The managing director of Queen’s Tandoor shares his experience in running a restaurant and his love for Jakarta.
For those who have their heart on Indian cuisine, Queen’s Tandoor is nothing new. This Indian restaurant have been in the city for 30 years, first established in 1986 by Ramesh Shamdasani in North Jakarta. The restaurant was first called Queen’s, serving Chinese cuisine. By 1991, the Indian cuisine was added to the menu, and the restaurant change their name to Queen’s Tandoor. Now, Queen’s Tandoor has grow very well, with two restaurants in Jakarta, six in Bali and one branch in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.
For the last three years, Ramesh Shamdasani give his ‘throne’ of operating the restaurant to one of his son, Girish Shamdasani. Born in Jakarta 25 years ago, Girish is very excited to manage the restaurant and keeping Queen’s Tandoor as the leading Indian restaurant in Indonesia, especially Jakarta. He came to work in the restaurant after graduated from University of Bath, UK, with B.Sc degree in Business Administration. “I never thought I’m going to work in the restaurant. But I have a passion for food, so I decided to join in this family business and I really love doing it now,” he says.
Eventhough he never manage a restaurant before, Girish is confident that he can bring Queen’s Tandoor to even better than now. “I kind of grow up in this restaurant, I know how things work here. In the corporate and managing side, I have experience from my previous work in investment banking help a lot. In terms of the service and menu, I learn a lot from my parents and I think for three years now I can say I’m doing very well in Queen’s” he explains.
First time he step in to the office, Girish faced quite a lot of challenge. One of them is the pressure of keeping the big name of Queen’s Tandoor that’s been known very well in Indian communities in Jakarta. “My dad raised quite high bar, so the challenge is how do I go even higher than that, to improve even better. One thing is maintaining the staffs. We have people that have been working with us for 15-20 years, very close to us just like family. That is very important to us,” says Girish.
Girish mention that Queen’s Tandoor still manage to be the leading Indian restaurant in Indonesia, especially Jakarta because of two thing: consistency and flexbility. “We barely change our menu. You can still find the same menu that have been in our restaurant for 30 years. Taste the same, because we have loyal staffs, our chef have been working 30 years with us. Second thing is flexibility, we’re open to creating menu that suited to customers. If you want item that’s not on the menu, our chef would be more than happy to create it,” he says.
Queen’s Tandoor now have 8 restaurants in Bali & Jakarta and another franchise in Saudi Arabia. Next, the challenge of this restaurant is how to attract local market, because now majority of the customer is Indian people who lives in Jakarta or the expats. “Most of local people in Jakarta doesn’t know Indian food very well. So we need to open something that suit their palate. We start to understand them better and maybe in the future open another restaurant that more suitable with them with different concept. We want the Indonesian customer to have something that familiar to them but also make them feel like they’re eating in Mumbai” says Girish.
10 things about Jakarta
- The people
I’ve been everywhere in the world, I’ve never seen friendly, outgoing and relaxed people like in Jakarta.
- The food
Lots of different cuisine in Jakarta from Indonesian, Chinese, Indian, western, and its all the best. I don’t think this is something you can find anywhere else.
- Nice weekend gateaway
The city around Jakarta is great. I can go to Bandung, Bogor, Puncak to spend the weekend away.
- Nightlife scene
Lots of rooftop bars, outdoor bars to drinking out and hang out with friends in the city.
- The growing trend of restaurants
A lot new restaurant coming up in the city. Every week there’s always something new to go to.
- The mall
The malls in Jakarta gives you the big city feeling. Most of the time I prefer the mall in Jakarta than Singapore.
- Festivals & concerts
I enjoy going to music festivals & concerts, plenty of opportunity to enjoy good music scene.
- Center of South East Asia
Easy to go to another country like Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and even Australia.
- The traffic
You got to appreciate the traffic. It’s very chaotic yet organized. If you can drive in Jakarta you can drive in anyhwhere else in the world.
- My job
I love my job, Queen’s is not only restaurant, we also have catering business. It involves a lot of traveling for me, connecting with people and it’s quite fun.