Know Why This Mumbai Restaurateur Suggests To Start Small

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In an interview with Restaurant India Sannat Ahuja Co-founder of Juss by Sindhful says before investing a big amount in the restaurant be sure of your product and do a few trials
  • SARA KHAN Feature Editor
Restaurant India

Juss by Sindhful is the very first restaurant in Mumbai that serves cultural and authentic Sindhi food. The vegetarian restaurant is a brainchild of mother-son duo Chef Kanchan Ahuja and Sannat Ahuja. They started off their journey in the food and hospitality industry in 2017 with a home-delivery kitchen in Khar which flourished and led to Juss by Sindhful, Khar and the Flea Bazaar, Lower Parel in Mumbai. Their menu brings together the best of authentic Sindhi crowd-pleasers and has managed to woo many B-town celebrities as well - catering for their up-scale weddings, the Deep-Veer Wedding & The Ambani Wedding to name a few. 

Sannat Ahuja, Co-Founder, Juss by Sindhful, says, “The main aim behind launching Juss by Sindhful is to provide the original Sindhi Cuisine experience and to focus on bringing something new for the vegetarian and vegan community. We want to spoil them with delicious options while bringing forth the simple, understated-yet-extremely delicious Sindhi food. We want it to become a part of the famous Thalis of India. We have tried to bring something new but traditional, and different but regional.”

In an interview with Restaurant India, Sannat Ahuja, Co-founder of Juss by Sindhful, says, “one of the main advantages is being a vegetarian and a vegan restaurant, we have a lower food cost.”

How did you come up with the concept of your restaurant?

Juss is an all-vegetarian, India's first Sindhi Thali diner. It is a small 30-seater cosy diner with warm interiors, located in Mumbai. We also serve specials like Dal Pakwan, Sindhi Curry Rice with Aloo Tuk and also a few mouth-watering Sindhi Chaats. Juss by Sindhful was our second brand after Sindhful, which is our take away kitchen which was started in 2016. Sindhful was a hit right away and people were enjoying authentic Sindhi food delivered to their doorstep. But we could only deliver to the customers who were residing within 3-4 km of Sindhful. We wanted others to be able to try and experience Sindhi cuisines.  Also at the same time, we wanted to showcase our culture through our food, essentially the way we eat Sindhi food. That's how Juss was born!

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What were the mistakes you might have made while drafting the plan for your restaurant?

Since it was our first time working for our restaurant, we had to trust our instincts and go with trial and errors. We had all these ideas of our own which we were not sure of if they would work on not; some of which were great and others not so much. 

How important is the location of a restaurant business?

I believe the location is very important but at the same time if you serving great food people will look for and come to the furthest corner for quality. Yes obviously if the place is located at the high street, the footfall will be higher. You will have more visibility but at higher commercials. Ours is not a prime location but our restaurant is easily accessible to Mumbaikars. 

What cost is involved in choosing a restaurant location like yours?

The cost of interiors would be the same everywhere, with choosing a location like this we save on the deposit and rent, which is 10-20% lower than the prime locations. 

What are your growth and expansion plans for Juss by Sindhful? 

Juss being an all-vegetarian, we focus on expanding to vegetarian dominated locations. We identified lower Parel as a great vegetarian location and we have opened our second outlet after Khar at Flea Bazaar, Kamala Mills. We've got people from all over the globe, The US, Canada and Dubai interested in franchising but for now, for the next 1-2 years, we will focus on the locations like Borivali, Mulund, Kolhapur and Ahmedabad. 

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What is the average per month footfall at your restaurant?

We have approximately 1500 guests coming in every month.

What does the road to profitability look like?

Juss has the advantage of being a vegetarian and a vegan restaurant, which means we have a lower food cost. Another thing to keep in mind is - our profitability will increase as we open new outlets. No issues here.

What do diners prefer more from the menu?

Most of the customers go for Sindhi Thali to get the whole Sindhi experience but at the same time, we sell as many Dal Pakwans as much as the thalis. The third favourite would definitely be the Sindhi Curry Rice with Aloo Tuk.

How do you see the food catering trends in Mumbai? 

Catering had gotten us some great breaks and revenues. We feel catering is always going to be in demand, from Corporate events, Weddings, Poojas, Birthdays, all festivities call for amazing food. We have catered for the Ambanis at Isha Ambani's wedding at Jio Garden. We also flew to Lake Como, Italy to cater for Ranveer Singh and Deepika’s Sindhi wedding function. It has been keeping us busy and now we are really focused on caterings.

Ten-step checklist to open a concept restaurant in Mumbai  

Legal - You need to know the complete legal requirements and always work within the requirements of the local municipal body.

USP - Be unique. First and foremost identify what your Unique selling point will be.

Trials - Before investing a big Chunk in the restaurant, first be sure of your product and do a few trials and get feedback.

Start Small - Understand the market

Competitor Analysis - Check if any competition in your close vicinity 

VFM pricing - The guests should be happy after going back.

Complete Involvement - You need to be involved in every department when the restaurant is being made, right from Interiors to Kitchen to

Service. It should be your baby, so offer your undivided attention!

Project Cost - Need to understand completely all the funds required to finish the work.

Working Capital - You would need a certain amount of capital to run the business once the restaurant is operative

Open to Change -  You should always be open to change 

POS - it is very important to have a good Point of Sale system which gives you complete data storage and detailed analysis of your sale. 

Inventory Check - Most of the POS will have an inventory system already available. It is very important to keep a regular check on inventory. 

Hard work.

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