Was owning your own restaurant always your dream or have your goals shifted over time?
I’ve worked in London restaurants since in 2002 and whilst the dream of owning my own seemed out of reach, it stayed in my subconscious. It only took until 2011 to make the dream reality as I was able to use all the experience that I was gaining to open in Barnsbury. Now, my goal is to open many “Roots” and I believe in the power of thoughts so we can make it happen.
What has been the biggest shock for you, going from employee to business owner and manager?
Not having a support system like a Head Office to fall back on for any help with logistics, finance etc has been an adjustment. I have always been focused on top quality service and food but as an owner, focus on cost is equally important. Also, if you have a bad day or week even, you have to see through that and keep going.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give other entrepreneurs? Is there a mistake you would try to avoid?
I have a few pieces of advice. Whatever you do, whatever you are doing has to be the best. You have to believe in your ideas but also be practical at the same time. Always look things from the eyes of the customers and mould and evolve your product based on that. Slowly by slowly things can be done but not all of a sudden, so you need patience alongside the stamina for all the hours you put. If you keep working hard, doors open for you. Always welcome competitors and learn from them. Never be arrogant.
A mistake is to pursue an idea or concept which customers do not want. Do what works and discard the rest, even if you feel passionate about it. Perhaps the time has not come for your concept…
From which regions of India does the food at Roots hail and what do you love about those places?
Our food comes from all over India, but most of the influence is from North India. I love the great Himalayas, a place very much like England, cool and serene with a beautiful flora, fauna and wildlife, rivers etc. It is an awe-inspiring place.
If Indian food were off the menu, what would you choose to eat?
I love Italian and Japanese food, but funnily enough my favourite is a very good quality Fish and Chips