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Table for two: Earthy tips

chandigarh Updated: Jun 22, 2014 09:32 IST
Madhusheel Arora
Madhusheel Arora
Hindustan Times
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A new advertisement of a detergent shows a young woman about to take her mother and herself to a treat at a five-star hotel only to be faced with disparaging remarks about her sense of dressing.

She replies by revealing a smashing white dress and an attitude that says that her time to eat out has just begun.

Such confidence! If only the same élan could be exhibited by the 7,00-odd places in the tricity that in the business of serving food to us.

I have written earlier in these columns that the food business is such a seductive proposition that seems easy to lose a substantial amount of money in double-quick time in a venture, if one is not careful. So, from my personal experiences and those of my friends and relatives, here is a checklist for people who want to run and set up a successful restaurant/eating-out business venture in the tricity.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

The first thing that all wannabe business owners need to keep in mind is to refrain (or at least think a 100 times) before starting a restaurant eatery business from rented premises. It will be too expensive and before you know it, the 30 days to the rent will have gone with your total sales unable to cover up even 60% of the rent. I am not saying stay away from starting any business from a rented premises, just that starting an eatery can be simply too stressful from such premises.

Second, please ensure that you or any one of the founding partners knows how to cook. You will be stupefied at the number of people who open shop without any cooking knowledge. These are the ones who fold up within a month. Do not repeat this mistake. Planning to run a restaurant/dhaba without the requisite cooking knowledge is a sure recipe for disaster. It also exhibits a lack of passion and vision towards the product --- the food. This will ultimately reflect in the overall quality of service and taste and ultimately leave a bevy of angry customers at the dining table.

The third key rule, (even if I am being presumptuous enough to say this) is that please hire at least 50% more staff than your calculations. You never know, when your location would make it convenient for heat-weary or rain-weary travelers to make a beeline for your place, so be prepared to cater to the place all full always.

Another key to the slow march towards success in the business is be wary of wastages and try to keep these in control, without annoying the customer or being within his earshot, anyway. The trade is known for stupendous, wastages and it will behove you well to be steel yourself for these, but remember you can never ever eliminate leakages and waste, here. So, the owners usually have to be Zen-like in demeanour. Finally, being prepared for success and patience for the first 300 days is an absolute prerequisite and you will be laughing all the way to the bank with cash to spare for a stray party.