Mavalli Tiffin Room
The Mavalli Tiffin Room (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 Gandhinagar area as well and also for the pre-packed food articles which are sold in packets having the MTR brand. MTR also claims to be the inventor of the popular South-Indian breakfast item, Rava idli.
MTR was founded as a restaurant by Parampalli Yajnanarayana Maiya and his brothers in the year 1924. 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. Since the 1970s, MTR has expanded and diversified, with MTR Department Stores opened next to the restaurant, and an outlet opened in Chennai. Currently the MTR brand represents two separate entities; the MTR restaurant business and MTR Foods, the pre-packaged food business.
MTR Restaurant is a vegetarian restaurant located in Bangalore, India. It was founded in 1924. It has also been featured on television in the hebbal 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. The restaurant building comprises two floors. 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. The food served at the MTR is a regular, wholesome Karnataka Brahmin fare and has its origins in the Udupi Brahmin cuisine of the coastal region of Karnataka. The decor is outdated, as more attention is paid to cleanliness and food quality than ambience.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. During World War II, MTR found it difficult to make idlis since rice was in short supply. According to MTR, they experimented with using 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. MTR restaurant is currently headed by Hemamalini Maiya, Vikram Maiya and Arvind Maiya (grand children of Yajnanarayana Maiya). 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. 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.
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. It produces packaged foods in different ranges - spices, instant mixes, ready-to-eat foods, vermicelli, ready-to-cook gravies, range of frozen products, papads, pickles, chips, snacks and ice creams. It bought the packaging technology from the Defence Food Research Laboratory in Mysore and there are no preservatives added to the food while packaging. MTR is also the first Indian processed foods company to be certified with the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification which is a rigorous standard of food safety and hygiene. 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. MTR Foods is also the first company in the world to have created a frozen dosa, which can be heated and eaten right away. MTR Food products are exported to the countries in the Persian Gulf, United States and United Kingdom  It is believed that MTR is the one who brought the first ice cream vending machine to India
- 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). 2006-12-14. Retrieved 2007-04-19.
- A history of MTR is provided by M. D. Riti. "Vaangibaath steeped in spice and tradition ... Lunch at Mavalli Tiffin Room". Online webpage of Rediff.com, dated 1999-08-12. Rediff.com. Retrieved 2007-04-19.
- Opening of the MTR outlet in Chennai is mentioned by "MTR comes to Chennai". Chennai Online. 2003-11-14.
- 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 2007-04-19.
- MTR's history and its success in creating a frozen dosa is mentioned by Bureau. "The world's first frozen dosa". Online Webpage of Rediff.com, dated 2003-07-18. © 2003 rediff.com India Limited. Retrieved 2007-04-19.
- A detailed article on MTR is provided by Bureau. "You aren't a Bangalorean till you've done MTR". Online Webpage of the Hindu, dated 2002-08-01. © 2002 The Hindu. Retrieved 2007-04-19.
- 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 2007-04-19.
- 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 2007-04-19.
- Achal Prabhala (February 2002). "Bangalore: Temples of Food". Outlook Traveller magazine.
- Swetha Kannan and V. K. Varadarajan (2006-10-05). "MTR Foods works the magic". The Hindu BusinessLine.