THE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF QUEEN’S TANDOOR SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE OF RUNNING A RESTAURANT AS WELL AS HIS LOVE FOR JAKARTA.
¤ For those who adore Indian cuisine, Queen's Tandoor is not new. This Indian restaurant has been in the city for 30 years, being established in 1986 by Ramesh Shamdasani in North Jakarta. The restaurant was first called Queen's, and served Chinese cuisine. In 1991, Indian food was added to the menu, and the restaurant changed its name to Queen's Tandoor. Since then business has expanded, and there are now two restaurants in Jakarta, six in Bali and one branch in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Three years ago Ramesh Shamdasani vacated the throne and passed the operation of the restaurant on to one of his son’s, Girish Shamdasani. Born in Jakarta 25 years ago, Girish is an enthusiastic manager, maintaining Queen's Tandoor’s position as the leading Indian restaurant in Indonesia, particularly in the capital. He began to work in the restaurant after graduating from the University of Bath, UK, with a B.Sc degree in Business Administration. "I never thought I'd be going to work in the restaurant. But I have a passion for food, so I decided to join the family business, and I really love doing it now," he says. Even though he had never managed a restaurant before, Girish was confident that he could make Queen's Tandoor even better than it was. "I kind of grew up in this restaurant, so I know how things work here. In the corporate and managing side, I find that experience from my previous work in investment banking helps a lot. In terms of the service and menu, I have learnt a lot from my parents. And after three years now I can say I'm doing very well at Queen's" he explains. The first time he stepped into the office, Girish faced many challenges, one of which was the pressure of maintaining Queen's Tandoor’s illustrious reputation. "My dad raised the bar high, so the challenge was how to get it even higher, to improve things even more. One thing was keeping the same staff. We have people that have been working with us for 15-20 years, and are just like family," says Girish. Girish remarks that Queen's Tandoor manages to remain the leading Indian restaurant in Indonesia, especially in Jakarta, because of two things: consistency and flexbility. "We rarely change our menu. The same one has been in our restaurant for 30 years. As for flexibility, we're open to creating a menu that suits our customers. If you want a item that's not on the menu, our chef will be more than happy to create it," he says. With Queen's Tandoor already having eight restaurants in Bali & Jakarta and another franchise in Saudi Arabia, the next challenge is to attract a local market, because currently most customers are Indian people and other expats who live in the city. "Most local people in Jakarta don’t know Indian food very well. We are thinking of opening another restaurant with a concept that is more recognisable to them. We want Indonesian customers to have dishes that are familiar to them but also make them feel like they're eating in Mumbai," says Girish. –