The Other Side of the Counter-POW

  1. Tell us a little about what drove you to enter the restaurant business. What’s the story behind it?

Well, there's not one straight answer to this. I have always believed that one thing leads to another in life. I always loved eating which led to cooking; it was my creative outlet. Some people play guitar, some paint and I cooked. I love traveling and trying out new cuisines, new flavors and then I try to recreate them with my own twist.  After having done LLb. I had two options. Either practice law or follow my passion for food. The latter excited me more and I chose to do something for the rest of my life that excites me. I decided to make a career out of it which led to running a restaurant. An eatery where I could incorporate my love for traveling with my passion for food.

 

  1. How do you see your business model panning out in the next few years?

There's an ongoing trend of quick service eateries popping up on a regular basis worldwide, not just in Pakistan. In our country we have recently experienced it. Customers either confuse it with fine dining or a fast food joint quite often. Although with POW I'm certain that I have to open up branches and expand. However, I'm interested to see how this trend of eateries settles in Pakistan.

  1. Do you believe your establishment helped change the way people eat?

At POW, we serve items that people are familiar with yet with flavors that not many of us are familiar with, flavors from all over the globe. For instance, kimchi fries from our menu. People know what fries are, but kimchi many were not aware of here. Hence, acquainting our customers to new flavors. And guess what? People love those now. So in a way, yes we are. Baby steps.

  1. Do you think the restaurant business is worth entering?

Yes, it most certainly is if you're brave enough.

  1. How has customer interaction been in general?

Customer satisfaction in general has been good so far. Which also acts as a fuel for me. I won't lie, happy customers make me happier.

  1. Do you feel your customers understand your food?

Thankfully, most of them do as we have carefully incorporated new flavors into items which people were familiar with. Hence, it's easier for their palettes to understand our food.

  1. The worst/best customer interaction you’ve had so far?

The worst one was also the best one for me. POW was full that night, and customers from one table after having finished their food started shouting "bekar khana" and before I could say anything to them all of the other customers present in the restaurant came to POW's defense started yelling are you out of your mind. This is like the best food. You're just saying so to get the food for free.

  1. Do you believe there is scope for new cuisines in your city?

Yes there is, I see a lot of people coming up with new ideas which is quite inspiring. I mean, who knew there would be a craze of wok-based noodle or rice bowls but now there is.

  1. If you could, what would you go back and change about your business?

I would change nothing. Because all my experiences good and bad, have made me what I am today.

  1. How do you think customers help to improve your vision for food in general?

I have always been of the view that customers do help to improve my vision of food. Because ultimately they're the buyers, they are more than particular about what they want and how they want. POW is not what it is today in terms of menu variety and service. Our customers are partly responsible of what we are, what POW is today.

  1. Do you believe social media holds any power or influence over customers?

Social media is a strong key player in shaping customers' perspective of a certain restaurant or eatery. It can make or break a business. Having said that, I believe it should be done responsibly. Because a lot of blood and sweat goes into establishing any business especially food related.

  1. Any words of wisdom or advice for newcomers?

Sometimes things don't turn out the way you initially planned. Stay strong and don't lose hope. Good things take time.

Nazia Latif

Published 09 Feb 2017 by Nazia Latif @ foonaReview

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