As an exclusive social dining club close to Westminster, The Cinnamon Club’s clientele includes MPs, political lobbyists and respected journalists who visit the 200-seater restaurant for traditional Indian food cooked using rare spices, exotic vegetables and fresh seafood, much of which is exclusively imported for the restaurant.
It is fast becoming an established and respected venue, but at the beginning of 2001, whilst still in the planning stage, proprietor Iqbal Wahhab called on Business Link for London’s help and advice.
“This was a huge new venture for me and I knew that I needed support from the outset,” he says.
His Business Adviser began work immediately and one of their first priorities was to look at the general strategy planning for the business. After some discussions Iqbal also decided to undergo one-to-one coaching to develop and improve his time management skills.
“I’ve always believed in training – for others. However, my business adviser convinced me that I needed business counselling of my own and these sessions have proven to be invaluable. At management meetings, if I put forward new procedures for implementation within the business I will be asked: ‘You’ve been to Business Link again haven’t you?’”
After only a few months of trading, crisis struck the hospitality industry, when the fall out from the September 11th attack in New York was felt in London and The Cinnamon Club’s trade plummeted.
“We had to take immediate action to salvage what we could and my business adviser worked with me to implement cost cutting measures and develop a marketing plan,” says Iqbal.
Having taken measures to restore profitability after the September 11th attack, Iqbal Wahhab and his business adviser turned their attention to The Cinnamon Club’s most important asset, it’s staff of over sixty.
“My adviser helped me to establish a common way of dealing with my staff and I can now focus on making commitments to them. We are currently working towards achieving the Investors in People standard which has been heavily funded by Business Link for London.”
Not only is Iqbal running an efficient and profitable business, but he has also won a handful of awards including Menu Magazine 2002 Gold award for Restaurant of the Year, Theme Magazine 2002 for Best Use of Technology and a personal award as Restaurant Personality of the Year. Iqbal was also runner up in the recent Orange Small Business Awards for Marketing Campaign of the Year.
Restaurant on the Up, with the help of Business advisor
“What is really useful is that my business adviser is proactive and suggests initiatives that will bring benefits to my business, rather than reacting to events,” says Iqbal. “Business Link for London can often help to fund them as well.”