Toeing towards success
HYDERABAD: While we are busy gawking at the façade of this 14,000 sq feet sprawling palatial edifice in the up-market area of Jubilee Hills, the concierge of the restaurant effusively welcome us in. As we enter, the grandeur looks straight out of a Sanjay Bhansali set will inescapably make us stop in our tracks. The name on the wall reads as Farzi café, a place often tagged by celebrities in their happening soiree pictures on social media.
While making space for more pictures, we take the teakwood chair to seat and sip on some fizzy strawberry lemonade, we hear a voice earnestly discussing the special menu as the restaurant is going to turn one in a few months. It was Aman Chainani, the futuristic hotelier running errands, planning the forthcoming events and briefing his workforce. With an infectious smile, he takes a breather to chat with us.
This Hyderabad Public School bred maverick with a propensity towards sports like cricket and swimming attended Jai Hind College in Mumbai to major in share market stream. Just when he was completing the course, the heart swung towards the turf of hospitality. Following his heart, Aman joined Zomato to comprehend the subtle nuances and intricacies of the food fraternity before he could venture into it. Once he gained confidence to run the show, he set his foot into this big league and the rest seems to be history. “I did my thorough research on Hyderabad and the hospitality sector while at Zomato.
Although my family is into business, we didn’t have much acquaintance with the commercial dynamics of hospitality industry. I wanted to bring a restaurant chain from outside of Hyderabad. After a detailed research, I zeroed in on bringing in Farzi Café. It is a growing brand and they have opened 20 outlets after we signed up with them,” the tycoon shares.
Growing up in a business household, Aman always aimed at inching towards being an entrepreneur. “My dad is into textile business and my mom belongs to Patni family in Hyderabad. Although they were surprised when I disclosed to them about my idea of taking up Farzi Café, they gave me a thumbs up and supported my choice. Today, they can’t be more happy about the success,” he smiles, while adding that he fell in love with the service sector particularly hospitality because he spent his childhood observing his parents treat the guests to great food, kindness and love. “It has always been on the back of the head to open a restaurant and see people make merry with delectably piquant food, salubrious ambience, good music and leave with a smile,” he recalls.
Was it easy for Aman to reach where he is today? Certainly not. Aman too had lion’s share of struggle during the construction of the café. “We had to stall the construction work for nearly 45 days, thanks to the neighbour. We were supposed to open in September, but we had to defer the date. It has been smooth post that hurdle,” the 24 year-old says optimistically.
Farzi Café is not just known for its culinary curiosity stimulating fusion food but also for its exquisite ambience. The aesthetics were fervently designed by Aman, Zoravar Kalra and other partners. “We wanted to do green wall which is nowhere to be found in Hyderabad. We have about 5,000 plants inside Farzi. We have given it a classy look. We have appended a projection mapping above the bar, adding to the wow factor,” he shares pointing at the colourful blooms.
Says the Hyderabadi entrepreneur, “Zoravar Kalra is the mastermind behind the food concepts of Farzi. 70% of the menu is commonly available in all the Farzi outlets across the world. The other 30 per cent is designed by me, keeping in local palate in mind which includes Haleem risotto, maple cheese cake, etc. We started the Nizami food festival in Hyderabad which went on to become an instant hit. It was later implemented in other Farzi cafés too.”
While devouring tandoori margarita kulcha and desi curd poppers, our discussion maneuvered to Aman’s daily activities. “I look at the entire marketing part of Farzi like what needs to be done next and how. The daily operations and functionalities are taken care by me. I spare 15 minutes of my day in speaking to my staff and resolving if there is any dispute. I have been an employee before, I know what it feels to have a boss, who doesn’t listen to the employee. I ensure I hear them out. (Employees don’t quit here. Usually in the hospitality sector, people keep leaving in three months. It is not the case here.) I taste the food every day and chalk out plans for new event themes,” he shares.
Aman believes that Hyderabad is one of the fastest growing markets in India. “Hyderabad is the next Bengaluru. The boom is because of IT and entry of global brands like Ikea and Apple. The cost of living is low compared to other cities,” he opines.
Aman is diligently planning to catapult his own brand. “It is too early to discuss but I am working on coming up with my own brand in Bangalore and then branch it out in Mumbai and Hyderabad. “My vision is to see customers of all age groups, from every walk of life wear a smile while relishing my food. They should have good memories going back,” he divulges.
His advice to the future entrepreneurs: “There will be a lot of people giving you advises but just go ahead with what your heart and mind says,” he concludes, treating us to gluten-free chocolate cake.