Your partner-in-crime or the alibi, who has your back; the trickster who got you into trouble or pulled you out of one; the one who you trusted with your secrets but not your box of candies—we’ve all had that love-hate relationship with our siblings.
So, what’s it like navigating adulthood for siblings as business partners? We asked siblings who’re first generation food business entrepreneurs, who’ve gone beyond childish feuds to start a legacy that will, hopefully, succeed them. Trust us, they’ll give you #SiblingGoals.
Rakshay and Radhika
Pass Code Hospitality, Delhi and Kolkata
If you deem yourself a cocktail enthusiast in India and haven’t visited PCO Delhi (provided you have the passcode!) , you must question your claims. Not only are the cocktails mixed here stellar, PCO is also one of the rare speakeasy bars that hold true the definition in India. The success of the bar is spearheaded by Rakshay and Radhika Dhariwal, who are also the driving force behind an American brasserie, SAZ; a private members club, ATM; South East Asian restaurant Ping's Cafe Orient; Italian-style martini bar PDA and regional Indian restaurant Jamun.
When the Dhariwal siblings opened doors of PCO Delhi to cocktail lovers in 2012, they envisioned a kind of place they frequented during their time in American universities—“Great cocktails, enthusiastic and knowledgeable mixologists and fun music,” says Rakshay. No speakeasy existed in India back then, “We decided to fashion PCO Delhi to fill this void and promote cocktail culture in the country,” he adds.
The Invincible Duo
Daring to do things differently, not compromising on quality, working with the best in the business and a lot of hard work; that's the secret sauce the Dhariwals' success. "More than anything we are a passionate group of people who really enjoy putting together projects that offer something new and unique for the city," is how they describe their drive to create such successful concepts.
Pass Code Hospitality’s success comes from recognising what the other sibling is good at. What works for Rakshay and Radhika is dividing their responsibilities, and consulting each other and their core team of senior executives.
DynamicsYes, there are yelling matches. “Both of us can be quite stubborn,” Rakshay
tells us, quickly adding that both have complimentary and differentiating skill
sets. “We also know that we have each other’s backs and our best interest at
The world is their oyster. Pass Code Hospitality is steadily spreading their footprints to other Indian cities such as Kolkata and Goa with plans in the pipeline for Mumbai and Hyderabad. “We’re focused on growing Ping’s Cafe Orient and SAZ - American brasserie across India and launch PCO and Jamun internationally,” Rakshay elucidates.
Mehma and Meherwan
Artisan Meats, Noida
This three-and-half year old, Noida-based food start-up was founded by Mehma Bawa and her brother Meherwan. On their menu is a range of juicy, ready-to-cook meat products, smoked sausages and cured meats.
After his culinary training in Italy and visits to charcuterie farms, Meherwan realised India had no access to similar, great quality products. “Our goal was to use the age old techniques of butchery and charcuterie, and produce an international product for the Indian consumer,” says Mehma.
The Invincible DuoHow do you know the Bawa siblings’ business model is solid? Veteran food
writers and critics fawn over their products, and even though Artisan Meat
products are easily available in the NCR, the demand is great in Mumbai as
well. “We barely spend on marketing/advertising and rely heavily on word of
mouth sales, I can't complain about our growth trajectory,” says a beaming Mehma.
The siblings spent a lot of time in R&D and gauging customer demands in the first year. It took around two years to change people’s mindset and to educate them on the differences between Artisan Meats products and factory-processed meat. “In the third year, restaurants began to purchase from us, the revolution of sourcing great quality local produce, has been our mantra since day one,” Mehma says.
DynamicsWhat drives the Bawas’ idiosyncratic relationship? The sibling bond, and
also knowing what ticks off the other. “We could yell and shout at each other
and make up in a minute,” they both say. Perhaps because they also live
together, work conversations never end and can get annoying. “But that's okay.
They're also very stimulating and keep us on track.”
Mehma is proud of her brother, “Meherwan is a genius in the kitchen and knows how to run a tight ship. He takes care of all aspects of the kitchen from recipes to ingredient sourcing to staff training to hygiene. And, oh! He's a stickler for cleanliness.” She considers herself the “numbers person” who takes care of accounts, logistics, food costs, the works.
After creating a niche for themselves, their next goal is to become a common household name for best quality meat. In the offing are aged meats, something the siblings are very excited for. “Hopefully at the end of five years we would have replaced imported cured and aged meats in restaurants across the city,” adds Mehma.
Apeksha Kamath and
Taiki is a portmanteau of ‘Tai’ (great) and ‘Ki’ (brightness)—an idea that brother-sister duo Apeksha Kamath and Krish Nayak built from scratch in December 2018. The modern Asian restaurant draws inspiration from Japanese noodle bars, street food from Korea and Thailand and other amazing flavours of Asia.
The Invincible Duo
“It is a relationship that is true and honest,” say the duo, who believe that sibling relationships are stronger than any other partnership. Coming from the same family, "our work ethic and philosophy are in sync, which has contributed to the growth of the business," they tell us. It was a long-standing dream for the siblings, to open a restaurant of their own.
“Years spent abroad and frequent travels around the world meant that we could try many wonderful cuisines of different styles and cultures,” says Kamath. Although they both have a technology background, the passion for food and the challenges involved in running a food business motivated them to take the plunge. Naik is a mechanical engineer with an MBA; Kamath specialized in marketing and HR.
“Krish and I have always been in sync, which has been a big driver for growth
and success of our business,” says Kamath. The roles are clearly divided—Naik
manages marketing and analytics and she handles the financial and operational
aspects. “Our skill sets complement each other, and it never feels like we're
stepping on the other’s toes,” she adds.
There is of course the challenge of separating work life from personal life: “We have to make a conscious effort to not do too much business talk outside of work.”
Over the next five years, the siblings want to make brand Taiki the most popular Asian casual dining brand in Bengaluru. “Palates are bound to diversify with time and we intend to continuously push some of the boundaries and keep our flavours unique, fresh and exciting,” Kamath is optimistic.
Featured image: Shutterstock.com
Inside images courtesy: All featured entrepreneurs