Aditya Tavora, professionally a graduate in Hospitality and Hotel Administration, holds rich experience in the Hospitality field having worked in multinationals such as Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide. Aditya was always fascinated by the hospitality business since his childhood. He partnered with his father, Carlos Tavora, the founder of Navtara Restaurant in 2017. From then, he has seen Navtara grow from eight outlets to ten outlets in Goa. Aditya has been a building block for Navtara with his immense love and knowledge that he possesses for this industry!
In Conversation With Aditya Tavora of Navtara Veg Restaurant
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Aditya Tavora talks of his journey in the industry, the story behind Navtara Veg Restaurant, the story behind Navtara, waste management and a lot more.
The Story Behind Navtara Vegetarian Restaurant
Navtara Vegetarian Restaurant, founded in 1986, is a pure vegetarian restaurant in Goa with ten branches across Goa. In 1997, Navtara Veg Restaurant was renovated as a Multi-Cuisine Vegetarian Restaurant in Goa. Expanding its menu to offer Punjabi, Mughlai, Goan, Chinese, North and South Indian fare to its patrons.
Goa is one of the most popular holiday destinations from people across the globe, there is a scarcity of pure vegetarian restaurants. Carlos Tavora, the founder of Navtara Veg Restaurant, hails from a traditional Goan Catholic family. Carlos decided to come up with a pure vegetarian restaurant in Goa after he realized the increasing demand for pure vegetarian restaurants in Goa. There were a few vegetarian restaurants in Goa back then, but the patrons had to wait in long queues to enter the restaurant. Carlos understood the market segments thoroughly and started with the first Navtara Restaurant with only a few menu items which were mostly South Indian. To date, their highest selling food is South Indian.
Carlos has a good eye for the location. All the ten branches in Goa are well located in the eye of the public as they are in easily accessible locations. Their branches are on the way to Calangute at Calangute Baga Road, Margao, Mapusa, Panjim, Porvorim, Siolim.
Navtara Restaurants USP is that Goa is associated with alcohol, every other restaurant sells alcohol in Goa, there are hardly few of them who solely sell food, According to Tavora, someone needs to take care of the other end too. That is how Navtara helps in catering to the patrons who want to have pure veg food in Goa. The ten branches today are proof to the fact that Navtara Restaurants have consistently met their patrons’ needs consistently, and hold enormous goodwill.
Operational Hurdles While Running Navtara
Running a successful restaurant can be extremely challenging especially when the choices that diners have are beyond overwhelming. The three things that usually determine the success of a restaurant are the food, the service, and the location/atmosphere. There are so many common restaurant problems in these three things that often escape the inexperienced eye.
According to Tavora, hiring the right staff is a crucial task for any restaurateur. There is a crunch of staff in Goa.
“Goa is a tourist destination. The seasonality of the place has a direct effect on the staff. During the peak season, the shacks, the coastal area restaurants open and the staff move to that location. During the rains, these places shut down and the business also goes down,” says Tavora.
Tavora also adds that the staff mentality is influenced by the compensation provided to a great extent. Goa has a large floating population, who sometimes habituate themselves in engaging in short term commitments to the workplace. The increased attrition rate arising therein makes training and standardising a challenge.
“The stark difference in work styles between the metropolitan cities and Goa is sometimes a challenge to adjust to,” says Tavora.
Having fewer options of vendors, contractors, maintenance personnel, sparsely spread across the state makes getting timely outsourced work done on time a challenge.
How Waste is Efficiently Managed At Navtara
Goa is known for seasonality, initially during offseason Navtara Restaurants generated a lot of waste and they were directly dumped inside the bin. Keeping the fact about Goa’s seasonal business aside, restaurants generate some amount of waste every day. It might be less someday, it might be enormous someday.
Tavora tells that now they no more dump the waste generated into the bin. Navtara Restaurants have made a tie-up with Donald Fernandes, who owns a massive food bank in Goa. This foodbank has tie-ups with the orphanages, old age homes across Goa. They provide this leftover food to the homeless and the poor. The food is collected at the end of the day from all the outlets.
Apart from this, the leftover waste from the customer’s plates is also discarded efficiently. Navtara Restaurant has a tie-up with animal shelters, who collect the waste in big garbage bags once or twice a day from different branches.
“We take pride in feeding about 1000 people every day with the help of the foodbank. We are trying to improvise day by day on recycling the waste efficiently and moving towards zero waste,” says Tavora.
How Technology Helps Navtara To Stay Ahead Of The Competition
According to Tavora, any business must be in a position to change and always willing to keep updating every day. Tavora believes that he will always try to transform Navtara in a positive way by implementing any new update available in the market, be it technology or something else.
Tavora soon realized the importance of having cloud-based restaurant management software. Initially, the software he was using was not cloud-based and it caused a lot of trouble for him. The reports were not available in one space, they had to be extracted in an external device every day. Also, if the software got corrupt as it was not affiliated to Tally, he would lose all the data for that particular day.
It was a need of the hour to have efficient restaurant management software. Tavora decided to use POSist, which is one of the finest restaurant management software available in the market. Initially, he had resistance from the staff because they were finding it difficult to adapt to new technology and handle the restaurant together.
“POSist is a very user-friendly software. The data I can extract as a member of the senior management is astounding. The minute details of sales in the restaurant to the fraudulent activities taking place, I have access to everything. POSist is definitely a notch above in the rest of the market. The software is always improvising in terms of features, apps, products. I would also like to mention about your team, it is surely one of the best teams I have ever come across. They always have a solution to all my queries. I am pleased to be a customer of POSist,” says Tavora.
Tavora believes in staying ahead of the competition by using technology. Tavora always suggests his staff learn such technology and be ahead. If they weren’t using the technology, it would be tough for them to learn it later when everyone would be using the same. It is always imperative to keep in touch with the current trends and technology, otherwise one can never grow in this industry.
Handling The Operations Successfully at Navtara
Tavora tells that all their restaurants have a restaurant manager and a kitchen manager. The Restaurant Manager reports to the Operations Manager and the Operations Manager reports to Tavora twice a week with regular reports. Regular monitoring is done by Tavora to keep a check on the restaurant management. Also, Navtara is a very feedback oriented restaurant. They take care of each and every feedback individually. They have their email ids mentioned on the restaurant walls for the customer’s convenience.
Tavora believes in humility and being down to earth is what makes one successful. As the senior management employee in the company, he makes sure that all his staff members are happy and he takes care of everyone’s interests. He makes sure that everyone is treated equally and they work as a family. Tavora while concluding remarks that they are planning to expand across the country and make Navtara big!