Success Stories Of Food Entrepreneurs From Chandigarh Who Made it Big!
Nowadays, having one's own venture is not a hard task. With so many facilities available, one can start their own venture without much hassle. Due to this, there is a growing number of Food entrepreneurs all over the world. In Chandigarh as well, the number of Food entrepreneurs has grown manifold. However, back in the days, when things were not easily available, starting a food entrepreneurial venture was surely a herculean task. At that time, these Food Entrepreneurs From Chandigarh decided to brave all odds and do something that their heart says. Irrespective of the challenges, they established themselves in the F&B Industry and are now the Established Food Entrepreneurs In Chandigarh about whom we all must know about.
Keeping this in mind, Shoutlo decided to introduce to all of you, the Entrepreneurs From Chandigarh who made it big in the F&B Industry.
Disclaimer: Because the information contained in this article is general and has been prepared on basis of research, interviews with the respective entrepreneurs, and conversations from different sources, this list is indicative and non-exhaustive, and not based on any particular order.
Ginny Chawla- Hotel Altius
An Oracle Consultant turned Entrepreneur, Ginny Chawla is a man of many talents and tact. Having done his education from St. John’s School, Chandigarh, he left for Australia in 1998 to pursue his higher education and settled there as a Software Engineer. In 2008, he decided to fly back to his own city to spend time with his parents and that’s when he found an opportunity. He owned a piece of land in the Industrial Area, Phase 2 that could only be converted into a commercial property. Being a foodie at heart, he and his family decided to construct a hotel. Meanwhile, he started another venture in Chandigarh of a retail store chain by the name of “Brands Bargain.” Finally, on 25th May 2012, Hotel Altius became operational. It took the entire city by a storm. The grandeur, the rooftop bar with a view and a gorgeously designed Fine dining restaurant that served mouth-watering cuisines to epicureans left everyone in the city spellbound. His vision of starting up a hotel with a class was now a reality. His life’s motto is to give his 100% in everything he does. He also took the hotel industry by storm by launching a mobile app for Hotel Altius that was quite a revolution. It created a buzz that was covered by over 38 newspapers from the region. “I believe Research & Development is extremely important before I get into something. Everything that is mine, is my baby and I always take care of it”, says Chawla. In just 6 years, Hotel Altius has become an integral part of the Hotel Industry in Chandigarh. The hippest and sky High Bar exchange in Chandigarh "Fluid Bar Exchange" and "Kings Cross" earlier known as 10 Downing Street, are the most loved pubs in Chandigarh that is flocked every night by party lovers. A man who is deeply grounded yet ambitious, Ginny Chawla as a Entrepreneur in Chandigarh is an inspiration for all the young lads from the region who want to make it big in life!
Captain Mohanbir Singh- Hot Millions
If you are a true Chandigarhian, then you surely must have dined at HM or Hot Millions- The First Fast Food Restaurant in Chandigarh. Started in the year 1979 by Late Col. A.B Singh, under the culinary guidance of his wife, Hot Millions brought to the people of Chandigarh the Fast Food culture that was only limited to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore at that time. In the year 1979, after retiring from the army, Col. A B Singh with his wife, planned to take the restaurant industry by a storm and opened an all American fast food restaurant in Sector 17, Chandigarh by the name of Hot Millions. At that time getting people on board to try out a new cuisine was a challenge. But slowly and steadily, people accepted Hot Millions wholeheartedly and completely fell in love with their food. Col. A.B’s sons, Captain Mohan Bir Singh, Mr. Aman Bir Singh and Mr. Raj Bir Singh also joined the business and helped it reach the peak of success. Captain Mohanbir Singh left the army to assist his father in managing the growing business, whereas the youngest son, Mr. Raj Bir Singh owns 2 restaurants in the US. The entire family together made Hot Millions the brand it is today. Speaking to Team Shoutlo Captain Mohan Bir Singh explained, “We always have been extremely conscious about our food. Our mother was always adamant about the fact that good quality food is what will make our business work. She always wanted to feed the people with the kind of food she used to serve us. That is what became one of the major reasons of our success. My mother’s Culinary skills and my father’s management, along with the hard work of my brother, myself and all our employees, helped us climb the ladder of success.” The three pillars of the success of Hot Millions as a brand are consistency, understanding customer feedback and treating the employees as a family. As per him, “life is not all about money. It is about treating everyone with equality and also keeping the taste & recipe of the food intact.” Together as a family, Hot Millions is one of the greatest success stories Chandigarh food scenes has seen and is quite inspiring for budding entrepreneurs. We, at Shoutlo, Thank Captain Mohan Bir Singh & his family for serving us with mouth-watering dishes for the last 39 years and are proud to make him a part of our list of Established Food Entrepreneurs in Chandigarh!
