Still waters run deep, they say, but Inderjeet Singh Bagga sees himself more as a flowing river. That’s not to say there’s any lack of depth, as unlike other business owners and entrepreneurs who retire to their recharge and reflect in their libraries or private studies or nature, the Director of Something Different Restaurants Pvt. Ltd has his ‘third space’ within him. “I am always assimilating what’s around me and processing it as I go along. Whether it’s designing a new menu or promotion or coming up with a new concept, I have a very different method as opposed to quick consultations with chefs and staff,” admits the owner of brands such as Pirates of the Grill and Prankster.
Banga does a lot of research out of curiosity whether he’s travelling the country and beyond or confined due to Covid. Whether it’s going and eating out at various buzzing restaurants (“but I don’t jealous of their success or try and ape them. You need to celebrate people and individual success.”) to see what’s working for them, or visiting his own outlets and striking up impromptu conversations with guests and servers to get a complete feedback loop, Bhanga, much like a river, collects all the trickles of information.
“Then, in the evening, I could be out driving with friends and spot a food stall around which there’s a crowd and will stop right there to have a taste to see what people are liking. It’s important not to put down people and listen to their opinion, just like it’s important to have your own,” reflects Bagga, who then sleeps over his day’s experiences and then holds video conferences with his chefs the next day over the learnings before having the final say.
Banga immersed himself in various businesses at 18 and gathered the resources for his passion project: opening a restaurant, which he did in 2009, with the first Pirates of the Grill. “I come from a family of agriculturists in Punjab, and my grandfather and father were great cooks themselves. Plus, we always had people coming home to eat so that sense of hospitality is also ingrained in me, and is part of the DNA of my restaurants, and every staff member” says Banga, adding that being able to make other people happy when they get what they exactly want is what gives him a rush.
“We recently had a family over at a Pirates outlet and their child wanted pizza, which that particular outlet didn’t have the equipment for as it wasn’t on the menu. Our staff asked them which brand of pizza they preferred so they could send across a runner and get it, and soon enough the kid was eating a Dominos pizza while his family could enjoy our food,” recounts Banga. Given the brand has 10 award-winning outlets across the country, the formula seems to be working.