Here is the third installment of Outfoscions about which I was talking. After the first two technology ones, I am presenting you, next very tasty one called Potluck. Yes, the venture is called potluck and its an exclusive north Indian restaurant in Bangalore, started by B K Birla. Here I present small interview I did with Birla who is CFO, Chief Food Officer at Potluck. Thanks for the time Birla.
[thej] How and when did you get this idea of opening a restaurant?
[Birla] I have been enthusiastic cook from an early age. In typical North Indian households, cooking is a necessary skill for girls and almost a taboo for boys. But in our family I have always seen my father and brother cooking good food and leo technoloarning cooking came naturally. After I came to Bangalore in 1995 I setup my kitchen within 2 weeks and cooking everyday became a natural habit for me. In fact the deal I had with my roommate was that I will do the cooking and he will wash utensils. Besides all this I always had 10-15 friends at my place on weekends and cooking for all of them was a very regular affair for me and I enjoyed cooking for all. Similar things continued during my Infosys onsite trips and it was always fun to cook for everyone.
Opening a restaurant was always on my agenda but while working at Amazon I came across a soft skill trainer who also runs a South Indian restaurant called Krishna Cafe. It was an inspiration for me and my friends at Amazon and that is the point where we started to think seriously about this venture.
On a lighter note if you have fed free food to too many people, you want to make up at some point J
[thej]How is it different from running a software project, I had to ask this?
[Birla] There are both similarities and differences in running a software venture and restaurant. The similarity is in terms of people and their aspirations. A BTech graduate coming from IITs and aspiring to learn new skills has very similar mindset to an uneducated waiter coming with pretty much nothing from places like Darjeeling and trying to become a captain (guy who takes orders in restaurants).
One of the main differences I see is in terms of the cycle times in creating a product and getting feedback from customers about it. In food business the cycle is compressed and the feedback is pretty much in your face. The other big difference I find is that in software or other white collar jobs we get used to a very polished language and environment. In food business or probably other brick and mortar businesses you come across all types of people.
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