Amritanshu Gupta-Hops n Grains
The man who brought the concept of Microbrewery to the region is someone who most of us from Chandigarh don’t even know about. Yes! Amritanshu Gupta is the mind behind our favorite and Region’s First Microbrewery, Hops & Grains. From the beginning, Amritanshu was in the F&B industry for 9 years as the owner of a famous Sweet Shop in Panchkula by the name of Bengali Sweets. Once he got married to Priyanka Gupta, they both started going out a lot and that is when they discovered the concept of Microbrewery in Gurgaon. They really liked it and wanted to bring the same to Chandigarh as well. Post that, in 2010, they established Hops n Grains- Region’s First Microbrewery. Being the first one in its league, it was an immediate success. People loved the idea of spending their evenings after work at a lounge-like ambiance with fresh beer at their disposal. Post the success of Hops n Grains, he decided to start one microbrewery for Chandigarh as well. That is how The Great Beer came into existence. The outlet received good response despite the liquor ban and they still kept a staff during that period. Now, Amritanshu heads both the entire establishments and his wife takes care of Social Media Marketing along with his 2 daughters. Speaking to Team Shoutlo, he said, “Ours is a family run operation and for us, our employees are the biggest asset. We have some staff members since the inception of the outlet and they still continue to be here. We value our employees as well as our customers.” He always wanted to set up a place where people would love to hangout with their buddies and just enjoy every bit of the experience of being there. Thus, Hops n Grains has always focused on quality along with great service which compels people to come back. Now, with growing microbreweries in Chandigarh, he still feels that Hops n Grains has its own market and is one of the best. They keep on working on their food menu and also add new flavors of beer every month along with the seasonal lager on Tap. With such an efficient staff and constant emphasis on quality of food, we are sure Amritanshu and his team will go places despite other ventures opening up in the city. Due to the novelty of his idea and concept, Amritanshu makes it to our list of Chandigarh Food Entrepreneurs!
With a mission to develop and deliver finesse on a platter, One man set his foot into the dynamic F&B industry about 2 decades ago. Manish Goyal, the restauranteur, as we know him, has been the pioneer who brought big brands to Chandigarh that are synonymous with delicious food. Having a major partnership in ventures like Karim’s Delhi 6, Social, and being the owner of some of the best restaurants like Swagath, he is a typical foodie at heart who enjoys good quality flavorsome food that can give his taste buds something to remember. He brought restaurant quality South-Indian cuisine to Chandigarh in the form of ‘Shree Rathnam’ and with Swagath he restored people’s faith in good quality fine dining restaurants. With S-lounge, he wanted to add zing to the city’s nightlife that was still quite dull at that time and with Mainland China he wanted the people to taste the authentic oriental cuisine in its pristine form. With such a kaleidoscopic portfolio of investments in food ventures, he made all gourmands in the city drool endlessly. Speaking to the Shoutlo Team Manish revealed, “the idea to make any fine-dining restaurant work is to emphasize on the presentation of the food. If the food that you see does not impress you, you can’t call yourself a good fine dining restaurant. When it comes to clubs, we have maintained a strict policy for screening people and we maintain the quality of the crowd to avoid any mishaps. That is how we have been able to successfully sustain in Chandigarh. For me, quality cannot be compromised anywhere. That is the key to success.” Even though he has always worked hard to grow his ventures, it was never without any challenges. He explained, “the shackles of ambiguous regulations of the city administration and law, in general, make it difficult for business to work in the long run. Any changes in the food and beverage industry have a negative impact on business and push us behind.” But despite all this, he has kept his ventures going on and on. He has always brought something unique to the city and with his latest ventures like ‘Social’ and ‘Karims Delhi 6’, he brings something absolutely novel to the city. His vision of revamping the dining and partying scenes of the city is what makes him one of the most dynamic food entrepreneurs from Chandigarh that everyone else needs to watch out for!
