Friday, May 8, 2015

Cafe Salivation at 176 Race Course Rd - The Founders Part II

The Official Karen Raja Interview 
The Beginning 
Cafe Salvation is founded by Karen Raja, 59, back in 2008. It is so named as Cafe Salivation as suggested by Karen Raja's only daughter Harsha Raja, who came up with the idea of the term "salivation" - because when you think about yummy delicious heartwarming food you will start to salivate. Thus they have the slogan for Cafe Salivation which runs as: "For Droolicious Sensations!"
Karen Raja does a lot of experimenting with different ingredients at home for her father-in-law & her husband, Prasad Raja, 62. You see, Karen Raja's husband Prasad Raja, 62, is the Director at Homely Raj Pte Ltd which manages the Raj & Jade groups of restaurants here in Singapore, and is the second generation in the family business started by his dad the elderly Mr Raja, who like his son, is a pure vegetarian. 
The Management 
Under the management of Homely Raj Pte Ltd management are 3 cafes/restaurants called :
  • Raj Restaurant which is a pure vegetarian restaurant offering North Indian, South Indian cuisine, Chutney & sweets.
  • Jade of India which is a non vegetarian restaurant which offers North Indian, Indian Chinese Cuisine, Snack items. 
  • Cafe Salivation which is a cafe serving vegetarian western cuisine.
The Positioning 
Karen Raja mooted on the idea of Cafe Salivation & position it as a vegetarian restaurant because she discovered that vegetarians here in Singapore do not have a good choice & selection of vegetarian food out there in the F&B scene, and customers usually settle for salads or simply take out the meat portion in burgers & just add a slice of cheese. Here at Cafe Salivation the food served here do not contain MSG, the cafe uses sunflower oil in its cooking.
Background of Founder 
Karen Raja's father-in-law the elder Mr Raja started a restaurant in Calcutta 50 years ago. He came to Singapore in 1989 & thought of starting something similar to the Calcutta restaurant in Singapore. So in 2003 the elder Mr Raja started Homely Raj Pte Ltd which houses the umbrella group of restaurants bearing different names to differentiate from the cuisine they serve.   
  • Raj Restaurant 
  • Jade of India 
  • Cafe Salivation 
Her Culinary Influences
Cafe Salivation Founder Karen Raja loves cooking & baking & comes from a family who loves culinary arts of cooking & baking. Karen Raja used to work with the French Counsel, & a few Swedish companies before she got married to her husband Prasad Raja. 
When she got married, she became involved in her father-in-law's restaurant business. She brings with her a total of 11 years' experience in the F&B industry when she started Cafe Salivation. 
Karen Raja's culinary skills & passion are influenced predominantly by her grandma & mother, as she used to do a lot of cooking baking with her grandma & mother when in her growing up years. Her father-in-law the elderly Mr Raja is a foodie, & even though he is a vegetarian, he loves to taste all kinds of food. So it was combination of influences from her grandmother, parents, her father-in-law that culminated to her growing interest in the F&B business.
The Ownership 
Currently, Homely Raj Pte Ltd is a company owned by Directors Karen Raja & husband Prasad Raja  the majority shareholders, & 3 other non family member silent partners who are not active in the business at all. 
Expansion Plans & New Brands 
Karen Raja would like to expand & go back to Calcutta, India to set up her home grown brand Cafe Salivation. There is tremendous potential in Calcutta for vegetarian cafes like Cafe Salivation as the majority of the second tier city like Calcutta population are vegetarians & there is a real demand & need to have a vegetarian cafe set up in Calcutta. They are looking for a right place to set up the brand in Quarter 4 of 2014. 
There are plans to open one to start with, with the concept of cafe by day & bar concept by night so there is a need for a larger space. The cuisine served would be Western vegetarian.

In Singapore there are plans to open other branches under Cafe Salivation brand, but due to manpower shortage it is not easy to staff the outlet. The concept may be bistro kiosk concept where the orders are placed at the counter without table service. 

Cafe Salivation is located at :
176 Race Course Road, S(218607)
Tel : 62981412
Opening Hours : 
Mon to Fri 10 am - 10.30 pm
Sat - Sun    10 am - 11 pm

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