Startup From Punjab Hiring Local Talent WIth Domain Skills
Between both the companies are over 1000 people employed, recruited locally with specific emphasis on domain skills
Arundeep Singla, an entrepreneur from Punjab has created job opportunities for more than 1000 youth between his two start-up ventures, Rock & Storm Distillers, and The Brew Estate brewpub. Arun aims to expand his reach to 30 outlets in the next 3 years in non-metro cities to create service sector jobs for Indian youth.
Arundeep Singla, who is in the midst of developing an elaborate training program for his employees in the hospitality segment, talks to BW People about hiring, skilling, and skills required for the sector.
How many people have you employed over the years? What skills do you hire for?
Between both our companies, Rock & Storm Distilleries and The Brew Estate, we employ over 1000 people. Most of our talent is hired locally with specific emphasis on domain skills. Rock & Storm was set up in 2011 whereas The Brew Estate brewpub was launched in 2016. For our brewpub network across Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, we have picked up talent from the hospitality industry with deep service orientation and communication skills. We do not believe that proficiency in the English language defines a measure of success. Once we have people on board, we take them through an extensive orientation of the craft beer industry for them to understand the innovation and power of artisanal beer to disrupt the traditional drinks industry in India. Most of our hires for The Brew Estate are in the 22-25 years age bracket who bring in a learning mindset to take this industry to the next level. This is an advantage for us as we are in an expansion mode to contiguous States in the North and some States in the South.
How do you help your employees in upskilling? What share of your business spends is into upskilling?
As a start-up, our learning and development budget is still small compared to some of the large established brands in the hospitality or beverage alcohol industry. However, we have introduced mentorship programs besides regular classroom training, on the craft of our industry, how does it pair with food, what are the flavour innovations that we can introduce to keep maintain brand loyalty and yet renewed customer experience, and similar other initiatives. Domain experts like Aman Dua from mixology personally supervise serving staff to provide a great narrative besides a great drink, to the customer. It is this consistent premium experience of the customers that have recently earned us the TripAdvisor’s 2019 Certificate of Excellence.
What skills or certifications can help professionals in the hospitality sector?
We are planning to introduce the Cicerone Beer Star certification programs for our frontline staff. The Cicerone Certification Program from USA is the beer industry standard for identifying those with significant knowledge and professional skills in beer sales and service. The craft beer industry in India is exploding. It is imperative that the Brew Estate remains at the forefront of innovation and service, including beer styles, processes, and food harmony.
How do you plan to upscale your business, and how many jobs do you plan to create?
We are planning to expand The Brew Estate network to another 10 major cities this year. We will add another 200-300 people across key cities where we launch. The challenge is to maintain the same level of customer experience and engagement. Hence our training budgets will expand in the next few months to create leaders and mentors for a strong second line.
How big a challenge is about finding and retaining a diverse workforce? How does it impact the workplace ecosystem? How do you maintain diversity?
The Brew Estate strongly believes that diversity is a healthy attribute for an integrated and competitive workforce. As we expand beyond the Northen States to more mature and cosmopolitan cities in India, we will focus on inward mobility as one of the routes for staffing and maintaining consistency of the values that the Brew Estate stands for. The journey will not be without challenges, but our vision of bringing world-class experiences in artisanal beer paired with global cuisine in a great ambience will help us win our game. We are instituting programs to send our staff to popular artisanal beer destinations around the world both as a step towards learning and as a performance reward.
How much can the startup ecosystem contribute to solving the job crisis?
Startups provide an entrepreneurial culture of learning and improving along the business journey. Today, youngsters are looking at enriching experiences and fastrack learning. A sunrise industry like craft beer in India with 50 start-up brands of brewpubs, microbreweries, and bottled craft beer provides an attractive ground for honing in skills for hospitality and lifestyle verticals. We are not asking for high profile management degrees - we are even hiring freshers with burning desire to grow quickly adding new skills at every stage of their career with The Brew Estate.