The Mumbai rains are pouring down like crazy and you would think that absolutely no one would venture out of their homes in this deluge, and definitely not on a weekday morning, unless it’s for work, or an absolute emergency.
But if you are anywhere near the 70 Beans Café in Navi Mumbai, you would realize that this is not the case.
In fact, their weekday mornings, even when the monsoon rains are at their peak, see regulars and even first timers dropping in to spend some time at this café that has the highest rating in all of Mumbai on a very popular food app.
And this is not just restricted to people who come down to eat there. This café also boasts of one of the most called-in orders, even on a busy work morning, for non-stop home deliveries! Also, unlike the trend today, they are not situated inside any mall, but are still doing the highest business in a part of Mumbai that is overcrowded with cafes and eateries already.
So what is it that turned a café, that was about to turn down its shutters, make such a turn and come out on tops?
Step in AJ, the way he likes to be known, and the way he is known to so many patrons, regulars and those who have ever dropped in at the café, and have always seen the ever smiling and super helpful host and owner. An IIT and IIM guy, who traveled the world for work, had years in a corporate career in India and in the US, but then decided to give it all up and be where his heart really was – a cozy space where people could come in, eat, drink, spend time with friends or make new friends, and maybe forget the chaos outside as they got lost in the many board games or sang along to an eclectic mix of songs that he chooses for the playlist himself.
The Magic Of A Personal Touch
When AJ initially visited 70Beans, the café was at the verge of shutting down. Business was at its lowest, and the café owner was spending more than what was coming in. It was then that he decided to take matters into his own hands. Soon after coming on board, he completely changed the menu, and the pricing. The twist – he increase the pricing massively.
But he had a plan.
While others were worried this would only make even the very few customers go away, AJ was sure that the vibes of the place and the pull of the menu would actually bring in people. He did a complete change of the way the place looked and felt, made it a brighter and happier space, trained the staff to be prompt, positive and friendly, but without being overbearing.
Be Proactive And Ready To Work Hard
When you take on something that you want to call your own, whether it is your own startup, a project you took up at work, or something you co-own or are part of in some way, treat it as your own, and own it.
And as AJ shows, hard work and being there for your team and your guests can really make the difference. Even though he may not need to ‘cook’ the food himself, AJ is present at the café every day, 7 days a week, even before it opens at 7am. And he is always around, welcoming guests as they walk in, making regular customers feel at home and greeting them with a warm smile and a hug, making sure he remembers their favourite and how they like a certain dish done, telling them about any new additions and so on.
It’s Impossible To Know Everything, So Never Stop Learning
The interesting part here is that AJ is a pure vegetarian, and does not even eat eggs. But he is aware of what is cooked how, which customer likes a certain egg dish in which way, who likes which chicken specialty, and so on. AJ says that traveling abroad and in different parts of India, he always observed how cafes were operated, how they looked like, what was being prepared and the general vibe of a feel.
Confessing to being a single diner, AJ also says that a lot of his ideas for work come from what he sees when he is not ‘working.’ “My mind is never in an off mode though and is always working. Even when I am dining out alone, I always look around to see what they have done right that I can imbibe in my own place, or if there are any mistakes I notice, I make sure I avoid those in my work. It’s all about observing and constantly learning, and putting all that to good use.”
What you’re doing right now may not be your true calling. But once you do discover what it is that you really want to do, make sure you start the learning process and keep going at it for life.