A few IT entrepreneurs find their recipe for success in the restaurant business too

For most of us, restaurants and IT companies would make for strange bedfellows. Not so, it seems, for a few enterprising IT entrepreneurs in the city who’ve turned restaurateurs, catering to (what else) fellow techies!

Recently, K.G. Gopakumar, managing director, Hages Buisness Solutions (HBS), a technology solutions provider based at Technopark, and a couple of his partners at HBS, Harishankar S. and Sujaya Kamal, opened a restaurant named Park Bytes, located in food court of the Amstor Building at Technopark.

“All of three of us are major foodies, who love all kinds of food, especially naadan (ethnic) food. Despite the many hotels and restaurants in and around Technopark, we know first hand how difficult it is to get good, homely food when stuck at work for long periods of time. In fact, we were quite fed up with the lack of good food we get in many places. That’s when we hit upon the idea of opening a restaurant. And it was a viable option too because there are close to 35,000 IT professionals working in and around Technopark, and a good majority of them eat from outside. We wanted to serve good food at competitive rates,” says Gopakumar. Park Bytes serves an array of ethnic treats such as puttu-kadala, idiyappam and stew, and a full-fledged sadya, apart from a variety of snacks such as ela appam, kozhukatta, sandwiches and toast.

Techie Tigy Thankachan, the founder of Technopark-based iTraitz IT Solutions, seems to have thought more or less on the same lines when he opened Danbauk restaurant (at 12th Floor food court, Leela Infopark), last December.

“I had been thinking about diversifying my business interests for some time and wanted to do something different. My friend, Shavab K. Mohamed, also an IT professional who was for a time based in ‘the Gulf’, and I had always dreamed of opening a restaurant that did not compromise on quality and quantity,” says Tigy. Danbauk, which means biriyani in Burmese, has a Thalassery menu that ranges from Dum biriyanis and ghee rice to kozhipidi, ney pathiri and irachi pathri, to name a few. Danbauk also sells special Iftar kits, packed with Malabari treats, availabe during the month of Ramzan.

What’s interesting about these entrepreneurs is that none of them have had any prior experience in the food industry. Tigy, for instance, holds a masters degree in computer science (he is a University rank holder), and has been in the IT field for 13 plus years. Says Tigy: “Both Shavab and I were complete novices when we started out. So, we’ve been learning as we go along. Running a restaurant is wholly different from running an IT company; you have to deal with a different set of people, schedules…my only convenience, actually, is that both my enterprises are at the same location!” Adds Gopakumar: “The food business is completely new for me and my partners. In fact, none of us even have family members who are in the food industry.”

Perhaps because they are “novices” to the industry, the entrepreneurs also don’t seem too worried about the current hullabaloo about food safety. “There has not been much of an impact with regards to number of customers. Whatever the issue, ultimately, it’s your food that counts” says Tigy. Gopkumar, meanwhile, says that the recipe for success lies in understanding the target segment. “We know our customers and their food requirements.”

Nita Sathyendran