Pallavi Ruia & Prabhas DuttaFounders of Hakuna Matata Restaurant Published On: Saturday, December 19, 2015 Views 3955


"An airplane takes off against the wind, not with it!"

It does not more than hard work and customer oriented approach to make it big in the hospitality industry. This is what drives the Kolkata-based couple, Pallavi and Prabhas Dutta. Both have completed their undergraduate management degrees from Jadavpur University Kolkata and Masters from Warwick Business School UK. They know each other for a decade and have recently got married. Being a married couple, they started to mull the idea of starting their own business.

This is when the notion of starting a restaurant came across their mind. Hakuna Matata is an all-vegetarian restaurant having an adventurous theme. Their food is edgy and is apt for those who just want to enjoy the notion of always being happy. Within a span of few months, the restaurant has received huge praise for foodies regarding their menu, décor and ambience.

Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.

Hakuna Matata is a global vegetarian restaurant, serving world fusion cuisine. we serve food, beverage and desserts with a twist. Dishes like the Indian Inspired Mexican platter, Stuffed date fritters and Crispy fuielle papdi are some examples of our specialty wherein the fusion factor is highlighted clearly. Our tagline reads “food ‘n’ more”, which signifies that we like to engage our customers more than just eating at a restaurant. Hence, we have created “your own pizza”, wherein guests can customize their pizza according to their own taste. further, we hold musical nights over weekends, street dance on special occasions like friendship’s day, pumpkin carving activity on Halloweens, and various such other activities where people can participate and enjoy themselves.

What inspired you to build the above product/ service?

We feel that the food industry can have a lot of creativity and fun along with innovativeness that Calcutta can get updated with. we wanted to come up with a new concept in terms of food as well ambience so that people get a whole new culinary experience.

What is your life mantra?

We like to be creative about things and give our full time and involvement to all our ventures. We believe that hard work is the crucial ingredient to bake the dessert called success, and we don’t shy from that. Most importantly, our mantra is “great men don’t do different things, they do things differently”.

What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?

A very healthy challenge for us has been in promoting the creativity in vegetarian cuisine and changing people’s mindsets. We are serving vegetarian fusion cuisine, and to get people to try the uniqueness so that they appreciate it, especially the non-vegetarians, is a constant endeavor.

How did you overcome those challenges?

The best way to overcome the challenge is to be one step ahead of the consumer. This enables us to not only understand the consumer’s needs but to also effectively strategies the business to fill the gaps present in the market. We are constantly coming up with new ways to draw in customers of all ages and tastes.

Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.

Our business is at a nascent stage, and we are hopeful of investments in the near future. We are currently being approached by investors to take the brand PAN India with strong demand drawing mainly from tier 2 cities like Siliguri, Jamshedpur etc.

How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?

Investment is not just about money. It also stems from the fact that one creates an environment at work that inculcates a culture of motivation and loyalty towards the brand that we work for. Instances like having a suggestion scheme in place, that rewards our employees with a cash benefits from the savings or benefits enjoyed by the company due to an idea from an employee helps keep the team motivated. We also reward our team in gift coupons if their recipes are added to our menu.

According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?

Perseverance, focus and attention to detail

Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.

Adaptiveness is crucial in this industry. our ability to understand the customer’s needs and immediately customizing to provide them with the best solutions to exceed their current expectations is one habit which makes us more productive.

Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.

As this venture is our baby and we are over protective about it, we tend to take decisions emotionally. We would like to be more practical in our approach.

Answer in less than 50 words

• One tip to success:

Stay focused at all times. Results will eventually show.

• One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:

Stop competing for success and realize the fact that the world has something for everyone.

• One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:

Effective Communication forms the basis for a healthy organizational culture.

What are your plans for next 3 years?

We want to take Hakuna Matata pan-India over the next few years, by venturing into tier 1 and tier 2 success so that we can touch lives of more people directly or indirectly and spread the love for food and creativity manifold. We would also like to venture into other verticals, which are in the planning stage as of now.

If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?

We would confidently follow our gut feelings and take a plunge.

What are your top three getaway destinations?

London, Mumbai and Krabi

Share a quote that inspires you the most.

“An airplane takes off against the wind, not with it!”

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Even I wanna feature :( . Good write up