Mavalli Tiffin Room

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The Mavalli Tiffin Rooms (Kannada: ಮಾವಳ್ಳಿ ಟಿಫನ್ ರೂಂ) (commonly known as MTR) is the brand name of a food related enterprise located in India. Having its origin in the city of Bangalore, it has a restaurant located on the Lal Bagh Road in Bangalore and 10 other branches in the city, as well as one each in Udupi, Singapore, Kaula Lumpur and two in Dubai. MTR is the inventor of the popular South-Indian breakfast item, Rava idli.[1] MTR is a subsidiary of Norwegian conglomerate, Orkla ASA.


MTR was founded as a restaurant by Parampalli Yagnanarayana Maiya and his brothers in the year 1924.[2] In the mid 1970s when India was under emergency, a Food Control Act was introduced which mandated that food was to be sold at very low prices. This move made it difficult for MTR to maintain high standards in its restaurant business and forced it to diversify into the instant food business, selling ready-to-eat snacks such as chutneys and rasams.[3] Since the 1970s, MTR has expanded and diversified, with MTR Department Stores opened next to the restaurant.[4] Currently the MTR brand represents two separate entities; the MTR restaurant business and MTR Foods, the pre-packaged food business.[citation needed]

MTR Restaurant[edit]

Idli served with pure ghee and sambar
The MTR coffee served hot in silver coffee mugs
A lady on glass etching on the staircase of Mavalli Tiffin Room in Bangalore

MTR Restaurant is a vegetarian restaurant located in Bangalore, India. It was founded in 1924. It has also been featured on television in the global travel-related series, Globe Trekker. It is said that once a Chief Minister of Karnataka stood in a queue to have masala dosa at this restaurant.[5] The restaurant building comprises two floors.[citation needed]

It is recommended to reserve a table for lunch since unreserved customers have to wait in a waiting room, sometimes for up to an hour.[3] The food served at the MTR is a regular, wholesome Karnataka Brahmin food.[3] The decor is outdated, as more attention is paid to cleanliness and food quality than ambience. For many years, the customers entered the restaurant through the kitchen so that they would be able to satisfy themselves about the restaurant's cleanliness before they ate there.[6]

During World War II, MTR found it difficult to make idlis since rice was in short supply. According to MTR, they experimented with semolina instead of rice and thus invented the very popular breakfast item of Rava idli. MTR also holds a record of being the first fast food restaurant in the world to serve 21,000 customers in seven hours.[6] MTR restaurant is currently headed by Hemamalini Maiya, Vikram Maiya and Arvind Maiya (grand children of Yajnanarayana Maiya).[citation needed]

[2] One uniqueness of this restaurant is that silver tumblers are used to serve beverages. This restaurant was closed in the period of Indian emergency (mid 1970s) when the Food Control Act made it non-profitable to serve food items until it was reopened in 1984.[7] To save the jobs during the time it was closed, MTR started selling spices and roasted flour mixes. That was the beginning of its entry into the convenience and instant food business and in a sense, a turning point.[citation needed]

MTR Foods[edit]

MTR Foods was headed by Sadanand Maiya (son of Yajnanarayana Maiya) until it was sold to Orkla, a Norwegian company for $80 Million in March 2007.[8] It produces packaged foods in different ranges - spices, instant mixes, ready-to-eat foods, vermicelli, Beverages, ready-to-cook gravies, range of frozen products, papads, pickles, chips, snacks and ice creams.[5] After the Kargil War,a lot of changes happened in the packaged ready to eat food segment due to Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL).[9] It bought the packaging technology from the same DFRL in Mysore and there are no preservatives added to the food while packaging.[6]MTR is also the first Indian processed foods company to be certified with the Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) certification which is a rigorous standard of food safety and hygiene.[5] It has also been sponsoring magic shows and theatre performances using them as a means of giving live demonstrations of their products and to hand out free samples to the audience.[10] MTR Foods is also the first company in the world to have created a frozen dosa, which can be heated and eaten right away.[6] MTR Food products are now available by online through MTR Foods Online Shop Portal. MTR Food products are exported to the countries in the Persian Gulf, United States and United Kingdom [6] It is believed that MTR is the one who brought the first ice cream vending machine to India.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b A very brief history of MTR is provided by "US spice giant may buy Bangalore's MTR". Online Edition of the Times of India, 2006-12-14. © 2007, Times Internet Limited. 14 December 2006. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  3. ^ a b c A history of MTR is provided by M. D. Riti. "Vaangibaath steeped in spice and tradition ... Lunch at Mavalli Tiffin Room". Online webpage of, dated 1999-08-12. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  4. ^ Opening of the MTR outlet in Chennai is mentioned by "MTR comes to Chennai". Chennai Online. 14 November 2003.
  5. ^ a b c An article on the changes in the MTR Foods division is provided by Boby Kurian. "Has MTR got its recipe right?". Online Edition of The Hindu Business Line, dated 2003-06-36. 2003, The Hindu. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d e MTR's history and its success in creating a frozen dosa is mentioned by M D Riti (18 July 2003). "The world's first frozen dosa". Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  7. ^ A detailed article on MTR is provided by Ranjin Rao (1 August 2002). "You aren't a Bangalorean till you've done MTR". the Hindu. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  8. ^ Sale of MTR Foods to Orkla is mentioned by Bureau. "Norway's Orkla acquires MTR Foods in $80-m deal". Online Edition of The Hindu Business Line, dated 2007-02-14. 2007, The Hindu. Retrieved 19 April 2007.
  9. ^ "Indian defence scientists develop hi-tech foods". 11 April 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  10. ^ Marketing strategy of MTR Foods is mentioned by Swetha Kannan, V. K. Varadarajan. "MTR Foods works the magic". Online Edition of The Hindu Business Line, dated 2006-10-05. 2007, The Hindu. Retrieved 19 April 2007.

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