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As the voice of the Indian restaurant industry, we represent the interests of 500000+ restaurants & an industry valued @ USD 4 billion. Whether a chain or independent restaurant, the NRAI is here to help every step of the way. Join us!


You only fail if you stop trying


Riyaaz Amlani, who began his entrepreneurial journey from Mocha café in Mumbai, has come a long way since. The CEO of Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt Ltd; he was also chosen as the president of National Restaurant Association of India in September 2014.

Describing his journey as “exciting, thrilling and interesting”, the prolific restaurateur says, “The oldest childhood memory that I have is also that of a restaurant, ‘Talk of the Town’, near Marine Drive in Mumbai. As a child I was highly intrigued by its restaurant manager, Joseph, who appeared like James Bond to me; uber and suave. Everybody seemed to know Joseph and he seemed to know everyone. Somewhere I guess, he is one of the major reasons for me wanting to join this industry.”

“Moreover, restaurants are custodians of contemporary culture and give it a personality, face and voice,” he adds.

Amlani who was recently in the capital to launch the NRAI India Food Services Report (IFSR) 2016.

Summing up the vision and mission of NRAI, the 41-year-old says, “NRAI is like the big brother in the restaurant industry and is with you every step of the way. We represent the hopes, aspirations and challenges of the one lakh plus restaurants in the country that are the social fabric of the nation.”

Under his presidency NRAI has taken a firm stance on several issues plaguing the Indian restaurant industry such as over regulation, over taxation and the ‘License Raj.’ “There have been stern talks on how there needs to be a ‘paradigm shift in the government’ where it realises that the restaurant industry is not a ‘rich man’s indulgence’ but a ‘friend to the Indian economy.”

Equating the newly introduced ‘Fat Tax’ by the Kerala Government to ‘Crap Tax’, he tells Metrolife, “It is not a well researched move. It is a discriminatory tax and NRAI is fighting it. Countries which brought about this tax had to repeal it as it turned out to be ineffective.”
He calls out on the absurdity of the tax saying that obesity in India is a deeper issue and involves several other factors which cannot be culminated by taxing.

Thus, according to him, there are two possible futures — either a defunct, derelict industry which is overtaxed and overburdened, not being able to afford the real estate, labour and food input prices; or one where the government eases regulations, leading to an exponential increase in the industry employment and frequency of people eating out.

Offering an advice to all aspiring restaurateurs, Amlani who himself is accredited with 37 restaurants and cafés across 12 cities in India, says, that ‘good food, good service and good story telling’ are key to success.

On being asked as to what are his hobbies, he says, “I have no time for hobbies. However, one way I find solace is by spending time with my two-year-old son, who helps me to take the edge off from the day to day stresses.”

He ends the conversation on a high-spirited note and says, “If you can find a way to monetise something you are passionate about, that you have an inherent ability for, and can be creative with, then you can be very successful.”

“You only fail if you stop trying,” he adds with gleaming confidence in his eyes.

Source: Deccan Herald(Metro Life)

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