Shyam Sundarlal Kakshapati: The fast food pioneer

Born: 1951, Palpa
Death: 2021, Bangkok

Nowadays, the Kathmandu Valley is full of fast food restaurants. It was a completely different case three decades ago, when in 1991 Shyam Sunderlal Kakshapati established the first outlet “The Bakery Café” in Teendhara. In doing so, he laid the first pillar of fast food culture in Nepal.

The pioneer businessman and co-founder of the famous Nanglo restaurant, Kakshapati, died on August 9 in a Bangkok hospital. There, 70-year-old Kakshapati had been receiving treatment for oral cancer for four months.

Kakshapati was born in Palpa district, to a family involved in the clothing and retail trade. After the death of his father, the family moved to Kathmandu. It was here that he ventured into the companies that would come to define him.

In his mid teens he opened Sam’s Grocery Shop in Ratnapark. The store flourished as its candies and orange juice became popular novelties.

By then, he had recognized that Nepal did not have a restaurant culture. So, in 1973, a determined Kakshapati set up Café de Park, right next to Ranipokhari. It quickly became a popular meeting place for young students. In 1976, with his brother Gopal, he founded Nanglo in Durbarmarg.

The restaurant became popular among the residents of Kathmandu as it catered to a diverse clientele, catering to families and business people. Five years later, he also launched the popular Chinese hall Nanglo. Nanglo’s success over the years has resulted in its expansion inside and outside the Kathmandu Valley. Then came the Bakery Café.

In 1997, Kakshapati broke with tradition by employing 12 hearing impaired people in the New Baneshwor coffee shop, having trained them himself. The chain now has nine outlets and more than 40 hearing-impaired employees.

The man behind the Riverside Spring Resort in Kurintar was elected president of the Nepal Hotel Association in 2012.

Kakshapati has also run other businesses, although with less success. The Nanglo Bazaar, a supermarket in Putalisadak, has been a failed business, as have its yellow Hyundai taxis which it introduced in Kathmandu in 1994. Its Shuvatara school had to be closed in May after being rocked by the Covid-lockdowns. 19.

Kakshapati will be remembered as a shrewd restaurateur and motivated businessman who left an indelible mark on the restaurant culture in Nepal. He is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

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