“A foreigner visited our cafe. He ordered ‘Haku Choila’. After enjoying the first plate of Haku Choila, he ordered the second plate. He seems to be delighted. He asked if I could share him the recipe. I was sorry as it was our signature recipe, we forbid to share. He promised me that he would show up tomorrow as well for Haku Choila. He turned up the next day as well. These are the little things that keep me happy.”
Hamro Katha: How do you see the future of Hotel and Hospitality sector in Nepal?
Sajan Shrestha: It is indeed hope and exciting as well. Nepali lifestyle and culture is evolving with time. Nepali people have stepped into time, where the whole family, about once a week, looks forward to dining outside in some cozy restaurant for dinner a lunch.
Hamro Katha: Do you want to pass on any of your life lesson to aspiring entrepreneurs looking forward to start-up a business in hospitality sector?
Sajan Shrestha: There are not going to be any remarkable achievements overnight. I would love to welcome the upcoming entrepreneurs with the message that, there are abundant possibilities in this sector. But, if you are looking forward to building immense results, please drop the idea. You need to have enough patience to monetize your investment for initial one or two years. Nevertheless, our hospitality sector is not less than any first world developed country.
Hamro Katha: How did you come up with the idea of Vibes Restro and Lounge? How long has it been that you are doing business in the town?
Sajan Shrestha: Vibes is the outcome dreams I and my younger brother (Sugham Shrestha) had for our town, for our career. Both I and my younger brother are Hotel Management graduates.
I travelled to Qatar and Malaysia for hotel management internship. When I returned back, I could see a trend of all my friends, kin and kits moving abroad for education or employment. I was lost. I wasted four years wandering around, probably doing nothing productive, economical at all. This gives me some sense of regret at times. I wonder why I did nothing for four long years. Today I feel content. It’s been a year, I am growing my business. I started with my brother. My brother moved to Australia for studies. Yet, he is still facilitating the business. I am physically alone looking after the daily operations. Most probably, my younger brother will be back soon.
Hamro Katha: How would you summarize your learning about executing business till now?
Sajan Shrestha: I still think, I am diverted from my original track of meeting our vision. As I am looking after everything around alone, that keeps me happy and productive. I am looking forward to make the restaurant fast moving and constantly active serving customers. Practical experience teaches a lot more than academic theories. That’s all I am sensing at present.
Hamro Katha: What segment of population is your target audience basically?
Sajan Shrestha: Target is mainly the youth. But due to our ‘live music’ shows, teenagers are mostly attracted toward us. There are no lodges in this area, Patan Durbar Square. Hence, people come here for the lounge experience. I guess that is our unique selling proposition as well.
Hamro Katha: How is Vibes attracting its customers?
Sajan Shrestha: I am luckily working in the same sector, I was trained and educated with in my college life. Beginning with warm welcome greeting to serving food and live music are the major attractions of Vibes.
Hamro Katha: How did you access the taste of your segment of customers and their food preference?
Sajan Shrestha: We have been synchronizing Chinese, Indian and Nepali taste together. For instance, we serve buffalo wings, sizzler, haku choiya and newari pizza, which gives both an authenticity to Nepali food with taste fusion.
Hamro Katha: How d the emotions of customers and food served come in relation? How have you been managing this connection?
Sajan Shrestha: Mainly, we have been cautious on hygiene, etiquettes and taste we serve our customers. We believe, that’s is what most of our customers are expecting from us as well.
Hamro Katha: How about your family support towards the business?
Sajan Shrestha: Its is doing well at present. I must confess, initially I started by business requesting funds from my parents to go abroad. This kept them hostile and indifferent a few months. Then, everything come to peace back again with time.
Hamro Katha: In your perspective, what is the mantra for success in business?
Sajan Shrestha: Above all, Passion is the greatest factor. Next, an entrepreneur has to focus on smooth management and operations of business. In case of hotel and hospitality sector, taking care of guests, cleanliness, food and taste matters. The feedback of customers and interaction skills of the executive team matters a lot.
Hamro Katha: What do you see the growth possibility of food industry in local Nepali market?
Sajan Shrestha: People are craving to try new taste every other day. Not just the cuisine matters, the variety of taste that can come up with the same dish matters much. Customers come here seeking a new taste. Buffalo wings of Vibes taste different to casual ones in the market. People exclaim, “There is something differently pleasurable here.” This is what keep us happy, motivated and adds on with the energy to work better.
Hamro Katha: What are the factors to consider, in order to run a standardized business?
Sajan Shrestha: Serve the best quality at affordable price or cheap price where ever possible.
Hamro Katha: What are the unleashed area where the Nepali industry can work out on immediately?
Sajan Shrestha: Being a Newari, I would say Newari Pizza has can be served widely. Its is simply the Newari Chatamari, with a bit of cheese toppings. Traditional foods like Bara and Haku Choila can be a great serve.
Hamro Katha: What are your future plans? What are you looking forward next?
Sajan Shrestha: Consumers taste is yet to be explored in details. Modifying the recipes as per their responses. Converting this loudge to a lodge shall me the next step I am striving to achieve.
(Based on conversation with sajan shrestha, the founder of vibes restaurant and launch)