August is Women’s Month and Your Business Magazine turns the spotlight on five exceptional women who are building great businesses…
Prim Reddy, The Indian Chapter
Prim Reddy says that food has always been at the very core of who she is. “Spices are like perfume and the culinary world is like an orchestra with different instruments coming together to create a symphony,” the vivacious media presenter turned restaurant owner says. Starting The Indian Chapter, an Indian restaurant located in Cape Town’s West Coast suburb Milnerton, was a dream that Reddy says she stumbled upon, and which has been an amazing journey over the last five years. “We have carved for ourselves a wonderful place in both the hearts and tummies of guests, both locally and from abroad.” While not a trained chef, Reddy earned the title of ‘celebrity chef’ while working for Shoprite Checkers and their food world. “That brought my skill to life and their responses warmed my heart, but diving into an industry in which I had no experience meant that I had to learn to swim quickly.”
Reddy says it was challenging to take on an existing team, who came along with the restaurant she took over and re-invented. Their morale was low, and they lacked energy and commitment. “So we agreed to swap skills. I taught them marketing, PR, and how to grow the business; and they taught me operations. It started to come together beautifully.” Reddy lays out the reality of working in a food-related business: You have to keep your hand on the pulse and you are only as good as your last meal. Never take anything for granted. There are many restaurants and people have lots of options so you have to create an experience second to none. At The Indian Chapter, Reddy says their team operates like a family, with guests welcomed in like family. “We visit every table every night and our aim is to make guests feel extra special as they savour the fare,” she says.
Recipe for success
Reddy isn’t content to stop with her restaurant achievement. She announces that they’re busy launching a unique cookbook with old favourites and some exciting new recipes, and that they’ve also been approached by a catering company to take their sauces into the retail space. Then there’s some menu development for a new tapas bar launching at a boutique hotel in Cape Town. She seems to have taken the advice that she offers out to women starting a business: “Look at what is done and do it better. There are too many ordinary things; people are searching for something extraordinary, something special and with meaning. You can’t sell a product; you have to sell an experience – if you have energy and love for what you do, people will start to feel the same way about your business.” Sound advice from someone who has learnt characteristics like perseverance through doing the hard yards; “I went for hundreds of auditions before I was hired to work as a presenter. I was shorter and fatter than all the other presenters, but I knew I had something special. We all do; so never stop trying because you never know when it will be your time to take the stage…”