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Kayum Dhanani

Managing Director, Barbeque Nation Hospitality Ltd.

Growing a group of 21 restaurants into one of India’s largest casual dining restaurant chains and a global food and beverage giant in a short span of 5 years may seem like the stuff of fairytales; unless the visionary behind the growth is Mr. Kayum Dhanani, serial entrepreneur, owner of varied businesses and Managing Director of Barbeque Nation Hospitality Ltd.

Barbeque Nation – which pioneered the concept of live on the table grills in India – was the brain child of his brother Sajid Dhanani. In 2012, Kayum inherited the business from his brother, as well as the various challenges that came with it.

By 2015, the brand opened it 50th milestone outlet, and by 2016, it had opened its 75th outlet.

After gaining expertise and in-depth assessment of the business and the target consumer, Kayum developed his vision for the brand. Today, his goal is to expand Barbeque Nation into a global brand. He believes in the potential of the brand and its business model. Currently, Barbeque Nation is one of the leading restaurant chains in India, with over 5000 employees and 86 operational outlets across India. Barbeque Nation opened its first international outlet in Dubai in 2016.

Mr. Dhanani’s business mantra was simple – invest in people, not businesses. Success will follow happiness. Barbeque Nation invests heavily in staff training, to ensure that customers are given a warm, personalised dining experience, similar to dining at a close friend’s house.

During his early childhood, Kayum lived in Baroda before moving to Dubai to finish his schooling. At 18, he returned to India and joined his family business. In 2000, he moved to Chennai, away from his Gujarat based family. The move was significant in more ways than one. The entrepreneur in him wanted to see if he could survive on his own, in an unfamiliar business vertical. Not only did he survive, but his business venture Sara Suole Pvt. Ltd., flourished and he went on to explore different industries. Today, he manages 8 different business verticals, many of them first edition businesses that he has created.

Apart from his businesses, the serial entrepreneur is passionate about different cultures. In his free time (“What free time?” he jokes), he travels extensively – both in India and abroad. For him, travel is a collection of memories, interactions with new cultures and experiences that leave him the richer. He believes in capturing memories through his camera, rather than through curious. He is also a deltiologist or a collector of postcards, which he keeps from all his travels. An outdoor person, he engages in activities like off road-ing, biking, snorkeling on his travels and is an avid golfer when he is not traveling.