Connect with us

Uncategorized

Meet the man behind Ten Downing Street, Nagpur

In an interview with Nation Next, Varun Sapkal, speaks about the reason behind coming up with TDS, his venture - the pure-veg restaurant Amaira and more.
Varun Sapkal

A decade back, many people complained about Nagpur not having enough chilled out pubs or classy restrobars. That fact, left most of the Nagpurians with a recurring question – ‘Where do I take my friend from a metro city to hang out in Nagpur?’ At a time when pubs and restrobars were not very much in vogue in the Orange city, a young Nagpurian took a risk and the pub Ten Downing Street (TDS) was started in Nagpur. Over the years TDS, Nagpur has become one of the most popular places in the city. In a relaxed interview with Nation Next, Varun Sapkal, the man behind TDS, Nagpur speaks about the reason behind coming up with TDS in Nagpur, his other venture – the pure-veg restaurant Amaira – and his experiences pertaining to the food industry in Nagpur.

Excerpts:

You came up with the pub – 10 Downing Street (TDS) in April 2007. It was a time when there were very few pubs in Nagpur. What motivated you to come up with TDS?

It was when I was 22, I decided to start TDS in Nagpur. While studying hotel management in Pune, I realised that Nagpur did not have a chilled out place with a soothing ambience and a classy décor for celebrations. Now, in western countries, a pub is considered to be a highly sophisticated place with soft music where people meet after their work to have dinner, drinks and to relax. But in India, people consider a pub to be a public utility bar. So, we thought of this British concept. We thought of introducing Indian delicacies of our liking and choice, with drinks and exquisite surroundings, so that Nagpurians can enjoy and have a nice time. The prime location of 10 Downing Street with ample parking space further worked in our favour.

Pubs are usually known for the loud parties they host. But TDS has always maintained a soft music and fine dine ambience. Did you make conscious efforts for the same?

A pub generally has loud music, dingy lights and absolute chaos. Ironically, we never saw that happening at TDS from day one and fortunately we managed to maintain the decorum of our pub. Initially, we had a lot of young customers, so we maintained the ambience according to their preference. Now that we have more of a family crowd, we have moulded ourselves according to their taste. ?When in Rome, do as the Romans do? is what I have realised in the last few years. I’m very happy with the way we operate rather than lending my place for parties, as it ultimately leads to damage of property, exceeding permitted time limits and chaos. In spite of 10 Downing Street being a pub, we do not have the reputation of being a noisy and unruly place. Moreover, unlike other cities, Nagpur has to shut its pubs before 12 am. Neither can we extend the time nor does the crowd here demands the same.

Over the period of almost ten years, have you see a change in the kind of people coming to TDS?

When we ventured into this business, we had the elite young crowd as our customers. Of late, we have witnessed a sudden change in the pattern of customers visiting the pub. Families occupy the restaurant more than the young crowd now. Moreover, lot many people who were regulars at TDS have moved out of Nagpur. Many students as well visit TDS but of late they have become very money conscious.

What made you come up with Amaira – a pure veg restaurant? Is it true that in Nagpur, vegetarian food business makes more sense than non-vegetarian food business

In Nagpur, vegetarian food is absolutely more in demand as compared to non-vegetarian food. Amaira was my fathers idea and his dream. Just like TDS, Amaira too has a location benefit. There was a time when Amaira was doing much better than 10 Downing Street. It was the business research which we did for Amaira which made it a successful venture for us.

With two restaurants of yours in Nagpur ? 10 Downing Street and Amaira, you can be termed as a serial restaurateur. Does it make more business sense to have multiple entities in food business 

Yes, it does. I even owned the Hyderabad House restaurant, which was a take away eatery. Unfortunately I had to shut it down as I was incurring losses. In a city like Nagpur, roti sells more as compared to rice. Nagpurians don’t find a biryani more than Rs 100 pocket friendly! They want the typical taste of biryani with mattha. We tried our best to make the biryani authentic and genuine in taste, but the venture failed. Food industry is all about trial and error. One can’t expect success at every step in life. Sometimes you learn things the hard way and Hyderabad House was a learning lesson for me.

What drove you to create multiple ventures in the food industry?