Mr. Manmohan Singh Kohli -The Aroma
As old as the city beautiful, Hotel Aroma was established in the year 1953 in Chandigarh Sector 22. Back then, it was one of the first commercial buildings to be established in Chandigarh. The man behind Chandigarh’s First Successful Hotel was Mr. Manmohan Singh Kohli, who, along with his family, took upon himself to achieve the herculean task. Today, Aroma Chandigarh stands for innovation and caring hospitality and is quite popular among the city’s youth. As the city of Chandigarh grew, Hotel Aroma witnessed its growth and gave Chandigarh a lot of its firsts like the first Airlines Office, the first taxi service, the first Courier Company, the first Florist and the like. Undeterred by the challenges of establishing a commercial hotel in a place surrounded only by Farmlands, The Kohli’s took upon themselves and succeeded with flying colours. Mr. Kohli believed that it was tourism that would majorly contribute to the growth of the city and thus, there was a need for a place where people can come and stay with their families and friends without any worries. Thus, Aroma was launched. Hotel Aroma has hosted renowned personalities of the likes of former Prime Minister of India Late Sh. Jawaharlal Nehru, Marshal Tito among many other national and international dignitaries. He didn't stop at that. He not only grew his own venture but also earned various awards for his hard work and has also served various senior positions with the Punjab government like a senior member in the Punjab Governor’s Advisory Council, Member of Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) Executive Committee (2001-2003) and many more. A keen art lover, he has great respect for the performing arts and is keen on growing his business venture further as well. People would always be indebted to this Dynamic Food Entrepreneur from Chandigarh for giving them their first Eating house that is still the most loved late night hangout for the youth!
Nikhil Mittal-Nik Bakers
A baker from Australia. Does this remind you of something? If you are from Chandigarh, we are sure it does ring a bell. Nik Bakers, one of the most trustworthy bakeries from Chandigarh, was founded by a baker from Australia, Nikhil Mittal. Having completed his food technology degree from Adelaide, Australia, he did a course in baking and chocolate making, post which he worked at several Australian restaurants. Later, he came to India on a holiday and that's when his friends encouraged him to use his culinary know-how in India. At that time, he came back to Chandigarh and decided to write his own success story in the form of a bakery that serves everything fresh. He was laughed upon at that time and was snubbed by people who were convinced that the bakery won’t run due to high prices. But undeterred, he decided to pursue his dream. Within a week’s time of opening in sector 9 Chandigarh in 2006, Nik Bakers became a success. Everyone in the city loved their bread and started lining up to buy fresh products right in the morning. It was an overnight success for Nikhil and those who were earlier laughing at him, started envying him. It was such a rage among Chandigarh folks, that he decided to open a bigger outlet in sector 35 which put him in the High-flier category. He also planned on having his own institute where he would provide both technology and ingredients to work with, for students who want to learn baking. Based on his success in Chandigarh, he decided to expand in Ludhiana and Delhi. He plans on expanding even more. The key to his success has been his passion and love for cooking that made him a raging success at the moment. His hard work, dedication, and commitment together helped him sow the seeds of his success and that is what makes us include him in the list of Chandigarh Food Entrepreneurs!
