In an exclusive interview to Restaurant India, Chef Om Nayak talks about starting his own restaurant.
Chef Om was always inclined towards doing something of his own and it was during his days at Manipal hotel school that he started dreaming of owning a restaurant. Coming from a foodie family, food was something that has always remained close to his heart. “My philosophy is exactly like Chinese anything that walks, scrawls or swim over the sky can be eaten,” shares Om who started The Pasta Bowl Company in 2013 out of the love and passion to serve an experience...here are the excerpts from the interview:
How did food happen?
When I was doing hotel management from Manipal I knew I would become a chef but wasn’t sure to open a restaurant. I understand the whole gamut of how it works. It helped me a lot, created a mindset and over the period of 20 years I have learnt the art of sailing well. I am glad that there is no restriction from the family side as well. Growth was slow; it wasn’t a cakewalk. Food is a movie going on and we are all actors. You make great food if you are happy and it is spoiled when you are not in the mood.
What is the story behind The Pasta Bowl Company?
We primarily are hospitality consultant. We have been very choosy on what we consult and just because of this choosy behaviour my wife came up with the thought that why not we have a place of our own so that once we don’t have anything we are not just sitting at home figuring what to do next. Hence, it all started from there. It was during a trip to Shimla one fine day from Gurgaon in 2012 that it clicked me. I found a nice counter of Japanese cuisine at a shopping mall before going to Shimla and then I realised that Pasta is also a good option to set up a similar kind of concept. And, as Italian food has a good opportunity in India. It was on my way to Shimla that I woke up midway and told my wife let’s do Pasta Bowl Company. She liked the thought and then we did good R&D work for almost 9-10 months. The concept started building; we started looking for a place. I wanted to start a QSR kind of a concept at the entrance of a mall but since we were new into the business no one was ready to give us the space. While we were looking at starting a 20-30 seater restaurant, we came across Galleria market I came to this mall and liked the place and 48 hours down the line we have booked the place. We started in 3 months time with a small menu as we grew the thought evolved and we started branding the place, getting the concept done.
How is your restaurant different from others?
We have a return rate of 90% customers who enjoys our food on a regular basis. The Pasta Bowl Company has asked to cook food from love. The staffs are asked not to cook food if they don’t feel like as it will spoil guest experience. These are few of the traits we work upon. We treat our employee as family and make sure everybody is happy. A chef needs to have passion. The passion comes into play which makes a difference.
How about getting the right produce?
We do authentic stuff, we don’t use Indian tomatoes. We source ingredients through our channel partners and there are couple of things that has been imported for us only.
What’s that one formula that you have stick to in all these years?
You need to make your customer happy as it is a two way game. We have 90% of repetitive customers at our restaurant. We have looked into their needs and given them so much of romance over the time that people got inspired by the Italian culture and food. We really appreciate the patrons we have and it’s like a family with them. It’s all about lots of love- it could be the food, the service, addressing the guest need. I think it is just the extra bit of care that we give our guest. Experience is not just coming to a great place and eating in a great cutlery. Experience is the amalgamation of the process, the way you have been greeted at the restaurant to the way you been served food.
Tell us about your expansion plan.
We are planning to open 9 restaurants- 2 bigger ones and then 7 will be QSRs. We are targeting a Delhi- NCR, Mumbai and Pune in the first go.