‘F&B industry will continue to boom in the years to come’

Shaan Gidwani, Founder, Acapella Hospitality, speaks on the status of hospitality business in India

It was in 2019 that as a 20-year-old he founded Acapella Hospitality with the objective of capitalising on persistent market trends. Today, at 23, one of the youngest restaurateurs in the country. Shaan Gidwani seeks to make a mark in the F&B industry with a range of concepts across resto-bars, delivery and catering. At Acapella, the existing focus is to strengthen and further grow the business for all three dine-in brands – Cafe Panama, Loci and Toot and Kokum – as well as steadily expand the delivery business across Mumbai at present. In an interview with BW HOTELIER, Acapella Hospitality Founder and Managing Director talks about the challenges in F&B industry, present-day status of hospitality business in India and around the globe and what future has in store. Excerpts:

How has the journey been and when do you plan to have Pan-India presence? 

My three-year-long entrepreneurial journey has been a highly stimulating rollercoaster, no less than a dream. My experience has been full of ups and downs that have allowed me to solidify my understanding of the F&B business. I’ve also begun to realise the importance of cherishing small wins, not sweating the small stuff and knowing that no situation at a micro level is here to last. All of this has allowed me to garner the ability to focus and move forward always. I plan to take some of my existing concepts across the nation and launch new ones as well. This is still in the preliminary stages. 

What were your career choices when you set out before putting your finger on F&B business?

Entering the F&B industry and becoming a restaurateur is a subconscious inclination and passion I’ve probably always had at the back of my mind for the longest time. However, growing up I never really considered this as a prospective career path. I wasn’t a very decisive person until I graduated. I probably would’ve entered my father’s financial services business if I wasn’t doing this. Being at the right place at the right time, with an opportunity right in front of my eyes, is what has led me down the path of entering F&B industry.

Does one need to be a foodie to be a successful restaurateur? 

I don’t think this is a necessity to succeed as a restaurateur since at the end of the day it comes down to how you choose to structure your business and carve your niche. Building teams and SOPs that capitalise on your vision always helps. There’s no one answer to this question. For example, adopting a highly objective and commercial approach while launching food driven brands while servicing an existing demand is something that has worked for many. On the flip side, being a chef or a passionate foodie has also worked for many. Really depends on how you choose to do things. For me personally, having the right balance of having an objectively commercial lens built around a vision and passion for a certain type of product makes most sense. 

How do you plan to build a sizeable F&B empire in the years to come? 

I plan to do this by building a process driven business through which all my business functions are well oiled and streamlined and don’t require my day-to-day involvement. Identifying a concept that really clicks, and investing in that heavily, is what I plan to do to scale up my company.

How do you think the next two to five years are going to be for the industry? 

My take on this is that the F&B industry will continue to boom in the years to come. With steadily growing GDP per capita and higher disposable income in the domestic economy than we’ve ever seen before as a country, creates a compelling ground for the growth of F&B businesses.

Your father has been a businessman all his life with fruitful investments in F&B space including Olive Group of Restaurants. What have been the learnings from his life that have influenced you? 

My father has always had a hands-offapproach with me where he’s allowed me to realise and experience many things own my own in the realm of business. But some of the fundamental learnings that I’ve gained from him include, investing and taking caring of the talent in my business to build their loyalty, taking swift informed decisions without wasting time and being fearless.

How do you look at the hospitality space in the country and globally, especially after the havoc the pandemic wreaked in our lives? 

My perspective is that the pandemic fatigue has taken us to a stage where the F&B industry has bounced back with full force, provided concepts are created and executed well.

What keeps Shaan Gidwani going and what’s up in store next?

My ambition and goal of building a scalable business and doing real justice to my potential in the process is what keeps me going! A lot of surprises will be in store, stay tuned!


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