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Burning the midnight oil wasn't really a good idea for Avik Chatterjee. Starting MadBites - a midnight food delivery service at the age of 18, Avik had to shut it down in two years to put an end to his sleepless nights.
The son of India's renowned restaurateur Anjan Chatterjee, Avik wanted to follow an entrepreneurial path just like his father. However, treading the path didn't seem easy. Talking about his first failure, Avik says, "My key hours of focus were only three hours. That's where the concept killed it."
After pursuing his undergraduate degree from Kingston University in London, Avik returned to India to join his father's company in 2013. On joining an organized business after a failed start-up, Avik never fell short of ideas as his father always encouraged him to do what he wanted.
"I had a lot of ideas while I was in London. And from the very beginning, I dreamt of having my own restaurant," reminisces Avik. When he came back from London, the concept of Hoppipola was unheard of, he says, "It was very turbulent because it was something my father had never stepped into, as it was a super bar. Later, he allowed me."
So far, Avik has proudly done 15 of them. Talking about who gave in into whose ideas, Avik says, "You go to a restaurant because you relate to the personality of that restaurateur. In a way, my personality differs from my father's. I wanted to do something which was more like me."
Already, Avik has worked on four concepts. Zoodles, Hoppipola and GONG, a modern Asian restaurant and the fourth one is coming up next month in Mumbai named - POH, in collaboration with a renowned chef.
Sharing the leanings from his father, Avik answers, "One thing I salute my father for is that he lets me make my mistakes rather than teach me how not to make mistakes." Avik says his father always refers to PhD. Not the degree but the focus on passion, hard work and discipline.
Working out of the head office, Avik has his own team which works directly with the kind of concepts that he builds. Avik is among the board of directors as well and looks after international expansion too.
Recently, he opened two restaurants in Sri Lanka and is now working on opening them in Dubai and London as well. Since Avik has been a globe trotter and lived internationally for four-five years, his fair understanding of international consumers and cuisines made him look after Specality's international expansion as well. Mainland China, Oh! Calcutta and Asia Kitchen & Bar have already expanded overseas.
(This article was first published in the June issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)