Holy Cow Hospitality is based in India and began in 2010. The company owns three brands – PlanB, Mother Cluckers Bar, and One Night in Bangkok. Overall, the company has 5 restaurants in Bangalore and Chennai, with PlanB being a popular hub for food and drink in both cities. It is co-owned by Sundeep Nayak, who comes from a hospitality business, beginning his food journey with two start ups (Chinese and Thai), and Thashvin Mackatira, a mechanical engineer who aimed to recreate the meat and cheese-loaded food he experienced while in the US.
Directors, Sundeep and Thashvin, tell us more about their ventures and share their passion for food in this exclusive interview with Hungry Forever.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Holy Cow Hospitality Private Limited has three distinct entities under them namely Plan B (Bangalore and Chennai), One Night In Bangkok (Bangalore) and Mother Cluckers (Bangalore). We started operations in June 2010 with our first outlet with a space of 1200 square feet and a 58 seater. Right from the design of the place to hiring of staff, putting together the kitchen and menu, we did it ourselves. Holy Cow hospitality started with a single outlet in Bangalore and has grown into five outlets in five years. The business has grown about 400% in the last five years.
For Mr. Thashvin, you’re known to be very passionate about food. Tell us, how did that begin?
Thashvin – I always loved food and would spend time in the kitchen with my mom who I would say is a brilliant cook. At 21, I left home to pursue my studies in the US and became the chef of the house I shared with 3 other students. We used to entertain friends very often and ended up grilling (sometimes in sub-zero temperatures in knee high snow)and putting together a good spread of food. I then took up a job in a small cafeteria as a line cook and really began to enjoy cooking, never got why the other cooks kept complaining all the time as I was having a really good time.
What paved the way to come together to to begin Holy Cow Hospitality?
Sundeep and Thashvin knew each other since they were in school as their parents were family friends. Sundeep was running a successful Chinese restaurant franchise and Thashvin was fed up with the traffic to commute to a 9 to 5 job. Both of them felt that Bangalore did not have a decent pub which served good food as well and decided to give Bangalore the first Gastro Pub in 2010.
Tell us a little bit about your ventures in the food industry.
We always wanted to be different and not imitate other successful brands in Bangalore. Initially sourcing of raw material and dealing with man power issues were a huge challenge. This could only be overcome by the founders being present in the restraints 24/7 and it also helped them learn on the job which has served them well with future successful restaurant/brand launches.
Plan B is one of your most popular ventures today. What do you think is the reason behind it’s success?
People in Bangalore required a casual place to chill out and have some good American food with their beer and PlanB was the first brand to give it to them. Soon it became an iconic destination for all Bangaloreans as well as outsiders visiting the city to come to pay us a visit.
How did you decide to bring PlanB to Chennai?
PlanB had a lot of customers coming in from Chennai over weekends and kept telling us to bring the brand to Chennai as they did not have such options there. Some visitors also said that they drove all the way from Chennai to have a meal at PlanB. It also worked out for us in terms of logistics being so close to Bangalore. In fact, the central kitchen in Bangalore also services the Chennai outlet.
Do you plan on bringing your other ventures, Mother Cluckers and One Night In Bangkok, to Chennai? Do you also plan to expand them to other cities?
Yes we do plan to bring our other brands to Chennai in the near future as Chennai has a lot of potential for new brands. We are also looking to open up our brands in other metros and Tier 1 cities over the next 2 years.
With three business on your plate, what is the most challenging thing for both of you?
The most challenging is to keep up consistency of food between our outlets and also to manage manpower.
What is most rewarding?
We get pretty kicked when people who do not know who we are speak to us about our brands across the country.
Do you have plans for more ventures with Holy Cow Hospitality in the future?
Yes we do.
Being in the restaurant business, what do you think sets your company apart from your competitors?
We always believe in creating our own products rather than imitating others. We also ensure to take feedback from customers and implementing the changes as and when necessary, so we are constantly evolving to become a better brand.
For Mr. Sundeep, you successfully ran two Asian cuisine set-ups. What advice would you offer someone considering starting a restaurant?
The restaurant industry is not as glamorous as it looks from the outside. Get into this only if you are passionate about food and beverage (industry) and are ready to give in long hours.
What are the goals for Holy Cow Hospitality in the future?
We look to open another 5 outlets in the next 2 years across other cities.