When She means Business….
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. In fact why just men? It’s true for everyone. However, little do we know that in Hyderabad we have some of the best women entrepreneurs who are running restaurants and feeding the hungry souls for quite a few years. One thing common among them is their passion to stand out. In the coming weeks, every Wednesday, I would be talking to one such women and present her story for all my readers.
In today’s episode we have Sumita Ganguli… Let’s find out from her the story of Call of Bengal in the brief conversation
1. Tell a little about yourself
I am an entrepreneur, a home maker, a human resource & training professional and a traveler of cuisines – that pretty much sums up the gamut of my life
2. What made you start Call of Bengal?
The day I decided to take my higher calling, to take my cuisine to discerning palates, I embarked upon my dream – Call of Bengal. Today after five years, my dream is running successfully in Hyderabad, catering to various customer segments and appealing to those who would like to cherish the myriad flavors from the Bengal Peninsula.
3. What were you doing before Call of Bengal?
Several things really – started my professional career in Computer Education, moved over to HR, Training & Development, took a brief hiatus to pursue my MBA and then, one day, decided to plunge with my long and driven passion of culinary pursuits.
4. As a woman, what challenges did you face while setting it up? How did you overcome?
Why should being a woman be a challenge? When a woman takes up a challenge, she usually achieves it. Having said that, my venture wasn’t entirely devoid of minor bumps (they are a part and parcel for any entrepreneur) … looked them in the eye and said to myself, “Bring it on!”.
5. How was Call of Bengal accepted by Hyderabad?
Naming a brand is always tough – it must be simple, catchy and representative of the offer. In this case, I pretty much left the matter to my husband (a Marketing professional with an advertising background) and so one day, over a cup of tea, we decided to name our venture CALL OF BENGAL, which also had a pleasant memory tagged to it – it was my first large format food festival at the Taj Mansingh, New Delhi, several years ago. As for acceptance, people understood it easily and since then, the food has been doing most of the talking (barring the social media chatter, once a while).
6. What is the USP of Call of Bengal?
I have never believed in USP … it is ESP (Emotional Sensory Perception) that works for the food business more. My cuisine straddles a vast canvas of the cultural influences on cuisine from the Bengal Peninsula, from both the domicile and the visitants. A little ahead of the East India Company coming to India, there were a few early settlers who had stepped on the shores of Bengal and had brought with them a slice of their culture and cuisine. This is a researched and tested attempt to resurrect some of those recipes brought into India by the early Armenian, Dutch, Portuguese and British settlers and those which have since then fused with local cuisine of Calcutta. Some of them like the Dimer Devil (Scotch egg variant) etc. however do not feature on regular menu cards anymore and have either withered away across time or are fast disappearing from our lives. Bengal also saw the admixture of cuisine influenced by Awadh (Lucknow) through Wajid Ali Shah and gave birth to a distinct flavor and taste of the Murshidabad Biryani, the Chaamp, the Rezala, the Tikia, the fabled Mughlai Paratha among others. It is my humble attempt to present some of them to a discerning audience of food lovers.
7. How do you motivate your workforce?
Through empowerment – each of them are given a sight of the vision and then they exactly know how to get them done. Motivation follows success and I have always believed in that.
8. What plan do you have for Call of Bengal in the next 5 years?
A little hard to say, but the way it is faring now, we should be around to cut the 10-year cake together!
9. Do you encourage other women entrepreneurs make similar ventures? What tips do you have for them?
You must have a plan! Dwight D. Eisenhower said: “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything”. The process of arriving at a plan is more critical than the plan itself. The process of elimination sharpens your plan and makes it more and more viable as you go along, it also makes it more valuable. It gives you a blue print of success, but mind you it could also be failure. You now know what it is that you are up against and what it is that you need to do to surmount the obstacle that you are bound to face. Having a plan doesn’t make you failure proof, but the process of planning makes you failure ready.
Call of Bengal is located opposite DLF Gachibowli, Gate No. 3. You can find them on Facebook and of course order from Swiggy or Foodpanda if you are nearby.
A big thanks to my dear friend Sankalp, without whom this would have been incomplete.
It will be very helpful, if you can leave a comment and let me know how you liked it. May be a small note on your suggestions to help me grow.
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