In Conversation with ‘Japtej Ahluwalia’
Think desi burgers, think Double Roti. Basking in the goodness of Indian flavours, Double Roti’s menu has ‘all things bread’ to offer! With finger licking sandwiches, yummy crust pizzas and scrumptious burgers, there is not a crumb that you wouldn’t lick off the plate, or should we say pan? Yes, they serve their food in pans, desi style, with the concept of home cooking and serving, brought right to your table…
Let’s spill the beans:
Lyf&Spice aims to bring people from behind the kitchen or restaurant right in front of you, through the series ‘Spill the Beans’. This time L&S got in conversation with the man behind the quirky café and this is what he had to say. Presenting Japtej Ahluwalia from behind the scenes of Double Roti:
L&S: Interesting name ‘Double Roti’- what’s the reason behind it?
JA: We wanted to come up with a brand name that is generic in nature, and at the same time it should represent bread at large. Thus, the name Double Roti! We then started playing around with the bread based menu and came up with sandwiches, burgers, pizzas and more. We knew it had to be an Indian menu, so a desi name was inevitable.
L&S: Why did you choose Whitefield as the location?
JA: The most famous hubs of Bangalore have already been taken by lounges, eateries and clubs. In fact, the likes of 100 Feet Road, MG Road, Church Street and Koramangala are saturated. I found a space that could target the people of Whitefield, Marathahalli and the surrounding areas. This location seemed perfect and so far, has been working really well for us.
L&S: Your kitchen here (Whitefield, Bangalore) looks sparkling and flawless. Please tell us something about your kitchen.
JA: I feel a kitchen is the window to a restaurant. I believe in it quite literally, as I leave a window where people can actually view the space their food is coming from. This gives the team a boost to keep it sparkling clean at all times and enjoy cooking while people watch. We have a good and clean layout to prevent confusion and overlaps. Besides the cleanliness aspect, the kitchen is so designed that it works on electricity. There is no gas used here, giving it an edge of safety.
We believe in fresh food. Thus, the pizza dough is rolled and made fresh every single time. Separate pans are used for vegetarian and non-vegetarian items, as are separate sections for grilling and frying them. Since this kitchen is the heart of our restaurant, we all wear a head gear while working in the kitchen.
L&S: We want to know more about the man behind the brand. Tell us something about yourself.
JA: When it comes to work, I can be really aggressive with pursuing my passion. But, as a person, I’m a laid back, lazy kinda guy who loves to relax and chill. My work demands me to think of new concepts all the time. I have to be on the move always. I don’t enjoy biking or reading; instead, I love partying, but that seems to have reduced due to work. I love exploring the city of Chennai. The city just grows on you – its vibes, the perfect beach town feel, and of course, the parties.
Initially I wondered if I did the right thing of starting my own business, because I have to remain switched ‘on’ to word mode all the time. I miss the days of chilling while I was working for a company. As the days passed, I realized it was the best decision I made and I’d rather not have it any other way. It is a small price to pay for the long run.
Double Roti was the brainchild of my partner and co-founder Nikesh Lamba and Myself. It came into being on December 2013 in Gurgaon. Our aim was for it to be a known food and beverage company, and we would only like to open more branches and expand the company.
L&S: What is Double Roti’s signature dish?
JA: I love the entire menu, but if I had to pick a few, I’d pick Oreo o Oreo shake, Double Trouble (veg) Burger, Illegal Burger and many more…
L&S: What are some of the biggest challenges that you face in this industry?
JA: You have to be very patient in this industry. Moreover, it looks absolutely glamorous and flamboyant, but it takes a lot to keep it running. You have to give it your all, tirelessly! Retaining people and having a strong Human Resource team is another very big challenge in today’s scenario.
L&S: A shout-out to your team?
JA: Yes, indeed! A big shout-out to Nikesh Lamba, and all my 120 employees. It has been a very strong and supportive team with great inputs from the managerial level. All the team members receive their training in Chennai and branch out to other regions eventually. They are doing a great job across all branches.
L&S: What’s your take on reviews and reviewers?
JA: Food reviews and posts on Zomato and other networks are a necessary evil that we have to live with. We try to strike a balance between quality and service. While we cannot expect a perfect rating all the time, as it can be subjective, we can surely focus on quality and service that we provide to the customer, hoping that we deliver the best to them.
L&S: Any challenges in managing North versus South Indian kitchens?
JA: My motive from the very beginning has been not just to be just a restaurant, but to be a chain of restaurants. Following that dream, my team and I keep a lot of things in mind right from fresh ingredients and their availability pan India to the needs and wants of customers, their taste and liking, and the environmental conditions of the region. We always brainstorm the concept for North versus South India. We design the menu to the best of their palettes. For example: Customers in Gurgaon (where I started off) knew what the term Double Roti (bread in Hindi) meant, while customers in Chennai initially expected to be served double rotis or two rotis in a meal literally. Thus, the tagline ‘sandwich bar and cafe’ came into being!
L&S: Any piece of advice to upcoming restaurateurs?
JA: Dream big, but have clarity of what your dreams are and how you want to achieve them! Be extremely patient about starting off your own venture.
About Double Roti:
Double Roti is a fun, quirky and service oriented sandwich bar and café located at various parts of India. Started in 2013, this café has taken burger lovers by storm! Colourful interiors, thematic setting, creative menu and innovative presentation styles are key differentiators. With outlets in Pune, Chennai and Bangalore, make sure to stop by for a bite. They also have their own bar, serving a variety of cocktails, mocktails and shakes.
Pop in for a bite… and connect with them:
Lyf&Spice goes burger crazy!
Lyf&Spice wishes team Double Roti and Japtej all the best for their evergreen venture!
The food scene went berserk with goodies overflowing on the table, ranging from burgers, pizzas, shakes to vegetarian versions of these succulent pieces.
Want to see a video review on my channel HIGH ON FOOD? Click here.
Stay tuned for a review on the food at Double Roti & to find out all that I ate…
Spread some #foodlove by sharing the posts from this series.
Don’t forget to use these hashtags –> #lyfandspice #spillthebeansseries