"Entrepreneurs Need to Constantly Innovate and Unlearn"

In a conversation with Restaurant India, Pawan Shahri, Director at Chrome India talked about his journey so far in the hospitality sector, the trends, opportunities and challenges that he observes and what an entrepreneur must keep in mind before launching a business in this sector.


Edited excerpts:


Please if you could describe us your journey so far in the hospitality industry? 


My journey so far has been super exciting. From starting off as a nightclub promoter when I was 16 to running multiple outlets as managing partner today, it has been a big rollercoaster ride. But again, this is one business where learning doesn’t stop. One needs to keep innovating, unlearning and learning fresh, understanding that change is a constant and keep going with it. While it might look very rosy from outside, it is one of the most time consuming and effort-oriented businesses. I’ve been lucky to have my best friends as my partners who have made my journey even more fun and comforting. 


With a range of diverse businesses in your portfolio, what are the major trends you are seeing today in this sector? 


The major trends across 2019, which are going to become a lifestyle in 2020 is ‘Conscious and Healthy Eating’. People are much more aware & well-travelled now than they were ever before. The masses are moving towards changing their diet to suit not only their own health and lifestyle but even their families. “While the purchasing power has definitely grown and people are eating out more often now, they are choosing their options right.”

 A brand must learn, evolve and educate to survive. The product today is more important than anything else. Well thought of and deeply researched products will pave the way to success and brands that do not read the minds of today’s consumers will have a tough time scaling up. 


What more opportunities you see in this sector? 


In 2020, the delivery and cloud kitchen business is going to open up huge opportunities for SMEs wanting to scale up. Also, formation of multiple restaurant pockets or hubs across the city will help a lot of new local brands come up and cater to an audience, which now wants to travel lesser and spend more time in their own work or residential areas. In terms of an overall genre of cuisines, outlets catering to vegan audiences will see a great rise and a rising opportunity for existing brands to up their game in this vertical. 


What are the challenges you observe in your businesses? 


One of the biggest challenges of the business is the ever changing laws, which makes running a business really tough in the country. Even after being one of the biggest employers and tax generating industries in India, Hospitality is still considered to be at a nascent stage right now. The laws need to be more business friendly and need to make operations easier. Also, proportionate rental revenue needs to be relooked at and an industry standard needs to be set since that’s one of the biggest challenges in running a business today. 


What advice you would like to give to the young entrepreneurs launching their business in this sector? 


Before directly investing into the industry with loaned or parental resources, work in the industry for at least a year preferably at a format that is similar to what one would like to start. Understand the workings and the effort required in this business like one would do in any business. Also, taking up a franchise as the first opportunity would be a good start to understand the entire operations and following which one can start their own brand. 



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