When She means Business….
“A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.” ― D.H. Lawrence
After a tremendous adulation I received from you, it’s the final episode for Season 1 of Wonder Women. Each of the women I have had a conversation has given me a newer dimension to their success story. These women entrepreneurs have been running their restaurants with a professional camaraderie & sheer integrity. One thing common among them is their passion to stand out. I will come back again with a new season and new personalities (may be a new city too). Thank you & stay tuned!
In today’s episode we have Soujanya Obulapu… Let’s find out from her the story of Soups n Salads in this brief conversation.
1. Tell a little about yourself
My Name is Soujanya from Hyderabad. After pursuing my MBA degree worked in US as Business Analyst for 2 years in different companies and later quit my IT career and I did my degree in Le Cordon Bleu – Culinary Arts from California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.
2. What made you start Soups n Salads?
After completion we moved back to India and wanted to do a different kind of a concept based restaurant. I came up with Soups n Salads where we design menu as per seasonal produce that’s available widely in that season. We focus on healthy cooking methods like grilling, baking, steaming in cooking our food and as name says we serve different varieties of Soups, Salads, Grain Bowls etc.
We use all whole grains like Brown rice, Quinoa, Millet, Chia seeds, Whole wheat flour in desserts etc.
3. What were you doing before Soups n Salads?
I worked in different restaurants in US like bagel shop, Italian restaurant, Fine dining as I was new in this field and wanted to see how different kitchens work.
4. As a woman, what challenges did you face while setting it up? How did you overcome?
I wouldn’t say them as challenges as woman, anyone who is getting into this field would go through same issues of finding right resources when setting up – like suppliers, equipment, right kitchen staff etc.
It took almost 3 months of homework and planning to build a team and setting up the whole restaurant before we opened.
5. How was Soups n Salads accepted by Hyderabad?
Hyderabad being famous for its Biryani as we all know as “Biryani Capital“, along with heavy influence of nawabi style cooking and spicy Andhra cooking. So coming up with healthy concept was a very bold move. When we started Sub Way was only place for healthy eating. We were ahead of our time. Now with so much of awareness people are making lifestyle changes and eating healthy.
Now we have a first movers advantage in the market and trying to improvise on same lines for better serving.
6. What is the USP of Soups n Salads?
As the name says – Soups n Salads we specialize in Soups made with fresh ingredients example Corn Soup. People are surprised when we serve this soup , as they expect corn and spinach in corn starch. But we cream the fresh corn and cook with fresh herbs and spinach which is creamy and velvety with taste of corn. We have Soup du jour ,( Soup of the day ) that is made everyday with different vegetable. Apart from that we have one Thai Soup, Creamy Soup, Italian Soup, Indian, Classic Soups like tomato and mushroom as well.
To cater to local taste we serve Lamb soup famous in Hyderabad.
Salads are our big star items which can be customized as per taste with variety of dressings we offer.
We cater to all tastes from French to Indian variety of salads, Soups, chicken roasts. Our USP is customization of food as per customer needs. If they want more protein, more carb, Paleo, Vegan… whatever the requirement we customize as per their taste.
7. How do you motivate your workforce?
We have same staff from the day we have opened and we constantly challenge and update ourselves with new trends going around with new ingredients, cooking techniques and menus. This helps us to nd adapt to the changes and this keeps the work very interesting.
8. What plan do you have for Soups n Salads in the next 5 years?
Currently we have 2 outlets one in Jubilee Hills and one in Madhapur and in next 5 years want to expand our brand to other cities as well.
9. Do you encourage other women entrepreneurs make similar ventures? What tips do you have for them?
Yes Women should come into the field into the cooking more and more. Women in professional kitchens extend their home cooking to restaurant kitchen, which has love and warmth when they cook as opposed to men. All the memories of food growing up are with moms cooking and they never try to use any shortcuts to achieve the taste. May it’s my prejudice. Men cooking in professional kitchen is definitely more productive.
Today there are lot of avenues for women in the food sector if not a restaurant there are various things that could be done related to food industry and no idea is a small and you start working opportunities will open up and never give up.
A big thanks to my dear friend Sankalp, without whom this feature 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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