CEO & MD, Impresario Handmade Restaurants
Riyaaz Amlani is an entrepreneur and restaurateur based in Mumbai, India. He is the CEO and MD of Impresario Handmade Restaurants and the former President of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) from 2014 to 2017. Over the years, Riyaaz has expanded Impresario’s hospitality footprint by establishing 59 restaurants across 15 cities in India. Its umbrella of brands includes SOCIAL, antiSOCIAL, Smoke House Deli, Salt Water Cafe, Flea Bazaar Café, Ishaara, Slink & Bardot, Souffle S’il Vous Plait, Mocha, Prithvi Café, and The Tasting Room. Starting out as an outsider to the hospitality industry, today Riyaaz is a highly respected leader in the F&B industry in India. He is known for his uncanny ability to provide unusual and novel experiences in all his ventures. Having sold shoes as a teenager, Riyaaz completed his education at UCLA with a Masters in Entertainment Management. On returning to India, he started working as an entertainment consultant for many location-based entertainment centres. During this period, he contributed to the building of India’s leading family entertainment centres as well as set up a wellness centre. He soon took over the reins of a leading media company, but gave it all up to open a café in partnership with Kiran Salaskar. His vision was a café that offered an experience beyond the ordinary. This gave birth to his maiden venture Mocha – Coffee & Conversations, considered a pioneering venture in the F&B industry back in 2001. Since then, Impresario has become synonymous as the café expert in the country. Growing rapidly under Riyaaz’s leadership, Impresario is set to expand its signature brand SOCIAL (an all-day café and co-working space that morphs into a high-energy bar post sun down), antiSOCIAL (a state-of-the-art performance space with strong F&B offerings), Smoke House Deli (a European all-day deli and bar), and FLEA Bazaar Café across India. A strong focus remains the growth of the two flagship brands SOCIAL and Smoke House Deli in Tier 1 and 2 cities, and brand Mocha (gourmet coffee shop) in Tier 2 and 3 cities. There are also plans chalked out for international expansion. Awards & Recognition: Riyaaz Amlani has been recognized as the Changemaker of the Year by Living Foodz Powerlist Awards 2020, Best CEO by Coca-Cola Golden Spoon Awards, Restaurateur of the Year by Franchise India’s Indian Restaurant Awards 2015, Restaurateur of the Year by Top Chef Awards, Best Restaurateur by Time Out Food Awards, Restaurateur of the Year by the Times Food & Nightlife Awards 2016, 50 Most Influential Young Indians by GQ Magazine, Restaurateur of the Year by Living Foodz Powerlist Awards 2016, the Hall of Fame by Food Food Top 100 Awards 2017, Restaurateur of the Year by EazyDiner Foodie Awards 2017, Game Changer of the Year by Condé Nast Traveller India, and Restaurateur of the Year by the Times Food & Nightlife Awards 2019. All his restaurants have not only won various awards in India, including Best New Restaurant, Best Bar, Best European Restaurant, Best Ambience, Best Noteworthy Newcomer, and Best Coffee Shop, but have also been acknowledged internationally by being nominated for UK’s Restaurant & Bar Design Award as well as shortlisted for Miele’s Top 50 Restaurants in Asia and recognized in Time Out Mumbai’s Top 10 Best Restaurateurs in India.