Spoke with Altaf Ahmed, the owner of Shezan, a restaurant on Cunningham Road. Started the in business 1987, and needless to say his restaurant is popular and sought after, therefore the venture is a success. This restauranteur knows his business through and through, having spent all those years, in good robust business. And Shezan does outside catering too. Here are pointers from him on how to start your own restaurant.
Identify the Cuisine you know Best
I asked him what takes to start a restaurant, a dream a lot of people have seeing that Bangalore is driven to restaurants. First it is important to identify your strength and the cuisine you understand. Then the type of restaurant that one can manage. If the restaurant is labour intensive then one must be able to manage the force. The choice is left to the aspirant who wants to have his own restaurant.
Location, Location, Location!
Location is the dealmaker. Footfall is important. Ideally, the situation he says should be where there are offices and residents in the area as well. Offices bring in the lunch crowd and the residents bring in the dinner crowd. So location will define the profits of the restaurant.
The People that Make it Happen!
Sourcing of Chefs is the topmost priority for any restaurant owner. The Chef must understand the leitmotif of the restaurant, the making and plating of every dish must be in sync with the theme. Hence the Chef must understand the trail of food and service one intends in the Restaurant. The Sous Chef too needs to be sourced with care and he must be able work under the main chef. All minds must more or less be in sync, Altaf explains. The staff must be trained to ensure utmost hygiene in the kitchen. The waiting on tables also needs to be fine-tuned and well-coordinated.
The Tools to Aid
Kitchen equipment, beginning with the cooktops, to skillets to all the pots and pans, the crockery and cutlery need to be well planned and bought, while the concentration on kitchen equipment is mainly on efficiency and utility. When purchasing and stocking up on crockery and flatware the concentration should be on appeal.
Public relationship is everything, he says. True to his word, Altaf can always be seen in his restaurant, attentive to his customers and listening to them. Interacting with them and intent on keeping his customers’ dining experience really good, which is key he emphasizes. He also makes it a point to goes that extra mile to make changes, requested the customer on certain dishes and customizes it to their liking.
Then of course there is licensing concerns and governmental approvals that one needs to look into. The labour laws are very enforceable and hence a good advocate should be considered to draw up all the papers. Also advertisement helps he says. With all these things in place, if your dream is to start a restaurant, then this is the way to go about.