On the up Hunter Ruthven · 2 December 2015
Family business series: Brilliant Restaurant demonstrates recipe for success
If you’re a small family business looking to take advantage of Small Business Saturday, of which American Express is the principal supporter, on 5 December, then you may be interested in our special series of features looking at companies run by a family unit. Here at Business Advice we’ve already heard from Leoframes and A Hume Country Clothing, and now it is time for a company from the hospitality sector Brilliant Restaurant. Data from the Institute of Family Business suggests that 16 family companies open every day, but what makes a functioning and successful firm staffed by loved ones? Brilliant Restaurant is a third generation, family-run Indian restaurant in Southall operated by Dipna Anand, her father Gulu Anand and brother Shanker Anand.The restaurant has been on Western Road for over 30 years and as a history steeped in family heritage. Dipna’s grandfather, Bishen Dass Anand, opened the first Brilliant Restaurant in Kenya in the 1950s. His sons and daughters helped in the running of the restaurant and enjoyed growing up in and around its customers and its food. Not only was Bishen Dass a master of his trade but he was known to many as being the head chef and was frequently cooking for the Maharaja’s and chief ministers in Kenya. When Bishen Dass passed away in 1970, his family continued the legacy of The Brilliant. In 1973, the Anand family moved to the UK and two of Bishen Dass? sons, Kewal and Gulu Ananddecided to carry on the tradition and trademark of the Brilliantand in 1975, Gulu opened the Brilliant Restaurant on Western Road. The restaurant started as a 30 seat venueand ever since has extended seven times and is now a 220 seat establishment. Ithas grown organically and also is a cookery school and sells its own brands of pickles and chutneys alongside a recipe book released by Dipna. Both father, Gulu, and daughter, Dipna, cook in the restaurant while Dipna’s brother, Shanker, manages front of house but they all like to take turns. Dipna said: Customers walk in and they see us all together and feel a part of the family and that’s what keeps them coming. When you visit a place you don’t only want good food you want the whole experience and we are able to engage and as a result, 70 per cent of customers are regulars because we have built that personal relationship with them. Gulu added: We are as authentic as you can get, which attracts our customers. Some of the food we cook here is exactly what were cooking and eating at home, which is what they want. it’s fantastic that my children are now working in the businesses that Ive started theyve brought in their own ideas and improvements across the whole restaurant. Were third generation here, and were starting to see third generation customers coming into our restaurant!? To find out more, we put some additional questions to the family. (1) How has it changed over the years? In many ways. We continually tweak and make changes to ensure we keep ahead of the times and also stay competitive in the market place. Over the 40 years we have been open we have gone from being a 40 seat to a 250 seat restaurant and extended the restaurant six times and are still short of space. Although our menu has been the same in regards to my grandfather’s recipes dating back to over 65 years that still continue today, we have also introduced a few “new” menu items over the years and this includes a range of healthy option dishes for the health conscious punter. Over the years, as we have grown organically, we have also had to increase the number of chefs and waiting staff to cope with demand. We also now have a cook book written by chef Dipna who also runs the Brilliant School of Cookery.We have also had lots of television coverage over the years and this has attracted even more customers to visit the restaurant so we now attract an even wider market. (2) What is enjoyable about running a business with your family? The way in which we can all work together to achieve the common success motive is most enjoyable about running a family business. We are a close knit family and each of us adds value in out own way to the business. We all have different strengths and together once we piece all of those together as a family we run a slick restaurant operation which has gone from strength to strength. When one of us is unsure of something we ask each other and can then come to a suitable outcome which we all agree with. Working as a family is what makes us so Brilliant! (3) What unique advantages are there that other businesses, which arent family run, don’t have?
ABOUT THE EXPERTHunter Ruthven
Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.