One to One: Vijay Sanas

Keith Vaz Thursday 21st September 2023 02:49 EDT

Vijay Sanas is the General Manager of Hutong, The Shard. Vijay is also investor in hospitality projects, Hospitality business developer and a successful landlord with few properties. He has played Kabaddi on national levels for his school, college, and club in India. He is also passionate about cricket and opens bowling for Twickenham Cricket Club.  Vijay has studies in 3 continents.  He started his education in India, went to Florida to complete Degree and then came to UK for Post Graduation and MBA. He began his field experience while studying Post Graduation and joined Gordon Ramsay restaurants where he was awarded with new challenges and promotions within a short time frame. He worked for a few brands of Gordon Ramsay restaurants.  He kept challenging himself and kept taking on flagships of the companies like Gaucho Piccadilly, Hakkasan Mayfair, Aqua and Hutong at the Shard. Gaucho piccadilly is being one of the busiest in London whereas Hakkasan Mayfair is one of the top revenue generators in the UK, Aqua and Hutong are in the world-famous iconic building and well known for their unique experiences. 

1)Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in?

"It is a city that has carved itself into my heart for being the place I call and feel at home. When I first set foot into this busy, chaotic, colourful, and vibrant city I knew it’s for me. The buzzing nightlife in Soho, the thrilling shows in the West End, the powerful atmosphere of the city, the grand architecture in Westminster, the crazy shops and strangely dressed people in Camden Town, the Routemaster (the traditional London bus) ... there was something special about the place. it still is one of the most interesting, exciting, and stimulating cities in the world. Thirteen years on, and I still love it. From cultural and culinary attractions to concerts, festivals, and exhibitions, the city offers myriad opportunities to indulge and explore. There is the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the glitter and sophistication, but also the humble and discreet. There is the opportunity to get where you desire. "  

2)What are your proudest achievements? 

"Career Growth: I took over one of the biggest sites in London in only 7 years of my career. Within short span of time, I was rewarded with 9 promotions and became General Manager where usually it take over 15-20 years of career time for big operations like that.  Education: I worked alongside of my studies and saved money to go to USA and UK for further education and I passed all my studies with distinctions while supporting the family."

3)What inspires you? 

I'm a natural problem-solver, which is why I'm most inspired by identifying and fixing problems. It also lets me identify my improvement areas, and I use that to regularly engage in new training and improve my qualifications as a GM. With my patience and attention to detail, I do help companies making businesses successful.  

4)What has been biggest obstacle in your career?

Covid19 was the biggest shock to the Hospitality industry as most of us were furloughed or jobless. I was in Mayfair where all of sudden we had to close multimillion business for the guests. But we did brainstorm ideas and started take away project within couple of weeks. It was the biggest success, and we were incredibly busy delivering food to thousands of people every day.

5)Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date? 

"Working for Aqua restaurant group has been one of my best choices in the career. I am inspired by owners of the company, David, and Richard.  Both are very successful businessman owning many restaurant brands globally but also very humble and down to earth which motivates me to do better and achieve more."

6)What is the best aspect about your current role?    

Being a General Manager of Multimillion business, I get the opportunity to collaborate with other brands, innovate, Lead, and inspire, train and develop, introduce fun activities and challenge for the team. Making every member the face of the business by training, treating and valuing to make them feel like it’s their own.

7)And the worst?

Post pandemic clientele has changed and have become more challenging and demanding as we want more value for money. People are more interested about uploading pictures on social media for others than enjoying unique experiences, creating memories for themselves.  

8)What are your long term goals?  

I always dreamed of opening own restaurants which is why I have studied in the Hospitality Industry, invested in few plots/lands and working on projects alongside my job to open restaurants and event spaces in one of the famous hill stations in India.                                                                                                 

9)If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?    

I would definitely have very busy schedule as I will work closely with NHS, focus on Education sector. Make entry to UK little easier and affordable for our Asian brothers and sisters. Make more affordable houses and support more on first time buy. Constantly keep building relations with neighbouring countries and bring more business to the UK.

10)If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why?   

"Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.  The founder of the Maratha Kingdom, was one of the bravest, most progressive and sensible rulers of India. Shivaji was a dependable supporter of women and their honour. He opposed all kinds of violence, harassment and dishonour against women. "

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