Platter Hospitality plans to venture into QSR chains
Love, loss and what we ate
In 2003, Kolkata based Shiladitya Chaudhary started his communications advisory firm named Sagittarius Communications from a one room garage space. He has not looked back ever since. A serial entrepreneur, Chaudhary’s endeavours have reached illustrious milestones over the years.
A foodie to the deepest extent he has been globetrotting to research about world cuisine. Be it the tribal villages of Africa, the Sushi kingdom of Japan or to a more refined French cuisine, he has been exploring all. He wears a motley cap. An avid wild life photographer, he travels extensively capturing rare moments. His photos are a big draw in the city’s wildlife photography exhibitions. He is also a composer popularly known as Munna-Raj as a music director duo. With his partner, Raj, he has come up with very many popular music albums where the likes of Amit Kumar, Usha Uthup, Kumar Sanu and Abhijit amongst others have sung for them.
Chaudhary started his career as a Communications Consultant. What prodded him to take up entrepreneurship? How was the journey? Read on as he shares his experience with Baishali Mukherjee!
I always had the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. The zeal was further stroked by my association with Anjan Chatterjee of Specialty Restaurants, with whom I worked for a substantial period of time. Working with him has given me my passion for food and networking.
I forayed into F&B industry with the initiation of Platter Hospitality, started in the year 2013 by me and my brother, Debaditya Chaudhury. The zeal was to gift the city of joy with two of the finest themed restaurant brands, Oudh 1590 and Chapter 2.
Oudh 1590 near Deshapriya Park was the first restaurant from the group, which provided a unique and one-of-its-kind period dining experience. Buoyed with its success in a short span of time, we opened the second outlet of Oudh 1590 in Salt Lake in June, 2016 and the flagship outlet next to Vivekananda Park in July, 2017. Oudh 1590 also caters to the premium Awadhi restaurants of Calcutta Club (Tandoor Corner), for over a year, and The Tollygunge Club (Tipu Sultan). Our passion for food continued to drive us to gift Kolkatans its first retro dining restaurant, Chapter 2, at Mani Square Mall in partnership with Mani Group in March, 2016.
I wanted to break free from the society imposed inertia
I was raised in a middle class Bengali family and schooled in an institution, famous for churning out engineers, bureaucrats and doctors. Hence, my entire environment cried hoarse against a business venture. There was inertia imposed on me by my environment but my inner-self revolted against that. I wanted to break out from the shackles. That was the basic challenge.
Once I managed to break out from that shackle and moved into the garage, my entrepreneurial self took over. Rest of it was an entrepreneur’s aspiration and realization of a long nurtured dream. Challenges are the inevitable part of an enterprise. There is no unusual story in my case as well.
An indomitable spirit
My strategies to handle challenges were my passion for work, dedication and detailing of the work that I do. There was altogether a different level of motivation when I started as an entrepreneur. Even today my day starts at 7 am in the morning and continues until 12 in the midnight. And this is a daily practice. However, I never feel tired. Instead I waited for the morning to come and get ready for another set of adventure.
I was also prepared to take up challenges, as there cannot be success without facing difficulties. My keenness to explore newer challenges everyday kept me active and focused to the goals. My passion and hard work helped me a lot to achieve newer and tougher goals. However, I must say that my family is my biggest support.
It was a big step to diversify from communications business and venture into Food & Beverages. We are proud to say that Bengali diaspora of the world connects with Oudh 1590 (A themed restaurant serving Awadhi food, part of my F&B enterprise Platter Hospitality) and the Biryani that we serve. Recently we opened the fifth outlet of Oudh 1590 in Southern Avenue, the biggest outlet in the city. Also very soon we will be venturing into QSR chain of business.
Nowadays, a restaurant is not just about the food but equally important are the architecture, ambience, music, service and the overall comfort level it provides to its patrons. Theme restaurants are now in vogue and people are now more experimental about it than before. From getting a fashion designer on board to designing the stewards’ costume to a celebrity architect to designing the restaurant, we made themed restaurants, a talk of the town. The increase in the covers of each of the Oudh 1590 outlets from 74 in Deshapriya Park to 92 in Salt Lake to 120 in Vivekananda Park is a testimony of the fact of the increasing popularity and brand loyalty that our Period Dining Experience enjoys.
The PR Perspective wing, Sagittarius Communications, is also a success story as we catered to more than 500 clients till date.
We are all set to move from traditional PR to digital PR. With an expansion plan in place, Oudh 1590 will next open its door in North Kolkata in this fiscal. Starting from 2018, the brand will make its presence felt in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore in the coming years.
I always feel that one should stick to his dreams and be meticulous and painstaking in whatever he does. It is also important to identify the negative sides of your character and try to amend and improve. However, eye for detail is the key for entrepreneurial pursuits.
Do you think a new food venture could actually be called a startup? Do share your views.