Demand is something, which has always motivated me. It’s said that On the top of the pyramid, only one person can reach and stand. If you don’t do it someone else will do it. When there were opportunities with good resources available, I just grabbed the opportunities and today I’m what I’m. It was always because of my instincts and gut feeling. Having said that, I believe that one shouldn’t take careless risks; one should always be calculative and well researched.

How do you respond to the general perception that Nagpurians don’t appreciate anything new in food Do you see Nagpur opening up to new brands and concepts in food industry?

If Nagpurians like a particular food item at my restaurant, they would definitely the place again. Now is the right time to re-invest in food industry. I’m against the concept of blogs and reviews on Facebook because they are totally biased. Because, if somebody has any kind personal problem with me, they take revenge by bringing a bad name to my restaurants.

What’s your success mantra?

I have always believed that innovation is the key to success. Many attempts were made by our competitors to outperform us but they did not succeed. We have kept interesting offers for our customers over the years. For e.g., if a person is 60 years old; he is entitled to a 60% discount! When we started our operations, Nagpur was emerging as a corporate hub which accelerated our turnover. In a few months, 10 Downing Street was on everybodys mind. If an entrepreneur keeps reinventing himself by providing value-based activities, it will increase his goodwill and credibility. That’s my success mantra.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Uncategorized

Nitin Gadkari graces screening of ‘Me Vasantrao’ at Sudama Theatre in Nagpur

Published

on

By

Radhika Dhawad | Photographer : Nitin Mankar | Photographer : Bhavesh Mahalle | Nagpur

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari graced the special screening of Marathi movie ‘Me Vasantrao’ – a movie based on the life of Hindustani classical singer and violinist Vasantrao Deshpande.

The screening was held at Sudama Theatre in Nagpur on Sunday evening in the presence family members, friends and the cast of the movie.

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Mayor Dayashankari Tiwari kicks off polio drive in Nagpur

Published

on

By

Nation Next Newsroom | Bombuflat

Nagpur Mayor Dayashankar Tiwari, on Sunday, launched Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) door-to-door polio campaign drive. He, along with Deputy Mayor Manisha Dhawade visited Rognidan Centre in Mahal, Nagpur and inaugurated the campaign by giving polio drops to a toddler.
As per NMC officials, ten Zonal Medical Officers and Ten Health inspectors would visit every house in their respective zones, in order to vaccinate children between the ages of zero-five to immune them against polio.
NMC had recognised Sunday as the official day for polio vaccination. Under Polio Ravivar, they plan to vaccinate more than three lakh kids in Nagpur. They also urged Nagpurkars to vaccinate their children at pulse Polio Booths near their homes from 8 am- 5 pm, on Sunday.
NMC Standing Committee Chief, Corporator Vijay Zalke spoke to Nation Next regarding this campaign and said, This year’s polio drive is going to be bigger than last year. We are planning to vaccinate around 3- 3.15 lakh kids. NMC is bearing the cost of infrastructure and execution. The state government provided us with the doses.
He further stated that there were special teams to vaccinate the homeless during night. ?When it comes to the health of Nagpurkars, money is not a factor we should think about, said Zalke when asked about NMC’s current financial crunch.
As per Zalke, vaccination facility would also be available in slums,, factory areas and other outskirts of Nagpur.

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Congress legislator caught watching porn in Karnataka Assembly

Published

on

By

Nation Next Newsroom | Bombuflat

Congress leader Prakash Rathod, on Friday, was caught on camera while allegedly scrolling through few adult content clips in the State Assembly. This turned out to be a huge embarrassment for both, Congress and Rathod as regional channels aired the video, in which he was ?caught in the act.
The MLC member was present in the house during the proceedings of the legislative council. While the house was in session, Rathod was watching adult content on his smartphone.
However, he threw these charges under the bus and said, I was looking for materials for a question I wanted to ask the government in question hour.
?When I was looking for question material, I deleted too many messages as my phone storage was full. What the media has shown or seen, I don’t know. I would never do such things or see such things, he added.
This was not the first time in Karnataka that such an incident had happened. Back in 2012, three Bharatiya Janata Party ministers were caught on camera allegedly watching adult content in the State Assembly. Following the scandal, they resigned from the state government due to public embarrassment.

Continue Reading

Trending