Born and brought up in Kashmir, Nadeem and Suhail both shared the same dream of starting their own business leaving their family business behind. This duo recently came up with a café which is creating a buzz in Downtown, Srinagar. Excerpts from the interview:
How did you come up with the idea of starting your own venture?
After completing my studies, I joined my family business. My father being a contractor by profession provided me with a platform where I could gain experience in the business industry. I worked with him for four years. During this time, I used to visit Srinagar often as we had a property over there. After a few visits, I witnessed that there are many food lovers who are residing there. That’s when the idea of starting something in the food industry struck me.
How is your venture doing with time?
We started getting a good response from people across Downtown and other parts of Srinagar as soon as we started our cafe. The positivity we wanted to provide is certainly showing its result. We started with 7 people in our café which has increased to 14 in number within four months and we are looking forwards increasing that too.
Why the name Downtown Café?
When we were planning to start our café, one of my friends suggested me this name and location. He told that the venture will do great at Downtown eventually grabbing a lot of people’s eyeballs. We then decided to open our venture here in Downtown followed by the name Downtown café.
What are the challenges you faced while starting and running your café?
Starting a venture over here was a big challenge in itself. Things are almost shut every now and then in Downtown because of political turmoils. I personally believe that there are challenges at every step of your life and overcoming them is the only way forward. We readily decided to face this challenge when starting our business in a place like Downtown. Honestly, it still acts as a hurdle in our business but we are now confident and motivated more than ever.
What were the design elements which you planned for your café?
We hired a professional for the construction of our cafe. As my father is in this business, things were not that difficult. Suhail having experience in the family business played an important role in designing the way Downtown café looks right now. My effort was to publicize whereas Suhail was looking after the interiors and decorations.
What is the uniqueness of Downtown café?
The space we provide at our café is unique in itself, as no other café has such extensive space. Adding to it is the quality of food and the service we provide to the customers visiting us.
How did you come up with the promotional idea about distributing free food for the complete two days?
It was my father’s brainchild. Being a social worker along with a contractor, he came up to me one day and told me about this particular idea. Adopting this method met two things-creating brand awareness as well as getting the opportunity to help.
What are your expansion plans?
Right now we are just trying to understand this business. We want to make this outlet a great success first and after the brand name is popularized, we will be expanding by opening other outlets in Srinagar.