A Day In The Life Of Restauranteur Avik Chatterjee
Mumbai, being a fast-paced city, has its fair share of delights. One of which, is its variety of restaurants and eateries. So how exactly does one make it as a restaurateur in this city? How does a typical kitchen and restaurant work? What can make your idea a success in today’s market? We have all these answers for you, and much more!
We chatted with Avik Chatterjee (Head- Innovations and New Formats, Specialty Restaurants Limited), to find out about what it takes to make it in this competitive industry.
Avik has a very interesting role, being the young, innovative entrepreneur that he is, setting up new brands and innovating trends is what he focuses on. Since the time that he has joined Specialty restaurants, he’s created several brands like Zoodles- Asian Street Wok, Hoppipola- Eat Drink Play, Gong- Modern Asian, POH- Progressive Oriental House and he’s coming up with two new brands, which are to be launched in 5 cities of India in 2019.
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For all the stress in the world, there’s ONE delicious stress reliever – a wholesome lunch. The lunch sets at POH come with a soup of the day, house green salad, dim sum of the day, mains, fried rice and dessert of the day. And, guess what? All this is available at just 777. When are you dropping by? #POHIndia #POH #ProgressiveOrientalHouse #AsianFood
“My favourite part of being in this industry is creativity. We are creating something new every single day. It’s not a price war anymore. There was a price war, back in the day, but now it’s more about your communication and concept. That plays and goes hand in hand with the kind of food that you serve, making it a complete package.”
The food industry is constantly changing, there are new ideas and concepts coming up almost every day, and if you are not up to date with what’s going on, you lose out. This is where awareness and ideating plays an important role which involves significant amount of research and development, and looking out for new ideas, trends and inspirations every day.
“I work very closely with designers before the restaurant comes to life. There’s a lot of experimenting that is involved when it comes to creating new menus and dishes. We have an R&D kitchen in our office itself where we test new dishes time and again and if what we try works, we roll it out into our restaurants pretty much in no time!”
The restaurant industry works round the clock and can be quite taxing. This is why Avik makes sure to devote at least an hour of his day to himself. This could be spent doing anything from working out, playing an instrument, spending time with the family or even just listening to music.
“For me, playing the guitar or piano is a form of meditation. I think if you don’t calm your brain then you can’t really give your best, especially because in the restaurant industry, one never sleeps. We’re always constantly on our phone or we’re constantly brainstorming. Which is why I need that balance, that two hours to myself!”
When asked to share a few tips for anyone entering this industry, Avik told us, “What I would always suggest to someone who is starting up is that: however big or great your idea is, keep your costs very low. And by costs I mean, #1- rentals. Don’t always aspire to be at the best location, because you never know even if you’re in a small lane and if you’re shouting out loud with your marketing, you might still be good. In order to create a business out of your passion, you need to have financial support as well. Do not overstaff, do not try to get the best in staff but try and but train them to make them the best. Put in more effort into your training rather than paying higher salaries, and keep your food costs low. Your raw material costs have to be low, if you want to sustain in this industry.”
In 2019, Avik has set high goals for himself. He will be launching three new brands and is also working on a new concept in London. He aims to launch around seven new outlets in the first half of the year.
He signs off by saying, “My aspirations are that the brands that I have created, do have a futuristic plan of expansion and I want the brand tones to be set so well, that the communication is at flow. I’ve put in all my learnings in this, after working on the four brands that I’ve created till now. Let’s see how the new year goes. I’m looking forward to it.”
So, all you budding entrepreneurs, restauranteurs and chefs out there, we hope this article helps you kick start all your food dreams and aspirations!