In Conversation with Mr. Tushar Dalal, owner of Mani Mansion – the ITC WelcomeHeritage property that is exclusive in the state of Gujarat. A veteran hotelier Tushar Dalal is known to have preserved the ancestral home that was visited by stalwarts of the freedom struggle. Literary giants and architects of modern India likewise. He has been instrumental in renovating the age-old heritage property into a place of luxury living with star amenities and quality food.
You are one of the pioneers in the hospitality and food industry in Ahmedabad. Tell us something about the history associated with your business.
I am a textile graduate by education and worked in the chemical industry for long before getting into hospitality. It was in 1990 that I thought of getting into the food and hotel industry with the objective of keeping my ancestral property with myself and for the sheer passion for the industry.
I took many ideas from friend and relatives, I thought on an option such as old age home, hostels for students and then the concept of service apartment came to my mind in the year 2007. I started with 4 rooms at first. Food was given on request by my Maharaj(House Chef). SNL Financial corporate was the first client of my hotel – Corporate Suites. Soon the number of service apartments increased to 12.
In the year 2012 restaurant named Fresh Roast was started. It is a multi-cuisine restaurant, coffee bar, Gujarati Thali named RuduBhojan. ‘The restaurant`s specialty is Gujarati, Punjabi, and Continental. There is a Garden Restaurant where 100 people can gather, 80 people in Banquet and 35 people in the indoor restaurant and 20 people in the poolside restaurant. Today, our restaurant is a ranked 7th best restaurant in the town of Zomato and Dineout.
As you progressed to create your own niche what were the major challenges faced?
For ant hotel and food business, the location is a critical factor. Since Mani Mansion is located interiors away from the main Ashram road, it was initially the greatest bottleneck. As the popularity grew, people started recognizing it as an important happening place. Another factor has been that the city has been migrating to West. Consequently, many customers find it more useful to stay and eat at newly opened up places in Western Ahmedabad and not realizing the homely heritage atmosphere as we provide at Mani Mansion.
Tell us something about the business model adopted associating with ITC.
Since 2015 we are associated with WelcomeHeritage group. Our name was changed from corporate suites to Mani Mansion. And now we are known as “WelcomHeritage Mani Mansion”. The property sprawls around 2700 square feet. The association with ITC has been very fruitful, particularly so in the domain of staff training, marketing, sales, and advertising.
The revenue generated is 50% from the restaurant and 50% from the hotel. Sales have gone up by 70% after the association.
What is your advice to budding entrepreneurs in this field?
The hospitality industry is capital intensive as a lot of money has to be pumped into land and infrastructure. Operations costs are equally high. If the young entrepreneur is borrowing money or renting, then it will be difficult to sustain in the industry for long. But, yes, if he has his own money than he will definitely sustain in the market resulting in a bright future.