Parag Dutta – Have 9 Units..,

So to keep these going, I keep myself well read, well informed and empathetic. That is what a business head should be doing. I focus on that.

Parag Dutta – Have 9 Units All over India Already and Looking at Many More This Year (Founder & CEO at Roadster Hospitality)

Please tell us something about your early days & career story.

Coming from an army officer family background, I was never at a place for more than 2 years in a row. I was the “new boy” in school every other year. Reflecting back, perhaps that opened my perspective to a larger front than restricted to a city. New friends, new city and varied culture- that was how I began my life during the impressionable age. It was from Kolkata, that I did my Hotel Management and moved into hospitality career from the year of 1988.

The first decade and a couple more, I was in various hotels groups, like Choice Hotels International and the likes. Being in a corporate role, I was entrusted with setting up projects and running of units and finally handing it over to the new team. So I move about a lot. It was in 1998 that I started life in QSRs and haven’t looked back since. Held leadership positions at various chains, my forte being start-ups and building into multiple units.

A few years back I started my own organisation and am now building a brand by the name of “Wrapafella” which is into Wraps and Rolls. Started expanding last year due to the covid situation and have 9 units all over India already and looking at many more this year.

Why did you decide to be in the food industry?

After completing IHM, the next course of action was getting into Hospitality. A management trainee from the campus interview, I moved into the Restaurant/ Food business just when organised restaurant chains were making an entry into the Indian market. Food was a natural passion for me, since hotel management was the base. However, I anticipated and made a calculated move into the QSR sector and it turned out to be the right one. But the business aspect of restaurant chains held a bigger attraction to me than the product itself. So restaurant and food was the best place to make a foray into, for me.

What are some of the day to day business challenges that you face & how do you overcome them?

Day to day challenges are many, but if I were to narrow it down to the top two- I would say that one is how to keep my team motivated and inspired. I believe that if I am not able to keep the team positively enthused and interested- every day- the organisation would not be thriving.

Secondly, keeping the brand invigorated- constant re-invention, changing as per the ever dynamic market and being ready for it- this is another challenge

So to keep these going, I keep myself well read, well informed and empathetic. That is what a business head should be doing. I focus on that.

There is a lot of wastage in the food industry, what according to you is the solution to that?

With the present market situation, shelf life stability is the main crux of wastage reduction. This could be by temperature controlled warehousing and storing i.e frozen or chilled storage.

The other option is the utilisation of science and process at the unit level production and storage. Adequate and hygienic storage conditions at the back of the house will reduce expiry and malpractises leading to wastage. Furthermore, a uniform SOPs in place and ensuring their implementation, would ensure that products are ordered, stored and handled correctly and in right quantity.

How do you leverage software & technologies for business efficiency?

The inventory systems and the billing software’s available in the market, nowadays, are quite robust and complete. Choosing the right one for your business will give you the flexibility to operate in a very advantageous fashion. Information with zero time lag on sales, expenditures and MIS is easily available on the move.

Frequently, many different software’s merge to assimilate information over various platforms through their APIs. That gives you a flexibility of working with software of your choice.

Marketing is another area which is moving from offline to online through the various apps and platforms. We have utilised and are constantly looking at the every changing scenario to keep ourselves updated.

How do you manage your supply chain; discovery of suppliers and Inventory management?

We have outsourced most of the back end aspects to specialised vendors and we are focussing on our core objective. The eco-system, though still not where we would like it to be, is also moving in the right direction. So besides networking and online interactions, we also keep ourselves updated through exhibitions and online and offline market platforms for vendors/ partners who would add value to our business. With our business scattered all over India, we are already running a very active supply management system.

Which is your favourite book & why?

Ah- that would be opening a pandora’s box… I am a voracious reader and go through all sorts of book- fictions, documentaries heath and management books. Singly out a few would be a challenge- but among the authors- I am an absolute fan of P G Wodehouse and Dale Carnegie/ Stephen Covey management book.

PG woodhouse because of the absolute language weave and Carnegie and Covey because of the no- nonsense approach

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September 27, 2023
September 26, 2023