About Vikas Panjabi – The Gujpreneur
It is often said destiny is easy to find but hard to pursue. And those who pursue it are the ones who succeed in life. This story of Vikas Panjabi is one such story.
Vikas is the owner of the popular chocolate café – The Chocolate Room outlets spread across India. He was born and brought up in the Financial capital of Gujarat – Ahmedabad. He further completed his higher studies from Australia. In 2007 he moved back to India and established The Chocolate Room.
Journey of the Gujpreneur
Vikas knew that he was going to become an entrepreneur since his childhood. His internal instincts never besieged him on this.
He says, “As a child, I have always enjoyed coming up with new ideas. When I was in the primary section, I’d organize garage sales to raise money for appeals. I was quite good at selling since then.”
Vikas was pursuing his higher studies in Australia when he came across the outlets The Chocolate Room. Being a foodie and an ardent lover of chocolate himself, he loved the concept. Soon, he become a regular customer at the outlets. This is when the idea stuck his mind.
Vikas mentions, “I was a regular customer at The Chocolate Room in Australia. Having a keen eye for new ideas, I thought this venture can bring a revolution in the ‘Café Culture’ of India. Trusting my instincts, I and got this brand to India. The idea was to create a new chocolate culture in India.”
But venturing into the Indian market was not easy back then. In India, the locals saw chocolate as a delicacy for children. For them, Bournvita was the only drink made from chocolate. Not to ignore, this drink was also consumed by the children. When he discusses the idea with his family/friends, everyone laughed on it.
But Vikas had a positive instinct on this one. And so, he stuck to his idea. Eventually, Vikas started his first store in October 2007 in Ahmedabad.Today, the brand has over 335 cafes across India. Moreover, the plans of expansion are ready too. He feels that over the years, Indian audience has embraced chocolate as a classic delicacy for individual across all ages. They have also embraced the brand. He is certain that the crowd is ready to see more of it. Thus, Vikas aims to open 1,000 new cafes within a span of 5 years.
Sharing a key learning over these years he says, “I admit that I still make the classic mistake of working within my businesses, rather than on them”.
His Plans & Life Ahead
“At 41? I’ve only just started. Who knows what I’ll be doing next year, let alone five or even ten years down the line? I’m forever learning. I might not achieve my ambitions with the businesses I’m running now, but at least when I come up with the idea, I’ll have the knowledge and experience to make it into a really successful business.”
But Vikas wishes to set up his own charity someday, as well. He wishes use his goodwill, creativity and know-how to do good things in the community.
Life Lessons from the Food Enthusiast
Vikas has always worked with a team spirit. He feels that growing with the team is highly important and satisfying as an entrepreneur. Success is the effort of teamwork and not of an individual.
Furthermore, he feels that having a vision and trusting one’s instinct is important too.
Some of his tips are,
- Get Gritty. Grit is perseverance.
- Challenge yourself.
- Be passionate.
- Take risks.
- Believe in your instincts.
- Visualize goals
- Respect your team and grow with a proper teamwork.
Views on AtmaNirbhar Bharat
Vikas feels that taking the responsibility of self is the only way to grow. Furthermore, it also helps to help others as well. Each step taken empowers an individual and many others with it. It pays better dividends without much stress and chaos in the lives.
About The Chocolate Room
The Chocolate Room is one of the pioneers of the concept of ‘Chocolate Café’ in India. The brand has over 500 employees who serve an unique assortment of chocolates. It offers 12 different flavours of hot chocolate and has the World’s most famous chocolate shakes, Pancakes, Waffle, Fondues and Sundaes. It is also a house of all imported chocolates under one umbrella. In addition to this, the crockery used by the brand is traditional Italian crockery launched for the first time in India. This crockery can also be bought by the customers from their merchandise section. Internationally, The Chocolate Room has its presence in over 11 countries.
Best Wishes from Team Gujpreneur
The story of Vikas has made it clear that following one’s instincts and getting out of the comfort zone is one of the best ways to become a successful Gujpreneur. We, the Team at Gujpreneur, truly hope that you have loved the story and gained an insight or two. Here’s wishing you best for your upcoming endeavour(s).
Make sure you follow @Gujpreneur on Instagram and Facebook to be updated on new stories. Check out Gujpreneur.com to read them!