Sankalp Trivedi has a rule when it comes to growing his restaurant business: Take your time.
Trivedi always has waited at least six months before taking the next step in expansion. The intent is to make sure the business is stable before growing again. So far, that rule has worked for him and his business partner and wife, Trusha.
The pair opened their first restaurant, Mausam, in Seacaucus in 2010.
This past September, they hit the streets of New York City with a Mausam Curry N Bites food truck.
And in April, they turned the success of that food truck into a new brick-and-mortar Mausam location in Montclair.
"I think it's all about making calls. It's not about whether your call is right or wrong," Trivedi said. "Your scare factor should be whether you are able to handle that work."
Trivedi, who has a master's in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University, analyzes all of his decisions.
"I'm a pure, logical and mathematical personality," he said.
Trivedi's first call was choosing to open the flagship Mausam location on Paterson Plank Road in Seacaucus.
That facility contains a restaurant and three banquet rooms and has given the Trivedis space to build a wholesale business, selling food to other restaurants and caterers and hawking 100,000 samosas to push-cart vendors across New York City last year alone.
The strength of their samosa business helped the Trivedis see that a food truck might be a good next step. They had money coming in, with the Seacaucus location up and running, so the risk seemed manageable. Very quickly, Trivedi said, the truck was serving 150 people a day.
"That's one of the best things that happened to us," he said. "I did not envision the growth the way it is, but as I started the food truck, my expectation of the growth was more."
Building on the success of that food truck, Trivedi went to his board of advisers — a group of five that includes a lawyer, an accountant and three family friends — and presented plans for the new Montclair location. Although it had been only about six months since the food truck launched, everyone agreed a new location in Montclair presented a valuable opportunity.
So the Trivedis raised the necessary capital themselves — all their ventures to date have been self-funded — and set about navigating the process of adding another brick-and-mortar restaurant.
The Montclair location held its soft opening this past April, with a grand opening in June that attracted the town's mayor. And although Trivedi said he hasn't taken any definitive steps toward future growth, he is already weighing new opportunities.
"Every single step has a challenge, whether you're starting your own business or you're taking it to the next level," Trivedi said. "Three years back, we were just a baby. Now, we are walking."
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