Excellence in Trade and Business

Discover how the Masala King of the Gulf, Dr Dhananjay Datar, built his Indian foodstuff empire

Dr Dhananjay Datar Chairman and Managing     Director Al Adil Trading LLC, UAE
Dr Dhananjay Datar Chairman and Managing Director Al Adil Trading LLC, UAE

Nisthula Nagarajan

Published: Sun 15 Aug 2021, 9:51 AM

Dr Dhananjay Datar, Chairman and Managing Director, Al Adil Trading LLC, UAE, is popularly known as the ‘Masala King’ in the Gulf. Dr Datar is a prime example of an entrepreneur who identified a gap in the market, and with the right implementation went on to create a successful business to great acclaim. He also happens to have a doctorate in Business Administration.

The success story of Dr Datar is highly inspirational to every business passionate mind. He was born in a middle-class Maharashtrian family from Vidarbha. His childhood was passed in poverty, which taught him self-reliance, frugality, and hard work. He took his primary education from a Jilha Pari-shad School and later shifted to Mumbai for middle school. Although without any entrepreneurial or sound financial background, he dreamt of owning a business at a younger age. He sold phenyl and instant mixes door-to-door in Mumbai’s suburbs and learned the art of selling.

He started his business career in 1984 as an intern in a small grocery shop in Dubai. He cleaned and carry heavy bags initially and gradually learned the management of a shop under the wise tutelage of his father. With honesty, hard work and determination, he created a miracle to carve the world-famous business group, Al Adil, out of his tiny shop. Today his group encompasses a chain of 48 spa-cious superstores spread across the Gulf, two spice factories and two flour mills equipped with mod-ern technology and an import-export company. He has created employment for hundreds of Indian workers and allowed them to work abroad. The rulers of UAE felicitated Dr Datar with a prestigious award and the title ‘Masala King’ in 2001 for his invaluable contribution to the business sector.

Recently he was ranked eighth among the top 10 Indian billionaires in the GCC region by Arabian Business and is also been ranked 25 in the top Indian business leaders in the Arab world by Forbes Middle East.

Recognised as an ISO 22000 and a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), Good Manufactur-ing Practice (GMP) and Good Hygiene Practices (GHP) certified company in 2006 Al Adil Trading un-der the leadership of Dr Datar has performed a key role in bringing more than 9,000 Indian products to the UAE. The group also produces more than 700 products within categories like readymade flours, spices, pickles, jams, savoury snacks and instants, under its own brand ‘Peacock’ and has its own manufacturing units in Al Quoz Industrial Area and Dubai Investment Park. For the last 37 years, Dr Datar is serving the Indian community from the Gulf region with authentic, hygienic and secure Indian foodstuff. The groups’ Indian arm — Masala King Exports (India) Pvt. Ltd. is successfully oper-ating from Mumbai. It is one of the leading exporters of quality branded Indian pulses, spices and other grocery items, as well as non-food items from the Indian sub-continent.

Al Adil Group is in active expansion mode and increasing its outlets in other Gulf countries. It has established special trade routes in the USA, Canada, Kenya, Switzerland, Italy, Eretria, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Apart from business, he is active in entrepreneurship develop-ment and business motivation among Indian youth. With a vision to inspire business aspirants and create Indian entrepreneurs from the lower-middle-class, he gives speeches in various Indian cities at his own expense. Also, he has helped several local entrepreneurs from India in exporting their quality products to the Gulf markets.

Dr Datar attributes his success to his father, the late Mhadhavrao Datar, as well as the encourage-ment and support of well-wishers and customers. Having started with just three employees, the group today employs thousands of people. He is providing direct and indirect employment to thou-sands of Indians. Because of Dr Datar’s commitment to quality and value, Al Adil Trading has been able to retain the loyalty of its customers for decades.

For Al Adil Trading’s frontman, the secret of success lays in total determination and dedication towards his business. He feels that it does not matter whether the business is small or big, what is important is efficiently and effectively catering to customer satisfaction. His advice to the entrepreneurs of the future is to have a dream and to work hard to pursue it.

Dr Datar’s innovative idea has enabled Al Adil to figure prominently in the books of history where it is registered in Limca Book of Records and Guinness World Records for its mid-air Silver Jubilee cele-brations. “I wanted to celebrate Al Adil’s 25th anniversary with a once-in-a-lifetime experience in a unique style onboard a Royal Jet Airways Boeing 737. On March 22, 2009, I along and my close busi-ness associates took off for a grand celebration at 40,000ft above sea level,” he smiles.

Awards received

Dr Datar has been honoured with various international and national awards for his business excel-lence and quality of products. He has been conferred with business awards from countries like UAE, USA, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain. In India he has been honoured with GMBF Busi-ness Excellence Award, Rashtriya Udyog Ratna Award, Quality Brand Award, Bharat Vikas Ratan Award, and Best Indian Retailer Award.

Contribution to social service

Dr Datar has donated generously to orphanages, schools for underprivileged children, and social wel-fare projects such as those run by eminent social workers Sindhutai Sapkal and Dr Vikas Amte. He has been honoured with a special award for his contribution to social entrepreneurship by Master Dee-nanath Mangeshkar Smruti Prathishthan. Recently Dr Datar has extended his helping hand to the penniless Indians who were stranded in Dubai due to the pandemic. Dr Datar sponsored their air travel, conducting free Covid-19 tests and distributing food packets to the needy. He has organised travel for over 5,000 such people.

Dr Dhananjay Datar

Chairman and Managing Director

Al Adil Trading LLC, UAE

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