Al Adil Trading Co LLC
Dhananjay Datar learned what he calls “the art of sales” by selling phenyl and instant mixes door-to-door in Mumbai’s suburbs, before arriving in the UAE, aged just 19 with just $8 in his pocket. Alongside his father, Mahadev Datar, he worked at a small shop in Bur Dubai, sweeping and cleaning, and eventually learning to manage the shop. Today, the tiny shop is better known as import-export firm Al Adil Group, and Datar is known for having $1.27 billion to his name.
Datar earned his nickname – the ‘King of Spice’ – as the Al Adil Group specialises in sourcing products from his Mumbai-based firm Masala King Exports that imports and exports spices, flours, pulses, rice, pickles, nuts, dried fruit, and other foodstuffs.
His company boasts as many as 40 outlets, spread across the entire GCC and India. It counts such prestigious names as Dubai Duty Free and several five-star Dubai hotels among its customers. Datar himself has a passion for healthy living, and plans on increasing the trading company’s organic produce in order to provide his customers with healthier food and encourage an overall better lifestyle for people in the GCC.
Datar’s group has even expanded into cosmetics. Moreover, the firm owns a manufacturing unit in Dubai’s Al Quoz, where it produces more than 700 products under the Peacock brand name.
The Indian magnate once said he had imagined Dubai to be a haven for fast cash, but it is safe to say Datar’s success came neither fast nor easy for he has come a long way from walking barefoot to school as a child. Now, he drives a custom-made Rolls-Royce to work. In 2018, he was recognised with a Best Enterprise Award from the Europe Business Assembly at the Oxford Summit of Leaders.
Datar has kept the business in the family, with his wife Vandana, who also rose from humble beginnings, acting as financial director of the group.
His advice for entrepreneurs is to be honest and work hard, but most importantly, to remember that “the customer is always right.”