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'Bringing diversity to regional cuisine'

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pragnesh Rai, owner, Sambar Pub & Kitchen

Having schooled for the better part of his formative years in Mumbai, Pragnesh Rai went on to complete his hotel management degree from IHM Mumbai, followed by a stellar management training at the Taj Group of Hotels. Post this 2 year stint, Rai went on to join his family business to successfully run Deepak Restaurant and Bar for over 5 years. Being bit by the entrepreneurial bug early in his youth, Pragnesh then branched out on his own to help run ​pubs & eateries such as Loca Loca and Hungry Birds in Mumbai whilst continuing to head operations at Deepak. In conversation with Dominic Rebello, Rai say, "South Indian food is a sheer delicacy - there is so much to explore in this region's cuisine and it is my dream to change the mindset of it being limited to dosa and wadai."

What drives you?
Coming from the Hospitality, F&B backgrounds, I think what truly drives me is the ability to conceptualise, create, deliver unique concoctions for the forever experimental Indian palate.

How big is the potential for a business like yours?
For A theme based pub/bar setup like ours, I think the potential is astronomical. There are just way too many generic Pubs/Clubs which has kind of become too redundant. Our understanding of the markets tell us that audiences are now looking for something more than just Music, Drinks and Food. That's where a place Sambar Pub & Kitchen comes in offering all the above plus an experience to take home with them.  

How do you plan to scale up?
As it has just been over 3 months, since we opened the Sambar Pub & Kitchen at Khar, we taking it a bit slow with regards to scaling. But yes, by the end of this year we do plan to spread out the Sambar Experience across Mumbai.

Who would primarily be your consumer audience?
We are open too all audiences. But primarily we are focused on drawing a little mature audiences. Audiences that belong to the age group of 30-40 yrs. Ideally we are looking for audiences that are looking for their very own Neighbourhood Bar. A bar they can just walk in with their friends, have a few drinks, a few laughs.

Where do you see yourself five years down the road?
Currently I am just focused on this year, trying to reach out to more and more people, establishing myself as an Entrepreneur.. But, yes, in the next 5 years, I surely see myself executing all those of diverse ideas that I always had in my head. The plan would be to bring these concept to reality and I am sure audiences will love every bit of that diversity just as they have loved Sambar.

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