Interview: Niketa Sharma, the visionary founder of Blah!

Niketa Sharma

An exclusive interview with Niketa Sharma, founder of Blah!

Welcome to an exclusive interview with Niketa Sharma, the visionary Founder of Blah!. Niketa’s remarkable journey in the hospitality industry is a testament to her passion, talent, and unwavering dedication.

Armed with an MBA in International Hospitality from Les Roches, Switzerland, Niketa’s roots in the culinary world trace back to her upbringing in Mumbai, where she cultivated a deep appreciation for the culinary arts.

Her exemplary achievements, including accolades like the Young Restaurateur of the Year at the F&B Leaders Mumbai 2023 and the Emerging Woman Entrepreneur of the Year at the Times Hospitality Icons Mumbai 2023, showcase her remarkable contributions and innovative spirit in the industry.

Join us as we delve into Niketa’s insights, experiences, and the remarkable journey that led her to establish Blah! and redefine the landscape of hospitality.

Could you tell us about your background and educational journey? How did your early experiences shape your career path and lead you to become an entrepreneur in the hospitality industry?

Niketa Sharma: Mumbai may have been my creative playground, but Uttar Pradesh is where my roots run deep. Though I initially gravitated towards journalism, the hospitality industry ignited a fire within me. Les Roches Switzerland, might seem like an unexpected turn, but it was there I honed my skills for an industry brimming with potential.

The hospitality world isn’t just about five-star service (though that’s important too!). It’s a hotbed of creativity, where growth and innovation are constant companions. That’s what truly captured my imagination and steered me towards this exciting field.

What motivated you to venture into the hospitality sector, and how has your journey evolved over the years?

Niketa Sharma: The hospitality industry thrives on innovation, and that’s what excites me. It’s a vast, untapped landscape where creativity reigns supreme. I’m here to push boundaries and craft unique, never-before-seen experiences for guests.

This industry’s potential for growth fuels my own. With every satisfied guest and groundbreaking idea, my own journey flourishes.

Blah! has become renowned for its unique dining experiences. What inspired you to create Blah!, and how does its concept reflect your vision for culinary innovation?

Niketa Sharma: I envisioned a place where brunch wasn’t just a meal, it was an experience. A cozy yet Instagram-worthy haven offering the perfect blend of relaxed vibes and picture-perfect aesthetics. Blah! is that vision brought to life.

An ultra-chic brunch spot with an avant-garde edge, where the drinks are as flowing as the good times and the only thing stopping the “Blah Blah Blah” are bites of our delicious food and sips of artisanal cocktails.

Blah! is known for its unique dining experiences. Could you share some insights into your approach to creating these experiences and the philosophy behind Blah!’s culinary offerings?

Niketa Sharma: In the energetic core of Mumbai, I dreamt of a haven offering a vibrant yet intimate escape. Blah!, named to playfully capture the essence of enthusiastic conversation, envisions a space where you can unwind and let the chatter flow freely, fueled by delicious drinks. We promise an experience you’ll eagerly anticipate, a place to connect and create memories.

In an industry known for its competitiveness, what strategies have you employed to differentiate Blah! and maintain its position as a culinary destination?

Niketa Sharma: We stand out from the crowd with our innovative approach. Our seasonal and celebratory tasting menus keep things fresh, while our culinary team constantly explores new flavor combinations in food and cocktails.

This dedication to exciting experiences, coupled with our commitment to exceptional service and consistent quality, has fueled our growth and loyal customer base. We retain happy customers and attract new ones with our unique and delicious offerings.

As an entrepreneur in the hospitality industry, what do you see as the current trends and challenges? How do you navigate these trends and overcome challenges to ensure the success of your ventures?

Niketa Sharma: In a crowded post-pandemic restaurant scene, focus on three things to keep customers coming back: staff, quality, and novelty. Regularly train your staff to ensure exceptional service.

Maintain consistent high food quality to build trust. Introduce new chef specials and owner recommendations to keep things exciting. This combination creates a memorable experience that keeps customers happy and loyal.

Apart from your professional endeavors, what are some of your personal interests and hobbies that you enjoy outside of work? How do you find balance between your personal and professional life?

Niketa Sharma: Fostering my well-being has become a top priority. Whether it’s whipping up a soul-warming meal, diving into a pool, or getting lost in a book, I prioritize activities that recharge me. As a budding entrepreneur in a creative field, disconnecting and unwinding are crucial for maintaining a perfect balance.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future of Blah! and any upcoming projects or initiatives we can expect from the brand?

Niketa Sharma: Blah!” is a great starting point, but for the future, we envision something that’s bolder, more evocative, and reflects our exquisite offerings. We’re brainstorming to capture that essence.

Our aspirations are grand and we plan to expand across India, with Delhi and Gurgaon being our first foray next year. Expect a brand refresh alongside new locations, showcasing the exciting journey we’re on.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to venture into the culinary or hospitality industry? What is your success tips for women entrepreneurs

Niketa Sharma: In the dynamic world of hospitality, success thrives on a hands-on approach. Embrace the daily challenges as opportunities to refine your vision. Remember, setbacks are inevitable stepping stones.

Learn from them with agility and grace and move forward with the resilience that epitomizes a true and courageous entrepreneur. In this spirit of continuous growth, you’ll cultivate a thriving haven for your guests.

Our conversation with Niketa Sharma, the dynamic Founder of Blah!, has provided a fascinating glimpse into the world of hospitality through her visionary perspective.

From her formative years in Mumbai to her academic pursuits at Les Roches, Switzerland, Niketa’s journey is one of passion, resilience, and relentless pursuit of excellence.

Her accolades, including prestigious awards such as the Young Restaurateur of the Year and Emerging Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, underscore her significant contributions and pioneering spirit in the industry.

As we bid farewell, Niketa’s inspiring story serves as a reminder that with determination, innovation, and unwavering commitment, one can carve a path to success and redefine the boundaries of possibility in the ever-evolving realm of hospitality.

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