Image Source: restaurantengine.com
It was late 2012 and I was doing very well for myself in my corporate job. The seeds of MeDine were ploughed in our minds already and we were just figuring out on how restaurants work and what their problems were.
Zomato had picked up traction and JustEat got funded and they sprayed billboards and ads everywhere. We are vegetarians (lacto-vegans) and hardly have seen a restaurant/hotel kitchen, let alone understand how they operate.
We literally had no clue about anything related to food industry except that we enjoyed veg food in different parts of the world. I remember my wife teaching how to make Upma to a Turkish chef in Taksim square. Same is the case in lower part of Egypt when we painstakingly explained Indian veg. food and how falafel would suffice our palates. Anyways,I wanted to thank the following people for teaching me something about restaurants/cafes that I did not know around those times.
We received our first help from someone called Vivek who now works in Tamara, Coorg (Ex-Goldfinch & La Marvela in Bangalore). He was very excited about the idea and we were contemplating MeDine for hotels or for restaurants. He gave us a high level overview of the industry and directed us to Manoj and Satish of Mcorp and Kaayal restaurants. Manoj and Satish were so helpful that so many “thanks” would not suffice at all. They were the first to teach us about restaurant segments and how to set up restaurants/cafes, specifics of kitchen functioning, SCM in restaurants, how others like Burrp, Zomato operate etc.
They then put e in touch with Chef Manjit Singh of Herbs and Spices , who happened to cut our first cheque and give it to me in Eastern Club, Indiranagar without even knowing what the product is going to be and why. Later on more of the fine dining aspects were learned from him. When asked how did you do this without even
knowing about us, he said doesn’t matter, its a great idea and if nothing comes out, that’s fine too. Such was his confidence.
The next person to help us was Jamshed of Woodlands who taught us about core operations – including calculating plate wastage.
By this time we had graduated to learning what makes sense for restaurants and I was sounding fool-proof atleast if not well-informed. Dwivedi of My Tea House and Rithika of Huckleberry were the first of the pilots and we had innumerable occasions where they supported us.
Then came the marketing aspects of restaurants and here is where Bhupesh of T&U restaurant (HSR Layout)) came in. He was a marketer by profession in Madura garments and had so many ideas of the retail world that can be applied to restaurants. In fact our first order value based offers and loyalty offers were designed with his help. Even today whenever he has time, he ideates some stuff. This list can go on and on as we started scaling more and more. (All names are without a Mr. or Ms. Prefix to not sound formal)
Who says entrepreneurship is all about hardships, toiling etc – in my personal experience it was so overwhelming to see how many people want you to succeed and how many people are willingly ready to help you – they range from consultants to entrepreneurs themselves to clients to prospects to industry veterans.
You see the willingness and eagerness of everyone to help you unbiased so that you succeed, as much as what reflects your hunger and passion – success or not being secondary. I write this some 2 years later but then never wanted to keep these grateful feelings within me. Sometime they probably would read this blog and remember someone who learnt so much by their experience in restaurants/cafés.