We catch up with Jay Rahman, Director at Prithvi on winning OpenTable’s top ‘Fit for Foodies’ award

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At the end of June this year, we released our top 100 ‘Fit for Foodies’ restaurant list as rated by more than 300,000 OpenTable diners throughout the past year.

We were very excited to announce Prithvi as our #1 ‘Fit for Foodies’ restaurant at this year’s National Restaurant Awards ceremony on 27 June.

Based in Cheltenham, Prithvi takes its name and inspiration from Mother Earth, with Prithvi being the ancient Sanskrit translation. Taking a quick look at the restaurant’s OpenTable reviews, we can easily see why they topped the list.  

One diner said: “As usual, Prithvi lived up to its high standards. Excellent meal again and staff and service were exceptional.” Another diner added: “The food is amazing and service excellent. By far our favourite restaurant in Cheltenham.”

Following the National Restaurant Award ceremony, we caught up with Jay Rahman, Director at Prithvi, to hear his thoughts on winning the award as well as taking a peek into what the future holds for Prithvi.

What does winning this award mean for you and your restaurant?

It means a lot, not just to myself but to the entire team that helped get us here. Even to be nominated in this category at an event like the National Restaurant Awards, has surpassed all our expectations.

This is a huge motivator for us. Receiving recognition on a national level, rather than just locally, showcases our restaurant to a wider audience and gives our diners an extra seal of approval. With so many great restaurants in Cheltenham, we hope to help put the town on the foodie destination map.

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Do you feel that awards (such as this one that is based on diner reviews) help grow your business and get more diners through the door?

There is no doubt about that. Diners are always looking at other people’s recommendations and reviews and, ultimately, I believe this has a huge influence on our business. In this industry, where positive publicity and reviews help take you so far, winning this award will most definitely drive, bring in and help grow the business.

Do you feel that awards such as this one give your business a certain amount of gravitas and recognition?

Absolutely! I think that a passionate and ambitious team can lead the way in having the very best of restaurants and these types of awards show just that.

The restaurant industry is constantly trying to improve on itself. These types of awards give us, as restaurateurs, the opportunity to keep reaching higher and working harder. At the end of the day, your efforts and that of the team behind you, get to be recognised and applauded. Simultaneously, you would be thinking that you now need to put even more of yourself into this industry – and with any luck, you will have that acknowledged as well.

How do you use the awards and accolades your restaurant wins to help promote your business?

Our social media channels are the first to ‘hear’ the news. I feel that social media has a great impact on our business. It engages people from all over the world and it gives Prithvi an extra layer of personality – it helps people get to know us.

We also depend on local press, which in such a relatively small place as Cheltenham, get to know you very well and will look to support you and your achievements.

It almost goes without saying, but our website and any other online profiles we have will be updated as well – after all what is the point of winning an award if no one knows about it!

Ultimately, this helps prove our worth to our team and our customers and we will use this as a springboard to be better and do better.

How will you celebrate? How have you celebrated?

The celebration really kicked off at the National Restaurant Award event. When getting back to Cheltenham, I gave the restaurant team a huge hug and massive round of applause for their effort and dedication.

We will definitely look to celebrate properly with the rest of the team as this really wouldn’t have happened without them.
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Is there one thing (a plate of food, customer service training, an extra marketing push) that you believe helped to win this award?

This question lends itself to having a really simple answer: there’s never just one thing. In the restaurant/hospitality business, it’s the package. From the moment that the customer makes a booking until long after they have dined with us.

I don’t really think that there is such a thing as last moment or last impression.

You say goodbye in the restaurant and then they might write a review or send you a personal email thanking you and then they might end up booking another table in a couple months time. It’s your job to nurture and look after that relationship. You do that through ensuring your product is as good as it can be, your staff are all ‘talking’ the same language, you are making yourself available to your diners and setting a precedent of what they can expect from you.

What’s next for your restaurant?

That’s very easy – keep doing what we’re doing. It’s clear that our customers love us for that so our focus needs to be on evolving. Keeping our diners engaged and surprising them with our product. If we manage to get another invite in 2017, of course, that wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen!

Here’s the top 10 list of Fit for Foodies award winners:

  1. Prithvi, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
  2. The Chefs Table, Chester, Cheshire
  3. The French Table, Surbiton, London
  4. Peckham Bazaar, Peckham, London
  5. The Art School Restaurant, Liverpool, Merseyside
  6. The Gardeners Cottage, Leith, Edinburgh
  7. Typing Room, Bethnal Green, London
  8. Restaurant Story London, London Bridge, London
  9. The Dairy Bar & Bistro, Clapham, London
  10. Food for Friends, Brighton, East Sussex

http://www.opentable.co.uk/m/best-restaurants-for-foodies-2016/

Photos courtesy of Prithvi

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