Taking a giant leap: Meenakshi and Arvind Raju

These youngsters are extremely determined, raring to go and simply unstoppable. Here are some swashbuckling next-generation entrepreneurs on the Bengaluru block. Hailing from influential families in the city, they are poised to not just survive but thrive on their own. Be it taking the family legacy forward or carving their own niche, they are all set to soar the skies. Some with their start up spirits while the others juggling novel and innovative ideas into the existing ventures. Meet the all-powerful GenNext.

Text by Namita Gupta.

Meenakshi and Arvind Raju, Owners, The Biere Club

Family foundation: Meenakshi Raju, the savvy entrepreneur shares, “We’re a typical Indian family. Arvind lives with our parents, who have a huge influence on our day-to-day lives, right from instilling principles to values to beliefs to ethics. We are extremely close and have to meet up with each other at least once a week. We’re restaurateurs primarily but are also into property development. We manage two outlets of ‘The Biere Club’ in Bengaluru and are now also launching a new Pan Asian restaurant this month. Besides this, we have also developed a software that has automated the back end process of restaurant operations. But due to various network related setbacks we are unable to launch the product yet.”

The written word: “We were born and raised in Bengaluru. But we travelled abroad to study and work. In fact our travels gave us the idea of starting this new concept. Soon after Arvind got back after his Masters in Hospitality Management, and while I still had a corporate job, we started brain storming ideas for our own venture and came upon the idea of starting microbreweries in India,” says Meenakshi.

Biz whiz: “With the Biere Club we started the very first Micro Brewery & Kitchen in South India and now with a successful stint of six years, we intend to expand and take The Biere Club to other places in and out of the country. We always wanted to venture out on our own. The family business was started with four partners initially. A generation later, there are multiple active partners and participants in the day to day affairs. Hence decision making, growth and learning become compact in terms of scope. The challenges of setting up and running a place on your own teach you plenty and learning is very important to both of us at this stage. In our case, our challenge began from working with the state governments to allow for microbreweries to be set up in the country. We approached various state governments and worked with a few to frame policies and laws to introduce the concept. We then had to find vendors who could supply the required equipment and raw materials and went abroad to get them for our first project. Every step was a learning and we left no stone unturned to create a “brand”. We were lucky to have got huge support from the family! Our father’s experience and network helped us approach banks and the government and this has helped us build a good relationship with these institutions,” states Arvind Raju, Meenakshi’s brother and partner in the firm.

Taking the Legacy forward: The brother-sister duo look positive and have big plans ahead. “We will definitely continue to look out for opportunities to take the company forward, both hospitality and real estate sides of the business.”

Challenges of being a CEO: Arvind says, “We believe we have been instrumental in introducing a new concept to the hospitality sector in Karnataka and that is a huge high point in our careers. In fact, we are also constantly approached by several state governments in India to understand the concept of the microbrewery industry. They often call us a benchmark which is very encouraging. The brand is also well recognised across the country and everywhere we go, we hear people referring to our brand in a positive way.” Recalling one of their favourite stories, Meenakshi adds, “A friend’s cousin used to work at a pub in Nice, and he heard about The Biere Club from a localite there, who used to frequent his pub. This customer of his visited Bengaluru and when he went back to Nice, he spoke about The Biere Club and recommended the place to him. Other encouraging moments are to see our regulars at the restaurants. Our customers are of various age groups, some even octa’s and nona’s and they visit us every week, some even every day.”

Life outside workplace: “Both of us love travelling and are foodies. We love trying out new concepts and cuisines. I enjoy cooking and we love entertaining,” share Meenakshi and Arvind in unison.