The restaurant and hospitality industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in India. With a proven significant contribution to the nations GDP, this comparatively newer career choice has recently picked up quite some pace, making waves into minds of young Indian entrepreneurs.

The National Restaurant Authority of India or NRAI, an organisation that promotes the cause of restaurateurs at large, opened its new chapter in Kolkata just a few days ago.

Karan Tanna is a young and dynamic self-made entrepreneur, venturing into a competitive space of hospitality and QSR. Kick starting his career as an automobile engineer working for MNCs like General Motors and McKinsey, he paved his way into the food and beverages industry. Excerpts from an interview…

Q) For how long have you been associated with the NRAI? Also, how does it feel to be appointe d a s th e h e a d of t h e N R AI Youth Committee?

the last few years. As part of the organisation, I always use to go to the association to seek help on industry issues and association always took proactive measures that benefit the industry as a whole. In one of the interactions with few veterans of the industry, we realised that NRAI also wants to focus and support young and new restaurant owners and mentor them in their early stages to help make their business sustainable. I resonated with the idea and I am fortunate to have been given this responsibility of leading this impact. I am very excited to be the head and have a positive pressure to create a substantial impact in the Indian food and beverage industry. It’s a great opportunity for us to give back to this fulfilling industry where entrepreneurs put passion over everything else.

Q) How exactly does the youth committee help out the young restaurateurs in the country?

We have a very clear agenda to help young restaurateurs by providing them mentorship on various aspects of business. We will be organising periodic events in various regions of the country where aspiring and new restaurateurs will be given lessons on how to run the restaurant business. We will also have a provision for online learning and a platform for them to raise queries. We also want to support the new age Food and Beverage businesses like home dining, food tech, cloud kitchens, pop-ups and influence their foray into mainstream business.

Q) As the head, what do you aim t o a ch i e ve a n d h ow ? W h at changes do you intend to bring to this industry?

We want to influence the culture of sharing learning’s and supporting young entrepreneurs entering the industry. We want to create a go-to platform for support or mentorship for any aspect of the business. We will be making national heads for various verticals like mentorship, learning and content, sustainability and others and sub-zonal committee s who will be helping us to penetrate in geographies. By creating an open culture of knowledge sharing, we aim to improve the business iteration rate of the industry. Also, we want to make sure that the new age food and beverage business make a smooth foray into mainstream business and government policies of these businesses are friendly from the day it’s made.

Q) NRAI recently added its chapter to Kolkata? What are your thoughts on this and how do you think it will help the restaurateurs in the city and influence the nation as a whole?

East India is a huge contributor towards Indian restaurants. Recently we have seen some big brands from East growing across pan India. Not only that, but East India has some great iconic regional standalone and chain restaurants. This launch will bring East India closer to the rest of India and there will be a lot of mutual synergies and benefits emerging out of it. This was a much awaited and required launch that will immensely help the industry. East India chapter will also give a strong voice to restaurateurs from this region to represent their issues and bring about required changes to run the business smoothly.

Q) What are your major learning’s as a restaurateur and what advice would you like to give to budding entrepreneurs eager to make a mark in the industry?

My major learning from the industry is that it is important to balance excitement with economics. As this business is heavily influenced by conviction and passion, many a time we make a mistake of ignoring the practical economics behind the business and end up in a fatal situation. My learning and advice are that we must manage our passion with thoughtful economics of the businesses and be very patient to start yielding benefits. Rome was not built in a day.