-star hotel, he was offered a job at cigarette manufacturer, GTC Industries located at Sayajipura, as catering incharge. Quite a few people dissuaded him from joining, since there was little scope in industrial catering whereas his prospects would certainly be much better in the hospitality sector. But the thought of earning a four-figure salary was a big temptation for the young Pillai and he agreed to take up the job. “Back then in 1982, a salary of Rs 1,000-plus was a princely sum.”
Little did he know that two years later a strike at the factory would force a drastic change in his career. By the time the situation was brought under control, the canteen contractor had left. It was then that Sudhir Shukla, the personnel manager at GTC, asked Pillai to take over the contract.
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