Manvi Chaudhary is a Gurgaon-based entrepreneur, she is an unwavering, composed, and committed professional. Professionally a graduate in economics and political science from the prestigious Miranda House College of Delhi University. She later did her Masters from the University of Bath, the UK pursuing Entrepreneurship & Management. She always had an inclination towards food and the restaurant space, she equipped herself with tools to achieve her goal mainly through traveling and studying the market and restaurant types. Then came the day when she realized that it was time to take a big step and thus, came up with what today is famous as Pier 38, all set to soar.
In Conversation With Manvi Chaudhary Of Pier 38
Pier 38 is a casual lounge that serves Indian & Arabic cuisine & handcrafted cocktails. Pier means a shipping dock, it’s the point of start or end for a ships trade route. However, now a lot of famous Pier’s are areas of recreational activities. Pier 38 goes back to both the concepts, but it also trades back to India, the flavors of the Arabic world. In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Chaudhary talks all about her brand, the challenges she faced and a lot more.
Not An Easy Ride
According to Chaudhary, ever since Pier 38 came into existence, the entire team has been following a steep learning curve. The restaurant space is a very fickle business. Restaurants come and go. Tastes change. Good staff is hard to find and soon become complacent. Hence, irrespective of any and everything, the owner has to be an all-rounder. A cook, an accountant, a human resources expert, a purchasing manager, a cleaner, a food safety expert, a marketer – a jack of all trades.
The hours are long and the profits small. Restaurants run on passion, and no one can manage and understand the entire process better than a restaurant owner.
One of the most evident challenges always is and will be, is the attrition rate of staff. Identifying the best ones and retaining them is very important as they are the face of the brand. A large part of a restaurant’s success depends on the wait, hostess and bar staff.
Restaurant owners must take care to hire the best team they can afford. They must also train the team well and know how to handle disciplinary problems.
Many restaurants have a high staff turnover rate, which can lead to scheduling problems and a stressful work environment. ‘Training of staff is a big challenge. We work on it by arranging workshops, putting in the regular effort, motivating them, and setting specific Standard operating procedures,’ says Chaudhary.
Maintaining Staff Happiness
According to Chaudhary, when a job is done correctly, the customers will be happy and satisfied. A job done correctly means no complaints or call-backs, and could expect a compliment or recommendation from the customer or the supervisor. Staff happiness is paramount. Restaurant owners want to retain their customers, so it is essential to make sure that the person who is facilitating their experience is happy, only then will the happiness pass on.
On the other hand, it should be the social responsibility of the owners to take care of the team, as their leader. Staff happiness can never be ensured, and one can only work towards it. Most importantly one needs to treat them as equals. Staff should be given their due credits and respects. ‘Provide them a proper environment to work in, provide them with basic facilities like food, uniform, etc. when they are at work, salaries must be paid on time, they must be given enough holidays and most importantly should be appreciated for their hard work from time to time,’ says Chaudhary.
Healthy Food For Restaurant Menus
According to Chaudhary, consumers are spending more money eating out and less time cooking food at home. It is very important to maintain food transparency and being open and honest with customers in terms of food sourcing, ingredient lists, nutrition facts, allergen concerns, and ecological impact.
‘At Pier 38 all the produce is fresh and of good quality, so that automatically makes our food healthier. There is an efficient ‘open stone grill’ technique to cook a lot of the dishes, which is a very natural way to cook and keep the food healthy, and less oily. In the new menu that we are launching in May 2019, we have a separate menu for people with specific dietary choices. We will be catering to Vegan, Keto, gluten free, nut free and low-calorie diets’, says Chaudhary.
It is important to understand what the audience wants to eat, and how one can provide them with the best product at a reasonable price and at the same time making most profits from the same.
Chaudhary believes that there is no standard or a recipe, that makes a brand a success. It is simply a lot of hard work, understanding of your audience, location, marketing wonders, luck and a lot of other factors. ‘Sometimes, some things work, some don’t. Your job is to put in your best and learn from your experiences and spread your knowledge to your team,’ she adds.
Chaudhary has another venture to her credit, Dips By Jars, which she launched in October last year and she simultaneously has been working on its growth as well.