(New Delhi) “When we rented this place, it was a godown with no windows or doors or flooring. There wasn’t even electricity. We literally built the place from scratch. Most of the furniture is upcycled. Whenever we travelled, we picked up stuff. We did all the painting ourselves. Everybody encouraged us and asked us to go for it. We were each other’s biggest support. When you have somebody to work with you, it gets easier. 

We started working on the place in 2011 and opened it in 2012. We built it gradually because we were not doing it with a money-making objective. It was a place for us to enjoy and be happy, the business just grew from there. In the first year, the business was very slow as we were very far away from other commercial and popular areas. The area has now really grown in the past three years, more so with the development of Metro. 

We always wanted to have a tea house called the Rose Café, which is very English. The concept was to have something to do with roses and tea. We just put together what we liked and the food we ate at home. Our main idea was that it should be simple and fresh food that everybody would be familiar with. We are trying to keep it healthy and yet not too over the top that people will find it boring. 

Many people said that we should open a franchise. But we chose not to make it a chain. We don’t want to have any investors. We have decided to keep it small and simple. This is not just a business for us; we love to see people happy here and we get direct feedback from our customers. They tell us what they don’t like and we change it and further develop that area. People are used to seeing us around. They know it’s an owner driven café. We make mistakes and we adjust. We are not overambitious or competitive. We have never done any advertising or marketing; we built our clientele through word-of-mouth.

We feel that we are very lucky because we have had great reviews and feedback on all the food forums. If a food blogger shows an interest in reviewing our food, we tell them not to tell us in advance. We don’t believe in calling somebody and paying them for a review. We want people to come here, relax and enjoy themselves: without any stress.

Sometimes, we do get worked up when our chef leaves or when we are understaffed, which happens quite often. In the beginning, we used to get really hyper but, now, we take things in our stride. Everyone including the customers are very relaxed in the café. No one yells at us or is hysterical.”

(Rose Cafe is one of the popular cafes in Delhi and is run by the mother-daughter duo.)