Anjan Chatterjee was born in 1959 in a family of scholars in Kolkata. He went on to complete his graduation from Calcutta University and studied at the Institute of Hotel Management & Catering Technology, Kolkata in 1982. He started his career with the Taj Group of Hotels where he had his first hands on exposure in the F&B industry. In 1986, Anjan Chatterjee set up an agency called Situations Advertising and Marketing Services Pvt Ltd. With his core strength in marketing & advertising, his passion for food led to creation of a company called Speciality Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. (now Speciality Restaurants Ltd.) in early 90s. Today he is running 120 outlets in over 27 cities in India and abroad. Speciality Restaurants Ltd. entered the Indian Capital markets in May 2012 as being the only restaurant chain India to do so. A hands-on approach to work and a great love for his job marks Mr. Chatterjee's career, in advertising and restaurant business. Here are top key takeaways at his speech at 9th Indian Restaurant Congress:
It is All about Passion and Hardwork: “I have always believed that we come from school of life and we can always explain from the experiences of life,” shares Chatterjee who was the first restaurateur to start a Chinese restaurant in India. Passion, hardwork and discipline is three words in hospitality which is the backbone. Whatever, you are doing, you need to be extremely passionate. It is a very difficult business and is back-breaking business. “Unless you have that nasha and basic entrepreneurial capacity that you won’t give up from the point that you need to understand your product, pricing, real estate,” he adds.
Looking at Transparency: Restaurant industry was itself challenged as it was not organized, corporatize, and was more owner-based. Till the time the owner was around everything was organized but it can’t be institutionalized like the hotel industry. It was in the last decade that restaurant industry started looking at organization, transparency. The challenge has been to transfer it from owner-based to corporatization and ensure you attract equity in this organizational behavior and then take it to a public.
Consolidation is the Key: “Overexpansion, not being able to consolidate is few mistakes that we learnt as a restaurateur,” points the proud restaurateur who believes that one need to realize that sustainability comes in when they understand the store matrix. If your rental is more than 10-12 per cent of the business in today’s time, your business can not sustain for a longer period of time. Restaurant industry is the biggest possible employment generator in the hospitality sector. Hence, one should always start small, consolidate, and work at an expandable model which is relevant to the market.
Knowing the Success Mantra: “The mantra now we have is PTT- process, training and technology. Even if you have one restaurant gets your processes in place,” says Chatterjee. If you don’t have a differentiated product you are dead, me too product you are dead. You need to have your price right. Location is a myth today because if you have a product people can take you there. Once you understand 4 Ps going across, compression, innovation remains basic principle.
Dark Kitchen is Fad: Brick and mortar is no more the model. Dark Kitchens have come in, cloud kitchens have come in. So, all this is a disruption. Nobody today wants to stay away from tech-disruption and hence every restaurant owner is looking at such models.