Priya and Abhay Jagat- Whispering Willows, Orchid Lounge, Backpackers Cafe, Cafe Nomad, Willow Cafe
The Jagats, Both Priya and Abhay, weren’t really in the F&B Industry and had no connection whatsoever with the restaurant business. Priya was a banker and Abhay was an MBA grad working in Jaipur and Hyderabad. When they came back to Chandigarh, they realised the tremendous amount of potential that the city had in terms of eating out and that it can rise over time. They did their market research and garnered support from each other to do something completely different from their professions. In 2001, they opened doors to their first venture, Whispering Willows, a three-acre country escapade in Zirakpur that would give the Chandigarh people vibes of a huge countryside. They had a unique idea in their mind to create a unique place that would be designed keeping in mind the countryside which gives off a lazy feel and is endowed with expansive lawns, different sitting rooms, a verandah, a bar, restaurants that are overlooking a pool. The idea was to create a home away from home for the people of Chandigarh. The moment it opened, it was love at first sight for Chandigarh peeps. They loved every bit of it and till now, it is this place that plays host for the annual event, Vanity Fair, where designers from all across the nation come and display their work. After the success of their first venture, they both together worked towards opening another place in Chandigarh. This time the focus was on designing and opening a place that would be a specialty oriental restaurant and lounge bar and that’s how Orchid Lounge, Sector 34 Chandigarh came into being. With that, another feather to their cap was added and they decided to stick to the idea of opening unusual eating joints all throughout the city. In 2007, they decided to open Chandigarh’s very own travel cafe and thus, Sector 9 Chandigarh was graced with Backpackers Cafe. Themed around travel, this amazing cafe served some really filling bites and all day breakfast which became an instant hit among the city folks. Next came in a Mediterranean themed cafe in sector 7 Chandigarh, Cafe Nomad that served all of the Epicureans from Chandigarh delicious Mediterranean dishes. For those who couldn't travel all the way to Whispering Willows for a getaway experience, Priya and Abhay Jagat planned a quaint little cafe in sector 10 Chandigarh itself and thus, The Willow Cafe was launched. With another hit on the cards for the dynamic duo, both of them believe that doing something unusual in a city like Chandigarh will be a success. With such a great success story, their success mantra is only Patience and Perseverance and that is what makes us include them in our list of Established Food Entrepreneurs in Chandigarh. What a great story!
Rohit Kumar- Ovenfresh
A name that is on every Chandigarhians mouth when it comes to premade bakery items is Ovenfresh Chandigarh. As we go back in history, the man who established this brand in the city, Rohit Kumar, is the one who comes to mind. Back in 1995, Rohit Kumar, a B.Com Grad from SD College, Chandigarh, knew that investing in a brand like Ovenfresh can be quite risky. If it doesn’t work, it will be a huge loss, however, if it is a success then there would be no looking back. That is exactly what happened. People of Chandigarh welcomed Ovenfresh in sector 35 with open arms and the response to the bakery items was fantastic. Belonging to the family of doctors, as a kid, Rohit used to spend a lot of time at his paternal uncle’s hotel where he learned the tricks of the trade of the F&B industry. Once he grew up, he knew that he wanted to set up his own business and, that too, in the Food & Beverage industry. That's how Ovenfresh Sector 35 came into being. He was always clear about one thing which he shared with team Shoutlo, “Quality is of prime importance. If I serve good quality food to people of Chandigarh, they will love every bit of it.” But soon he realized that the food equipment was not available to match the quality standards. That being a major challenge, he decided to import all of it from Italy, US, and Sweden without worrying about expenses. Such was his emphasis on serving fresh and good quality food. Hence, he decided to revise their menu and added coffees as well. The response was remarkable and it was their highest-grossing outlet. Once Ovenfresh 35 became the high-flier of Chandigarh, he planned on combining casual dining with their bakery concept and That is how sector 26 Ovenfresh came up. People loved the concept of a casual dining cafe cum bakery. Thus, Rohit was able to combine his love for food with great service and quality through his venture and Chandigarh got its most-loved outlet in Sector 26 as well. Over time Ovenfresh has become synonymous with good food and a great time. He reads people and their expressions when they are at his outlet and that is how he is able to know about their experience. He wants that people should have a great time and believes that experience is what holds a customer and keeps them coming back. He plans on expanding the already existing outlets to centralize the control and has involved his wife in the business as well. He believes that Hard work is the key to success and that the brand is what should shine brightly. Not being afraid of the current competition, Rohit views it as an opportunity to improve and evolve his own business. He believes “The More, the Merrier” and is constantly working to take Ovenfresh to the Peak of Success. We, at Shoutlo, Salute his courage and vision and are happy to feature him in Food Startups in Chandigarh that made it big!
