An interview with Aashita Relan, Owner, Royal China.
Aashita Relan goes candid in saying females have remarkably made progress in culinary business. In an interaction, she talks about the important steps to get ones business up and running and about issues of high rental and service tax levied on AC restaurants.
The culinary world is notoriously male dominated. How have you found your way as a female restaurateur?
There are many females who have made their mark in the food and beverage segment. I don’t agree that culinary world is male dominated. If we talk about Ritu Dalmia, we can see that she owns one of the biggest food brands in India.
What strategies did you follow to make your business start and run?
The most important task was to pick the ‘correct staff’ and among staffs the most taxing was to choose the correct chef because chefs are the king of a restaurant. Even the selection of good staff holds importance as they are the ones who are responsible to execute plans and try new things at your restaurant.
Choosing the correct menu is also very important because you should have a good mixture of dishes.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while opening the restaurant?
I was very young at the time I launched the restaurant. The biggest challenge that I faced was to get people on work because I was new to the industry. I was interviewing people who were 50-60 years old and were well established, so I was a bit apprehensive about getting them on the restaurant.
What is your secret to keep customer coming in? What have been your most successful promotions and from where did they come from?
A customer keeps coming to a restaurant because of the quality of food and service. The one thing that I am very particular about is the ingredients we use. It should be the freshest and of high quality, and this is the reason that whenever customers come back to our restaurant they say that the quality of food has always been maintained. On all seven days, the quality of the food we serve is the same and it makes an important role in getting people coming back to restaurant.
My most successful promotion till date was the ‘unlimited dim sum lunch’ festival where a customer can come on any seven day during lunch time and pick from 80 different types of dim sum at any quantity. The idea clicked my mind when I visited a restaurant in London offering the same promotion.
What is the best way for fresh graduates to find a job in the restaurant management?
To join the restaurant line, hard work, dedication, physical fitness and the passion for food along with fluency in English helps.
What do you think when you hear someone saying: “Owning a restaurant looks like fun”?
I feel the person who thinks that running a restaurant is like fun is the last person who is unsuccessful because it is the hardest industry to be in. You are the one who are going to handle the most difficult customer, and it is a segment where you have to work 24x7.
How do you feel about the high rental and high service tax levied on AC restaurants?
I think the restaurant in Delhi has very high rental and unacceptable service tax reason being it is very difficult to pay the taxes levied on restaurants. I run my business from a rented place but when I would open my second restaurant I would ensure that it is not a rented one because it is much more practical to run a restaurant at your own place rather than at a high rental place. I think the high taxation levied on restaurant is really unfair and the government should really look into it and revise the law. And I feel by doing something like this the government is slowing down the hospitality industry.
What tips would you like to give to run a successful restaurant?
Dedication, be careful 24x7, look after everything yourself. I would say is never ever compromise on quality, always use the freshest and most authentic ingredients of the best brands because it is only the food for which people are coming to a restaurant. The customer is always right so always listen to your customer.
What new can we see in Royal China in near future?
I’m setting up a new dim sum menu which will have 12 different varieties of what we have till date.