“The main goal is to support the growth and development of the restaurant industry in Goa and promote the interests of local restaurant businesses”

Business Goa speaks to Prahlad Sukhtankar, Chapter Head of the recently launched National Restaurant Association of India Chapter in Goa; and finds out about his plans for the restaurant industry in the State

What is the NRAI all about?
The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) is India’s largest trade association that represents the Indian restaurant industry and interests of 5 lakh businesses across the country.
Its goal is to promote and protect the interests of its members, provide education and support and advocate for policies that benefit the largest employer in the country, which is, the restaurant industry.
Your experience in the hospitality sector over the years. I graduated from Les-Roches, Switzerland and I have over 20 years of experience in the hospitality sector. I have lived and worked in Switzerland, Ireland, US, Canada and India which has helped me gain an in-depth understanding of the food service industry.
My global experience exposed me to the laws and best practices across the world. In the last 10 years we have run 3 restaurant brands in Goa and built relationships within the industry which we can leverage for the betterment of our industry and the Goa Chapter of NRAI.

What are the aims and objectives of the NRAI Goa Chapter?
The specific aims and objectives of the NRAI Goa Chapter may vary, but they are largely in line with the goals of the national organisation. Some objectives of the NRAI Goa Chapter include the following:
1. Representing the interests of restaurants and food service businesses in Goa.
2. Providing training, and support to members in Goa to help them succeed and grow their businesses.
3. Building relationships with other organisations and stakeholders in the food service industry, be it suppliers, trade bodies, government agencies, and consumer groups.
4. Facilitating networking and exchange of ideas among members.
5. Promoting responsible business practices.

Who is part of your team and what strengths do they bring to the table?
The core committee members are: Prahlad Sukhtankar (Partner, The Black Sheep Bistro, Black-Market and Melt Pizzabar); Akshay Quenim (Partner, Tataki and Shoyu in Hyderabad); Girish Desai (Proprietor, Kokni Canteen and Catpro Catering), Rajesh Salgaonkar (Proprietor, Salgaonker Hotels); Pranav Dhuri (Partner, Petisco and Café Tato Chain) and Amey Naik (Partner, Peep Kitchen and Avo’s Kitchen).
Veteran of the tourism industry in Goa and serial entrepreneur, Gaurish Dhond and Senior Vice President of IHCL (Taj Hotels) Vincent Ramos are on the advisory committee to guide us every step of the way.
Our team brings in a range of strengths, including knowledge and experience in the restaurant and food service industry, advocacy skills, networking and relationship-building, strong inter-personal skills, experience in training and knowledge of industry best practices.
Furthermore, the board members and trustees of NRAI, entrepreneurs like Riyaz Amlani of Impresario Group, Kabir Suri of Azure Hospitality, A.D Singh of Olive group and many others, the team at National NRAI Secretariat and Chapter heads across the nation are always a phone call away for support.

What are the various projects as head of the NRAI Goa Chapter that you have envisaged in the near future?
The specific projects will depend on the needs and goals of the industry. For example, we are currently working with the Goa Forest Development Corporation (GFDC) under the leadership of Dr Deviya Rane to help organise the Cashew Fest 2023. I am sure you will appreciate the value of promoting local and sustainable produce. Cashews are an important crop in Goa and the festival presents a unique opportunity to highlight the versatility of this delicious and nutritious ingredient to the world.
Some of our other projects will include training and education seminars, networking events, advocacy initiatives, promotion of sustainable practices, and collaboration with other organisations.

Explain to us the synergy between NRAI Goa Chapter and NRAI.
The synergy between the NRAI Goa Chapter and the national level NRAI lies in their shared goal of promoting the growth and development of the Indian restaurant industry. The NRAI provides support and resources to the Goa Chapter, while the Goa Chapter helps to bring the needs and concerns of the local restaurant community to the attention of the national level NRAI.
Through this close collaboration, the NRAI and the NRAI Goa Chapter are able to effectively represent the interests of the Indian restaurant industry and provide valuable support and resources to its members. By working together, the NRAI and its regional chapters are able to promote the growth and success of the Indian restaurant industry, both at the local and national level.

How are you building a connect with the industry to further the aims and objectives of NRAI Goa Chapter?
To build a connect with the industry, our core committee attends industry events and local networking opportunities. We send newsletters to our members, share industry research data which help our members in their businesses. We brought members together at the formal launch of the Goa Chapter at Cidade de Goa by Taj. We utilise social media to connect with industry professionals and members of the NRAI Goa Chapter.
We attend industry conferences and events organised by other chapters and finally, we engage with the NRAI Goa Chapter by staying in touch through communication channels such as the Chapter WhatsApp group and NRAI One App.

What is your goal as chapter head and how do you plan on achieving the same?
The main goal is to support the growth and development of the Indian in Goa and promote the interests of local restaurant businesses. To achieve this, we are engaging with members of the NRAI Goa Chapter to understand their needs and concerns, and working to address them through initiatives and events.
Our core committee is working on developing a strategic plan and we will be planning a few events in the near future
We are collaborating with the national level NRAI to provide resources and support to local chapter, especially legal matters. Our members are also working towards fostering relationships with industry stakeholders and decision-makers to promote the interests of local restaurants.

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