Pankaj Gupta's Restaurant Success: A Bootstrapping Journey

Pankaj Gupta, Founder, Flavour Pot Foods LLP - the group behind hospitality brands – Taftoon (BKC, Powai); Oye Kake (Fort, Lower Parel, Santacruz and Ghatkopar); and CIRQA (Lower Parel)

Words by
Storm CostaBir


Reading Time
03 min read

Building From Scratch:
  • A Guide To Bootstrapping A Successful Restaurant Group
    A passionate food lover embarking on an extraordinary journey to recreate a "dining haven" like none other, right in the heart of Amritsar! Meet Pankaj Gupta, the Founder of Flavour Pot Food which has given birth to brands like Taftoon, Oye Kake & CIRQA. This fearless restaurant owner lays it all bare in a candid interview. Get ready for a delicious journey of insights as we explore his exciting path to success, from humble beginnings to culinary triumphs. Let's savor the tasty lessons from his remarkable adventure!
Passion & Purpose
  1. From a young age, on my very first visit, Amritsar's warm embrace captivated me with its culinary wisdom and alluring flavors. Deep down, I always wondered why we couldn't savor the same intense food experiences back home. That's when the dream of opening my own restaurant to honor great food took root. It wasn't until after completing my MBA and securing a fancy job that I decided to chase my passion!
  1. Not long into the plush corporate job, I realized it wasn't where my heart belonged. Without hesitation, I quit and returned to the place that stirred my soul without bounds — Amritsar. Leaving behind the glitz and glamor, I immersed myself in its vibrant food culture, experimenting with flavors and embracing Punjabi hospitality. It was a pilgrimage to understand the soul of food.
Building A Trustworthy Team
  1. Passion alone wasn't enough; a bond of unbreakable loyalty lies at the heart of our success. My journey began with a humble team hailing from different parts of the country — Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and, of course, Amritsar. Together, we've become a formidable force, leading with passion and commitment.I take immense pride in retaining the entire founding team to this day. Most of them still work with me, and I witness their growth and families blossoming before my eyes. I aspire to bring together people from around the world as my journey continues.

    **Key Lesson**: Nurture your team with respect and lead them towards greatness by leading by example.
Embrace Technology & Innovation
  1. As the digital landscape revolutionized with Swiggy and Zomato's advent, we fearlessly embraced modernity. Among the first restaurants on these platforms, we've cultivated a flourishing relationship with them, setting us apart from others. But our pursuit of excellence doesn't stop there.

    In the realm of digital presence, we take center stage, recognizing the power of the digital domain. Our dynamic in-house team of young and vibrant minds curates our marketing and branding, showcasing our culinary artistry to the world. We seek their wisdom to steer us towards the right direction, captivating our discerning audience.
Building For The Future: A Visionary Path
  1. In this ever-evolving journey of restaurant entrepreneurship, I'm laser-focused on building for the future, be it creating a renowned restaurant brand or nurturing my team's growth. Learning every day, I draw inspiration from the young minds I've welcomed aboard, embracing the learning curve. Moments of uncertainty may arise, but with a team of believers, our vision for the future remains steadfast.

    Brand building, a game close to my heart since a young age, is a patient art that leaves a lasting impression on people. It's about crafting an experience that resonates and evokes feelings unlike any other. For me, it's not just about money; it's about creating a brand that leaves an indelible mark on the world.
Persistence & Good Karma: The Spiritual Path To Success
  1. Embracing failures as stepping stones to growth, I've learned to be unafraid of stumbling along the journey. In the unforgiving world of the restaurant industry, each setback presents an opportunity to flourish, a testament to the power of persistence.
  • Building a formidable team may seem daunting at first, but I've learned to uphold my promises, attracting like-minded individuals who believe in my vision. During challenging times, I stood true to my principles, paying my team and vendors with unwavering dedication. My belief in good karma and spirituality shapes my approach to business and life, driving me to do what's right, no matter the circumstances.

    13 years of unwavering persistence have led to a remarkable track record. I'm not one to give up; it's simply not in my nature. My message to those starting out is to hold tight to your dreams and never surrender. Even amidst the depths of the pandemic, when hope seemed elusive, I asked myself, "Are we still alive?" With that realization, I understood that as long as we breathe, we must keep pushing forward. Fear has no place in my heart; I am a relentless hustler, driven to make a mark in this ever-evolving world.

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