Women who made big in Restaurant and Food biz

Short Description
More and more women are joining the bandwagon and pursuing their dream leaving behind the four walls
  • Vikram Purewal
Restaurant India

Over the last few years the status of women in India has been subject to many great changes.  Women in the country have scaled in every field. From managing a home maker’s job, to growing as a leader and owning a business, they have helped a lot in growing the economy.

And, as eating out has become one of the most fashionable and trendy trend, women are scaling high in this field. More and more women are joining the bandwagon and pursuing their dream leaving behind the four walls. Restaurant India shares the story of some of the aspirational women who have done a lot for the food and beverages industry.

Revolutionising the ‘Juice biz’

The growing trend of fitness and keeping one self healthy is driving the juice business in India with opening of juice bars and cafes in the major metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune and Chennai. The sector which is primarily dominated by the unorganised players or the local vendors is cashing on in demand.

With Global players like the Australia-based ‘Boost Juice’ entry into India, which was renamed as ‘Joost Juice’ as there was already an energy beverage by the same name, the concept of having a juice bar or cafe is certainly defining the new-age healthy, refreshing business models.

Rivoli Sinha, a graduate in hotel management and a food lover has always dreamt of doing something of her own in the food segment. Having worked with global chains like Marriott, her experience came handy when she brought ‘Joost Juice’ to India in 2011.

It was during her family visit to Australia back in August 2008 that she came across the first Boost juice parlours and realised it as an interesting opportunity for a country like India, where she could foresee the need of a healthy beverage segment that could serve to a growing health-conscious customer base.

Currently, Joost Juice has over 10 outlets in Delhi-NCR and Mumbai. With locations such as airports, gyms, malls and hospitals, the brand has really played well in terms of growth and revenue.  Joost starts franchising in the year 2016 and you shall see many more franchisee stores this year onwards.

“We plan to end this year with at least 30 stores. Operating as a master franchisee of the Australian brand, the group has worked out the quality with “Think Global Eat Local” attitude by adopting only 40 per cent of the global products in its menu, while tweaking 60 per cent of it, in a bid to suit the preferences and tastes of the Indian customer,” added Sinha.

A born ‘Master Chef’

Born in Kolkata to a Marwari business family, Ritu Dalmia joined her family business of marble stone at the age of 16. Her work led her to Italy for sourcing where over a period of time develop a liking for Italian cuisine and started learning it as well.  Ritu started her first restaurant ‘MezzaLuna’ in 1993, at the age of 22. The restaurant was not a big hit and was closed after 3 years, Ritu then moved to London and opened first Indian fine dining restaurant on King's Road, with partner Andy Verma. The restaurant was a big success and received good reviews, however unable to settle in London, in 2000 Dalmia sold off her shares of restaurant to Verma and returned to Delhi. And, the same year, iconic Italian restaurant, ‘Diva’ was born in India and since then there has been no looking back for Ritu. Today, she runs six restaurants and owns a catering business.

The dessert queen

Icing On Top is the brainchild of dessert gourmand - Ayushi Shah. Trained in the pastry kitchen at JW Marriott as well as at Indigo Deli (Palladium) and Indigo (Colaba), Ayushi quotes her love for food as the driving point behind her success. A strong vegetarian upbringing shines through in the completely eggless menu offered; a rarity in itself. With an expansive menu that spans handcrafted miniature cookies to the ever-so-flavourful crackers, Icing On Top is a resultant success of both local and international ingredients that are carefully hand-picked and transformed into delectable treats by Ayushi.

Leading the ‘Home chefs fraternity

Lolita Sarkar, Owner & Chef, Desi Deli-Lolita Sarkar is among the first from the army of home chef entrepreneurs in Mumbai to set up her own hot dog and burger place called Desi Deli in Bandra. She gave up her job as a former advertising film director along with her husband Amitabh and shut down their production house Bob & Lola Entertainment Pvt. Ltd to set up Desi Deli in just under four months after trial runs at popular food events like The Bombay Local and The Lil Flea. Desi Deli is one of the only cafes in the city serving gourmet hotdogs and has received a cult status within months of its launch.

Boozing in male’s world

Lisa Sroa was born and brought up in the UK, a specialized in International Marketing and consumer behaviour she felt marketing management was the right field for her in the UK.

However, she has been inspired by the liquor industry. Being exposed to Double Dutch, a beer brand that her father launched in the UK 15 years ago, she noticed that products in the price sensitive bracket in India were of very low quality standard and good quality products were extremely expensive.  “In the liquor industry, I found a very specific gap in the market. The premium liquor segment in India’s mass market was completely under-utilized. This is when I envisioned building a liquor business in this country that provided the market with value for money products,” added Srao, Chairman & Managing Director, I Brands Beverages.

The brand is growing its reach in the country and is looking at entering new countries -- Vietnam, Laos and Thailand during the next fiscal.

Leading the ‘Burger war’

Born and raised in Delhi, Sana went on to pursue her higher education from Emory University, Atlanta, USA in the field of Financial Economics, Business Policy and Art History. She joined CybizCorp in May 2013 and joined their Training and Development division for RE/MAX India. Her next role in CybizCorp included taking on the ropes as the F&B Director thereby setting the foundations for establishing the new F & B Division for CybizCorp.

She helped the company in acquiring the Master Franchise for The Embassy Restaurant and the Lazeez Affaire Group Restaurants such as Out of the Box Cafe, Boombox Cafe, etc. and famous resto-pub. Sana has also helped CybizCorp acquire the Master Franchise for California based burger chain Carl's Jr. under CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. that have more than 3,600 franchised and company-operated restaurants in 44 states and 36 foreign countries and US territories. Her role as the Executive Director of Carl’s Jr. India is to help operate and control this brand in India with the ultimate goal of making it India’s favorite restaurant chain! 

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