Can you give a brief introduction about yourself and also tell us something about Banquet18?
Flavian Quadros D’souza. Extremely ambitious, always smiling & a go getter is what I would like to introduce myself as. Banquet 18 Is a brand which caters to corporate their daily meals – Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks & Dinner. We also do weddings & large corporate events. I am a qualified gold medalist in healthcare management & successfully have completed my stints both nationally & internationally in the genre of healthcare for about 8 yrs before I went ahead & diversified to where my heart really belonged.
What ignited the spark in you to start Banquet18?
‘You are what you eat’ A small personal incident reminded me of this adage. Very often young professionals who work in various offices around the world, live on the food provided in corporate cafeteria’s. They do not realize the impact this food has on their lives.. In younger years we take the impact of all this quite lightly. Hence the parent company – Flavours Culinary Solutions Pvt Ltd was born in 2015. Banquet 18 was the brand launched with a vision to make healthy food available for the masses. Banquet 18’s vision was to be a Food provider with responsibility who will not use artificial food colors, soda or ajinomoto beyond permissible limits. We embarked on this journey to make a difference to corporate high stress lives. Coz 80% of the problems all link back to what have you been eating.
Can you share your future goals for Banquet18.
In a short span of about 2 years, Banquet 18 has grown to serve around 800 meals daily to different corporate houses in Bangalore. We have also grown to be loved by our wedding clients and are famous for doing ‘things differently’. Be it service, presentations or simply lip smacking food. From fusion menu’s to multi cuisine counters – everything done with a dash of difference. This has brought us to be in the top 5 caterers in Bangalore.
Our goal is to firstly not forget the basics of what we do & how we do. Together with this to serve more corporate employees their meals. To reach our target figure of 5000 meals per day & hence make a difference to their health. To be the number 1 caterer in Bangalore in the genre of events- where we will continue to improvise and do better and different work where food will be the highlight of the memories your guests take back!
Where there any challenges you faced while starting Banquet18? How did you manage to overcome them.
Concept validation – Its difficult for decision authorities at corporate houses to understand the necessity to have their employees eat correct. Very few of them understand the impact or repercussions of wrong food on their life. Constantly educating them about this is slowly helping this concept get ingrained.
It’s a man world out there! – It’s a labour intensive hard working industry – Full of men. Each day I go to work, I am surrounded by a dozen men. For them to take orders and abide by a woman at the top was I guess overwhelming. But as time went by and they witnessed they have a hands on boss, opinions changed & begun getting respected & aligned to my vision.
Work life balance – When I started Banquet 18, my daughter (Annika) was just 8 months old. I started by preparing healthy meals on my own n delivering it to the people in my apt complex. When the counts rose to 50 is when I took the decision to embark on the journey of entrepreneurship. It wasn’t easy with a less than a yr old child, with no parents or in laws in the same geographic zone as we were in & yet I decided to start this! Striking that balance was the toughest thing ever.
What are your views on the thought,it’s harder and more struggling for females to make a mark professionally?
Yes indeed it is a tad bit harder for the women to achieve what they do especially as entrepreneurs. (Well, not belittling the effort men put in & husband has been my biggest & strongest support in chipping in equally for all responsibilities at all times despite having his equally strong & demanding corporate career) & the reason for this is the various hats we dawn as females – we are daughters’, sisters’ wifes’ mothers’
Out of all, I personally felt the MOTHER’s hat was & is the toughest. For not having any support system in terms of parents or in laws anywhere in the radium of 100’s of kms where I lived. I realized that I could not do this alone, hence co-opted a lot of people as in what the need was. I co-opted for lovely ‘DIDI’s (as Annika calls them) my husband & myself took special care in picking the right kind of people to help us & be with our little one. I Co-opted on my husband at times, he made sure he had made himself available for those extra hours I put in on weekends. I co-opted for friends & neighbours in my building, who kept her occupied till I got home if I got stuck in Bangalore traffic at times. As a couple we prioritized on a lot of quality time with her more than quantity. That cutting a lot of unwanted socializing. I saw to it that I haven’t missed any of her school performances or projects or the smallest skit she’s a part of till date. So keeping that balance has been the toughest leg & still is the most important leg for me. My biggest inspiration has been my mom in this aspect. She ran her business & helped dad in his all through our growing up years. But I never remember ever missing my mom. She was always there. We grew up as strong independent adults.
What piece of advice would you like to give to the aspiring youth who wish to pursue their dream of becoming an entrepreneur?
Solve a real problem! Not just fancy the word startup!! Chase the dream.. not just pursue it. And once you start the chase, don’t look back! Quitting should never be an option.
My father who’s a Mumbai based successful entrepreneur himself for the last 48 yrs, told me just one line – ‘If you’re gonna think of this as an option, your definitely gonna quit’. Work like your dream is only thing & quitting is no option – This is the only thing I would like to tell all budding entrepreneurs.
According to you, what are the top three essential skills needed in an entrepreneur?
Hardwork – Without this nothing is possible to achieve.
Perseverance – Extremely important to be patient and not give up.
Discipline – Not having this can ruin it all. This is the cornerstone.
Words for IWIL
I think it’s a great platform to encourage women entrepreneurs. I hope more and more women take the plunge. Continue the awesomeness