A Michelin listed chef in Cardiff gives tips for successful business

An award-winning chef believes restaurants can still make delicious food without worrying about energy prices. So just how does he continue to keep his customers happy?

Anand George, the owner of Tukka Tuk in Cardiff thinks handling a business means learning and growing.

As the curry pot starts boiling inside Tukka Tuk’s kitchen, the rich aroma of southern Indian spices mixes in the air. The chef picks up a bucket kept on the countertop filled with trimmings of meat. Unlike others, he doesn’t throw them away, instead, coats each piece with spices and flour to fry them in hot oil.

As businesses across Wales are struggling with soaring living costs, Anand George, a Michelin-listed chef, and owner of Tukka Tuk and Purple Poppadom thinks that being smart with recipes can be one of the keys to overcoming it.

“Cost of ingredients has gone up but I believe there are clever ways to work around it,” Anand says.

“Like, we try to use trimmings wherever we can. I am sure you can definitely see some snacks made from those trimmings which we can not use in curries as such. So we cleverly crafted that.”

Tukka Tuk is usually filled with customers lining up for delicious hot food on a budget.

The hospitality sector in the UK has been hit the hardest by inflation. Anand thinks that at a time when bills are getting hard to manage, businesses should invest in making the experience memorable for customers.

“Our margins have gone down and the food cost has gone up, energy bills have gone over the roof so there is definitely some change and there’s a limit to the money we can pass to the customer.”

“So, at this time, being clever with marketing and sales can be helpful. For example, we took this place and made it a destination place here for the people. We created an experience for customers.”

A classic Indian breakfast and Tukka Tuk’s signature snack: Chai and Chicken Samosa with Mango Chutney.

Many Welsh restaurants had to close their doors this year as they struggled to bring more customers in. Feeding customers’ needs would mean, adding more costs to a tight budget.

Chef Anand says, “We have a niche market and what we offer is not something that’s everywhere in Cardiff. We have brought market strategy and products to the market so… we have survived.”

“It is tough, you need to be smart…. you need people skills. But it is constantly revolving and evolving. We don’t stand still. It’s not just expanding and revolving but how do you do it properly without compromising everything the customer and client asks.”

He has been making sure to impart all his knowledge of the food and hospitality sector to his staff with the proper resources and skills available to him. With minimum resources, he trains them to their full capacity.

With Tukka Tuk’s success, Chef Anand plans to experiment more and expand his business across Cardiff.

Anand believes in educating his customers about the food and its rich culture. This way, they build a relationship with the food and understand it better.

“What we did and what I did differently was that we educated the customer. This is what we do. They would ask me, Do we eat curry for breakfast? Yes, we do. But, not with coconut cream and almond powder,” he chuckles.

Anand came to the UK from Southern India knowing that he has a passion for food. He enjoyed working with it and creating new recipes would give him happiness. He believes that one should have a passion for their business.

“It is a journey, that’s what I did. when I came here first, Indian restaurants were all run by people who aren’t Indians… and their so-called curry. But this generation doesn’t believe in learning. I often see them running behind in money. They don’t want the experience. I mean, enjoy what you do and money will come running behind you.”

“If for two days customers won’t show up, they lose the confidence and try to find shortcuts,” he says.

After weeks and months of struggle and a learning process, Chef Anand, who started his journey with food when he was 20 years old is now a Michelin-listed Chef with two Indian restaurants in Cardiff. But, it’s not the end for him. His new restaurant is about to open in late April at Whitchurch Rd where people can find authentic paranthas and delicious Indian delicacies.

Good food doesn’t have to hurt your pocket.