January 25, 2018, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham
Curiosity and nostalgia: My placement in the restaurant business
This week Leon Man tells Postgraduate Placements Nottingham (PPN) about his experience of doing a postgraduate placement with the Curry Lounge in Nottingham.
Imagine being responsible for a business for several months, making important strategic and marketing decisions that would affect the future of the venture! A short-term placement arranged by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham (PPN) allowed me to do just that!
Ok, I didn’t quite run the business, but I joined the team at the Curry Lounge, an Indian restaurant in Nottingham city centre, to help the owner Saf evaluate his existing business strategy and marketing activities. Saf also asked me to conduct market research to make evidence-based decisions that would help take his business to the next level.
Thinking about the short term, I provided advice on social media, digital activities and approaches to marketing, based on the experience that I gained from working at L’Oréal for a year and promoting studying abroad at the University. For the long term, I developed different business models that Saf could pursue. To test these possibilities, I designed and commissioned an online survey of local and non-local residents to find out what the respondents’ eating out habits are, how they see the Curry Lounge and what they thought of a new restaurant concept that we preferred.
I appreciated the fact that working with Saf was more of a partnership than anything else, as we treated each other with mutual respect. Saf would take my opinions and analyses seriously whenever we brainstormed ideas, and would introduce me as the marketing expert to his team to help him and his business.
Several months on, Curry Lounge have already made substantial progress in their strategy and marketing. Respondents to the survey embraced the new business concept enthusiastically – a niche in the Nottingham market – which Saf is now pursuing actively. In the meantime, the Curry Lounge now has a new professional website and a professional and well-managed social media presence. The Curry Lounge has also received a Bronze Armed Forces Covenant Award to reflect its commitment to the Services. With the new business concept being developed, I’m excited to see it come to fruition in the near future.
Taking on this postgraduate placement provided me with an opportunity to think creatively and strategically like an entrepreneur. I was able to apply what I had learnt from prior experiences to the challenge of helping the Curry Lounge stand out in a crowded restaurant market. However, the reason why I wanted to take on this placement was purely out of interest; having already received an offer to join the Civil Service Fast Stream, I didn’t necessarily need this placement for the experience or to develop my business acumen. What motivated me to apply was being able to work in the restaurant environment, as we once had a Chinese takeaway business which I missed a lot. Saf’s tenacity was also inspiring, so I wanted to help as much as I could.
I would strongly encourage you, whatever your reasons, to look into and apply for placements through PPN.