When Tanya Bathija was younger, she remembered a teacher asking her what she wanted to be when she grew up.
She confidently replied, “I want to be my dad.”
Her father, Ben Bathija, worked in the apparel industry in New York City for over 20 years and became a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee back in 2002 when he opened his first Dunkin’ on the William Floyd Parkway off the Montauk Highway.
“I want to be an entrepreneur, now I understand the word what it means to be an entrepreneur and what that means – it’s a jack of all trades,” said Tanya Bathija.
She said she knew she wanted to follow in his footsteps and one day become a real estate and franchise tycoon.
The Bathija family opened their eighth Dunkin’ Donuts location at 1669 Montauk Highway in Bellport on April 7 after breaking ground about a year ago.
“We’re very fortunate to have good people behind us,” said Ben Bathija at the Bellport Dunkin opening ceremony.
Tanya Bathija said she took an inquisitive approach to learning the basics of the business in hopes of continuing her family’s legacy as co-owner of the Montauk Dunkin’ Group.
“When I’m doing all the training, I’m always the one sitting in front, I’m the one who’s so involved, who likes to ask questions and likes to give answers and examples,” she said. “Franchises love that. The world is an oyster, you just make it yours.”
This is the story of Tanya’s journey into the entrepreneurial world.
The desire to “one day rule the world”
Tanya Bathija said she has always been an ambitious person – whatever she sets her mind to, she achieves it.
She finished high school and college in just six years and got a jump on college courses during high school.
For her basic education she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and studied international business and fashion design.
After earning an MBA, she jumped into her quest to become the “female version” of her father, she said.
She adds that she not only takes inspiration from her father, but also from her mother Sonia Bathija, who balanced her work with raising three children.
“Women are coming up and they need the support of their parents, their mothers, to move forward in life,” said Sonia Bathija. “We stand behind you.”
Tanya Bathija’s mother and father have been incredibly supportive and gave her the world throughout her life, she said.
“My parents taught me independence, you never want to rely on anyone or anything, you want to be your own person,” said Tanya Bathija. “My mom used to say, ‘In this world, people may say that men and women aren’t the same, but you’re equal to a man — you can do just as much as a man.'”
Tanya Bathija said her father immigrated to the United States from India when she was 17 to pursue the “American Dream” and take care of his entire family.
His daughter thought he was “the Indian godfather”.
“I want to be the Indian godmother when I’m at this level,” said Tanya Bathija. “It’s amazing to be called his daughter.”
The story continues after the photo.
The ultimate human
The ideal career for Tanya is one where she can make people happy, she said.
Her work as an auditor and franchisee follows suit.
She’s leading a tight ship at the new “Next Gen” Dunkin’ Donuts location in Bellport, which is the first drive-through location of this design, she said.
“I have regular customers, I have business owners who come now that I work with, even go to lunch,” said Tanya Bathija. “If you’re there as an owner, and the customers see that, they like it.”
She expressed the joy she feels as she transforms into a “mixologist” and creates special coffee drinks for customers.
Some regulars only buy a drink if Tanya Bathija makes it, she said.
A cup of coffee is usually the start of the day, and she said it’s important that it helps start it off right.
“When it comes to business, I’m a tough woman but with a tender heart,” she said.
Inspire the next generation
Representation is important to Tanya Bathija because it inspires others to go out and achieve their goals, she said.
Her advice to other young women going into business is to remain determined, believe in yourself and forget what other people are thinking.
“It will always be you creating that success for yourself,” she added. “There’s a great quote: ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.'”
In addition to her latest venture in Bellport Dunkin’, Tanya Bathija competes in a Miss United States pageant that focuses on accomplished professional women.
“I started modeling to show young women and girls that there is no perfect height, there is no perfect beauty, beauty comes from within,” she said. “Beauty comes from your personality and your mind, not from your looks or your size.”
As an entrepreneur, she also believes in taking care of her employees and being a role model for the younger generation. She said she feels an obligation to support her employees in any way she can.
This includes support in reconciling work and school; creating a safe, friendly work environment; and to offer support to those who may not have it at home.
“A person who works for you and makes it, you are their backbone that made it possible,” said Tanya Bathija. “I’m tearing up … my parents did a lot for me, so if I could do the same thing for one person and make a difference, then I’ve accomplished something.”
Above: Tanya Bathija poses in her new Bellport Dunkin’ Donuts.