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Hospitality sector now clubbed with Thekas


Though born and brought up in Rajasthan, I have been living in Gurgaon since 1996. Ironically, when we moved here, the state of Haryana had liquor prohibition. In these 21 years, we have witnessed this sleepy town metamorphose into a global city. And it seems we are back to square one.

Gurgaon has a diverse culture and an eclectic mix of people who are willing to experiment. People want a place where they can unwind after a hectic day or even during it. The young urban professionals and expats in the area enjoy socialising over alco-beverages, which is at par with anywhere else in the world. Entrepreneurs like me were successful in creating an environment where one can do exactly that!

There has been a gradual shift in preference and people are enjoying alcoholic beverages like beer and wine more than hard liquor. They want to relish it rather than guzzle. No doubt, Gurgaon has more microbreweries than any other place in India.

The city has a thriving cultural and entertainment scene. Progressing from a “city of malls” to dedicated F&B catchments like DLF CyberHub, Sector 29, Galleria market and the Good Earth City Centre proves the propensity of the culture of going out to eat and drink. With the addition of a new set of restaurants in the swanky One Horizon Center on Golf Course Road and the transformed 32nd Milestone on NH8, there’s enough reason to get spoilt for choice.

As work and home were in Gurgaon, it made sense to kick-start The Beer Café on home turf. The response to each outlet was great and we therefore quickly rolled out five outlets in the first year itself.

As an indigenous brand, we take immense pride in being India’s largest, fastest and most-awarded alco-beverage chain. From a current count of 40 cafes across 12 cities, our quest for bringing in liquid sunshine in every neighborhood keeps spreading with every passing month.

April 1 played a different kind of prank. While we completed five years of the foundation of our company the same day, it was overshadowed by the rude fact of the organised hospitality sector being clubbed with tin-shed liquor vends, a.k.a. thekas.

The March 31 order from the honourable Supreme Court cast a death knell on numerous restaurants and hotels spread across the nation. If the intention was to balance, then I wonder, what is unbalance?

I am a textile engineer professional-turned-restaurateur who mortgaged our own home to start a venture. What’s been my learning?

Provide dignified wages, medical insurance, stock options and, above all, a healthy culture where people can grow, thrive and collaborate as they work their way through one of the most demanding industries on the planet.

Start early, stay late and be prepared to lose most of your friends, your mind and maybe your marriage.

What good is passion when the name of the game is consistency? Is anybody really passionate about consistency? What good is passion when it’s 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration?

No industry embodies the mantra “Success is stumbling from one failure to the next without the loss of enthusiasm” better than the restaurant business.

We all know the numbers: 90% of restaurants close in the first three years, right? That’s a casino game, which even the drunkest, most inappropriate, weird people wouldn’t play. But I would, any day. After all, the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

Finally, be prepared to watch most of the world spend their days looking forward to rare moments when everything goes right, while you spend your time maximising the moments that go wrong. Do that, and you’re an honorary restaurateur. Do that and spend each day wishing you were better, instead of wishing things were easier, and you might, just maybe, be in that 10% of restaurants, which sustain for years.

So ultimately, optimism is the true moral courage of our industry.


Source: ET Retail

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