Patricia Thomas married Narayan when she was just 17 years old and because her parents were against this inter-religion marriage, she was ousted from her family house. To make matters worse, her husband had turned into a drug addict soon and she was left with no money and four hungry mouths to feed. Like a woman of grit, she set up a mobile cart on Marina beach and with help from two specially-abled people, she started selling snacks, coffee, tea and juice. She claims that Marina was her business school as it taught her everything there was to learn about running a business.
Over the next years, she started running canteens for offices in Chennai and soon in 1998, became the director of Nelson Manckam road restaurant. Soon in 2002, Narayan, passed away and after some days, her daughter and son-in-law lost their lives in a car accident too. These events seemed to devastate Patricia but she decided to hold on to her determined spirit and move on.
Patricia and her son soon set up their first restaurant called “Sandeepha” which was named after her late daughter. Since then, she has gone on to devote all her time to building and nurturing her restaurant and making it bigger and more popular than ever.
Her struggles to make odds meet were difficult but the courage and determination she showed was definitely extraordinary. In the year 2010, her struggles and business sense was appreciated and she won the ‘FICCI Woman Entrepreneur of the Year’ and soon became an inspiration to all women across the country.
“I started my business with just two people. Now, there are 200 people working for me in my restaurants. My lifestyle has changed too. From travelling in a cycle rickshaw, I moved to auto rickshaws and now I have my own car. From 50 paise a day, my revenue has gone up to Rs 2 lakh a day.” -Patricia Narayan (Source of the quote: Rediff)