Sanam Kapoor- La Pino'z Pizza
Pizza is a dish that we all love and when it is combined with the authentic flavors right from Italy, it is a dish to watch out for. Bringing Italy to India, Mr. Sanam Kapoor established La Pino’z Pizza (formerly known as Pinocchio Pizza) and made it extremely popular among every household. Starting the first outlet in the year 2011, he introduced the concept of extra large pizzas to the city and made them extremely popular among the pizza lovers in the city. His vision was to serve the people with food that is made with love. The idea he had was to take the concept, product line, recipes, decors from Europe and make it all available to the foodies in the city in his own unique manner. That is what he had in mind when he opened the sole outlet in the year 2011. The outlet received such a warm response from the people and since then there has been no turning back for him. He aligned his vision and mission with that of his business and began expanding slowly and steadily. According to him, “We, at La Pino'z Pizza, look to provide the best possible value to our customers who desire great tasting pizza and to provide customers with the satisfaction of receiving a great value. I personally believe that if a product is of good quality and is consistent with its taste, it will be a success sooner or later.” With over 60+ Franchisee and 3 company-owned outlets, La Pino'z Pizza has expanded in multiple cities like Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Delhi, Panchkula, Ahmedabad, Mumbai all thanks to the efforts of Mr. Sanam Kapoor. They plan on expanding even more as time progresses. Recently, La Pino'z Team was awarded for the Best Pizzeria, Casual Dine Category by Times Food which was received by Mr. Sanam Kapoor. With such a success story, Mr. Sanam Kapoor makes it to our list of Established Food Entrepreneurs From Chandigarh!
Vipul Dua & Satyan Dua-Peddlers
New-age entrepreneurs, Vipul & Satyan Dua are the people behind Chandigarh’s first every pub cum bar which is now one of the most loved brands in Tricity- Peddlers. Vipul Dua, Founder cum MD, is the one that handles the overall operational aspects of the bar whereas Satyan is the guy who handles the expenses and finances of the business. Both of them together have created a unique success story that people from Chandigarh must know about. Speaking to Team Shoutlo, Vipul explains, “I did my hotel management from Radisson group, UK and came to Chandigarh. I started working at Pizza hut and realized that I wanted to have my own venture. We first decided to open Purple Rice in sector 35 in 2007 post which the Idea of having a cafe and a pub came up. Thus, the Big Ben Cafe and Peddlers came up in 2010.” Coming from the UK, Vipul was quite amazed by the evergreen English pubs and bars and decided to open something on the similar lines. Thus, Chandigarh got its first English Pub in sector 35 - Peddlers. It was no turning back then. One after the other, Peddlers opened up all throughout the northern region with one outlet in Amritsar, one in Patiala and one in Ludhiana. Success and more success is what these two dynamic brothers saw with each new outlet. They both accept the current level of competition in the F&B industry and have devised new forms of entertainment for people of Chandigarh. With live entertainment in the form of performances by local bands and artists, their idea is to give the young talent a chance. Also, they work on their menu from time to time to give all foodies more reasons to flock their outlets. On the future plans, Vipul explains, “we are planning to open peddlers in Jalandhar and Jammu very soon and are also giving a chance to home chefs to take over our corporate kitchen to give something new to the customers.” Apart from his own brand, other restaurants that are their favorites are Casa Bella, Dera Taj and Oko by The Lalit. With love for food and happiness received from serving people, both these dynamic Food Entrepreneurs from Chandigarh deserve a pat on their back for pioneering the pub culture in Chandigarh.!