Some years ago, when Dhiren Pawar applied for a job at JSM Group, he had no idea that he would become the Regional General Manager for HRC & Shiro – West Africa. He was just thrilled by restaurant's ambience after attending a party the previous day, and he considered it a privilege to work with the brand. He was taking a risk, as the job was on the condition that if he performed well, he would be promoted with a salary increase if not, he will remain in the same position. Today, he's at the peak of his career -- Lagos!!!
Dhiren recently chatted with curzonandjones.com about his background, experiences, and his defining moments in Hardrock.
Tell us about you
My name is Dhiren Pawar. I am the Regional General Manager for HRC & Shiro – West Africa. I moved to Nigeria from Bangalore in June 2017, and I have been in the industry since 2006. I started my career in hotels – Ista which is now the Hyatt Group, Ananda Spa in the Himalayas. As a child, I was fascinated with beautiful hotels & restaurants and developed the passion from my father who had a passion for cooking and hosting some of the best party in Oman & in India amongst his friends.
When did you start your journey with JSM?
I started working with JSM group 5th Jan 2010 as an operations supervisor. Before I started working with the group, I went to a party at Shiro, where I was fascinated by the ambience, food and levels of service. The next day, I went to the restaurant to apply for a job and was give one, on the condition that if I performed well on the job I will get promoted with a salary increase, otherwise, I will remain in the same position. Today, I have moved from heading Shiro in India to being the Regional General Manager for Shiro & Hard rock Café – Nigeria.
Did you have any objections to coming to Nigeria at first?
Yes. people were like caution! caution!! caution!!! I had my reservations at the beginning from all the stories people try to tell you, till I travelled here and had the first-hand experience. Let me tell you, it's nothing like people make it out to be. In fact, the people are extremely courteous & helpful here.
What was your perception about Nigeria?
Initially, my biggest concern before moving to Nigeria was the safety, but with time, that has changed.
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What is innovation to you?
Innovation is being able to reinvent the wheel and in regards to hospitality, it is giving guest something new to look forward to whether it be food, drinks, music, space, events etc.
What's an emerging trend that you think will change the drink world?
These days, it's about theatre around food service eg., ingredients, garnishes, service styles and in cocktails hand crafted ice cubes or ice balls. We have some events, where we serve with a spectacle at Shiro.
Tell us about your experiences, and redefining moments at Shiro and Hard Rock Cafe?
Well, Hard Rock is not an entirely new brand for me, as my company was affiliated with it in India, and I always wanted the opportunity to work with a brand such as HRC because of its strong processes, marketing campaigns, and philanthropic beliefs.
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In regards to Shiro, it was an opportunity & huge responsibility given to me by my Managing Director & Co-founder Sanjay Mahtani of Shiro who asked me to move to a new continent to run the brand "Shiro" in West Africa.
What's your signature meal?
- Miso Black Cod
- Raw Papaya salad
- Pork kimchi Chigae
What uniqueness does Shiro offer clients?
At Shiro, we ensure each guest leaves having an unforgettable experience whether it be in the service delivered, signature cocktails or the exquisite food offered.
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Any awards or special recognition?
It's been exactly 17 months since we opened, and we have won Visa Restaurant Week's "Best Performing Restaurant 2017". We have also been nominated by Pyne Awards as the restaurant of the Year 2018.
What do you think should be improved in the Nigerian hospitality industry?
Standards of service
Consistency in general
Product & produce quality.
Apart from work, what else do you find exciting?
I like the thrill of speed. I have been riding bikes since I was 4 yrs old, and it's kind of in my DNA with my Dad & elder brother also being avid bike fans. But I have not been doing that since I came to Nigeria. Now, I enjoy hanging out with my daughter every Sunday.
What will you consider the peak of your career?
This is it.Lagos!!!
Any final advice for those who aspire your one-of-a-kind milestone achievements?
To achieve anything you need to be passionate about what you do.
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More About Shiro
SHIRO possesses a surreal glow ensuring that you will never be able to ignore your surroundings. The mood starts cool and chic but transforms, as the night unfolds, yet, you can find intimate corners to dine or simply chill at any time.
An organic, blend of cuisines, culture & service from all over Asia mixed with a unique blend of western music & signature cocktails, Shiro is the ultimate dining or late night experience.
SHIRO’s ability to stimulate your senses continues with their diverse cuisine and sophisticated bar. Inspired by the fiery orient, the menu offers an eclectic mix of Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and Thai gastronomy that includes a wide range of sushi, sashimi and Cantonese dim sum to tempt even the most discerning of palates.
If that doesn’t appeal to you, then perhaps the entertainment at one of its live Teppanyaki tables might. The signature cocktails here are international with an Asian twist complemented by a substantial wine list.
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