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High rentals, shortage of trained manpower, complicated licensing structures are some key challenges faced by our clients: Samir Kuckreja

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Samir Kuckreja set up Tasanaya Hospitality Private Limited in September 2012. He had earlier worked with a number of leading domestic and international brands and was also the President of the NRAI from 2009 to 2014. He initiated the NRAI India Food Services Report project in 2010 and talks to us about his journey with the report during the launch of the third edition.

What made you start Tasanaya Hospitality? Please brief us on the services and your journey so far.

I had worked in a variety of a leading domestic and international chains, the last being CEO of Nirula’s from 2006 to early 2012. After that stint, I decided to start my own boutique consulting company as there was a significant demand for the kind of services that my company offers. We specialize in advisory/consultancy work for the hospitality and retail industries. Areas of work include the following:

a) Advising start-up concepts
b) Foreign chains on entry strategy
c) Existing chains on growth strategies, new store planning, systems and franchising
d) Food technology companies on product strategy and market penetration
e) Restaurant companies on fund raising, PE/VC funds on acquisitions.
f) Executive search, training and people solutions.

It has been an exciting and interesting journey over the last 4 years during which we have helped create successful new restaurant concepts, helped expand some brands across different parts of India. We have successfully executed over 30 projects and are currently working on 10 different assignments. I have also advised and mentored many young entrepreneurs who have created new businesses.

What kind of competition do you face in the industry? How do you keep yourself ahead of others in this business?

We face competition from established hotel and restaurant consulting companies and other consulting firms which offer similar services. However, we are unique in a variety of ways including the benefit of my experience of 26 years across different segments in the industry, having a ‘hands-on’ and operational style of consulting, being focused on delivering exceptional results all of which ensures value addition for our clients.
I regularly attend seminars and events related to the hospitality and retail industries in India and other countries.

What are the common challenges your clients face while planning to enter the restaurant industry?

Some of the key challenges faced by our clients who are looking at entering the restaurant industry are given below:
i) High rental cost
ii) Shortage of good quality trained manpower – both staff and managerial
iii) Intense competition in various segments
iv) Lack of availability of space in leading Malls and High Streets
v) Complicated licensing structures which often lead to projects being delayed
vi) Institutional funding

How has your life been after moving on from the role of President, NRAI?

I had a very challenging and enjoyable stint as the President of NRAI from 2009 to 2014. It is indeed gratifying to see how the Association has grown under the new leadership team of Riyaaz Amlani, Rahul Singh, Manpreet Gulri, Kabir Advani and Manpreet Singh and others. These were all professionals whose involvement with the NRAI started during my tenure.
As a Trustee of the NRAI, I am involved in certain key areas of the Association including strategic growth and vision.


Please share your experience on heading the NRAI India Food Services Report 2016 committee. How is it going to benefit the industry and other stakeholders?

We had a group of industry CEO’s along with the Technopak and NRAI teams who worked closely for 7 months to bring out the new Report. This Report is very comprehensive and will be of great benefit to both restaurant operators and other stake holders including investors, suppliers and technology players involved in the Industry. Some of the key highlights are given below:

a) With collaboration from Zomato the Report has unique insights on consumer behaviour while making decisions on where to eat and order from.
b) The consumer insight section provides detailed information on factors which influence consumer decision making along with their preferences while eating out in a large number of cities.
c) The Chapter on M&A gives a comprehensive listing of investments in various parts of the industry along with guidelines for investors and operators
d) The Social Media Chapter highlights best practices across various segments of the industry and gives tips for positively leveraging various elements of Social Media for operators.
e) The comparison of India’s Food Service Industry with other countries which shows the tremendous growth potential.