Despite a rather conservative approach to his work, Sarvar Karataev seems to laugh cynically in response to all attempts to wave the hipster's lounge bars and coffee houses to enter the top.
We decided to meet personally with the classic of restaurant business in Uzbekistan to find out what is going on between him and time.
- Sarvar, what do you dream about?
- About new restaurants. During my career as a restaurateur, apart from Studio, I took an active part in creating a number of prestigious restaurants not only in Tashkent, but also in Moscow and Sochi. However, it so happened that for many years I did not open anything personally. But this year my "silence" was violated - the "Shaboda" restaurant was opened.
- Your story as a successful restaurateur started with a sports bar. Lasted and stayed for a long time - here in Studio. Not boring?
- Yes, there were good times. In the sports bar, we could "live" events for 24 hours: broadcast matches, live broadcasts from sports competitions. Many traditions from the sports bar "live" here, in Studio. We have our own atmosphere here. We are on our wave. Is it boring for me? As soon as I felt that it was really monotonous, I started a new project.
- Share, how did you come up with Studio? How did the idea change over time? In general, how do you feel about the changes?
- After the demolition of my first child sports bar and a fountain in its place, I was in search for a long time, experimenting. This continued until friends were offered to look at the place where Studio is now. If we talk about what has changed over the years, then, perhaps, there is not even a centimeter in the cafe, where nothing would have changed. This is normal. We are growing, improving, trying to meet the requirements of the time, not to lose competitiveness in the market.
The catering market of the capital over the past 10 years has changed very much. When we started, there were only three or four restaurants in Tashkent with a high level of service, and today there are a lot of them - competition. There are more professionals, the level of service has improved. Now restaurateurs spend tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the purchase of professional kitchen equipment, quality dishes. Before, nothing of the kind happened.
- In one of your interviews about Studio, you talked a lot about your guests. It was said that many people go here literally for generations. How can you constantly warm up the public interest?
- Hard to tell. This is the result of daily work, to which I have come with great responsibility all the time. First of all, it is a serious work on quality control, daily work with visitors. We became friends with many regular customers. They trust me. You know how sometimes it happens: parents know that their child is in my cafe, but they can not get through to him, well, as usual, the battery is turned off, the sound is turned off. Then they call me, they wonder if everything is ok, ask for help to contact their son or daughter. I'm used to it. Here in the cafe has already formed a certain range of visitors, its own microclimate. I think all this became possible, probably because I'm wildly in love with what I do and try to do it well.
- Before, you could often see at a table in Studio, with a book. Is it a fashion or hobby?
"Now it's much rarer, not with a book, but with a gadget." Unfortunately, I have less and less time for this favorite activity. Cases. But the tradition - to get together with friends remained and is preserved. I have “an infinite table” in the café (he is laughing), for which I manage to seat three or four companies of my friends and all together we usefully, we spend our free time for the soul.
- And, despite the fact that the book was replaced by a gadget, do you still prefer offline meetings with friends? And how long does Sarvar Karataev spend on the Internet? Have you Instagram or Facebook own pages?
- Previously it was exclusively for communicating with friends. Yes, I am in social networks. But over time they have become more of a tool for business. Look, today all prestigious restaurants and cafes are represented by official accounts. Any competent restaurateur will not miss the opportunity to benefit from this, I'm no exception. By the way, now, when I open my new restaurant, I will launch a big campaign in social networks. Before opening, we'll make some teasers, we'll intrigue. Yes, it's fashionable, it works, why not?!
- By the way about fashion. You seem to be conservative in business, but very advanced in the trends: gadgets, sports, constant get-togethers. After the gym, work at the cafe, how do you relax? What helps to gain strength?
- I try not to load myself with fatigue, emotions, do not drag them into tomorrow. Do not live problems. To relieve fatigue, I have a good enough sleep. After sleep, I'm usually alert and ready for new things. Maybe in my youth I was more emotional, but with years and experience I cooled down, I learned to live today, today's worries. I always want something new, something more perfect - it helps me move forward.
- How much time is usually at work?
- From early morning till 9 o'clock, then I leave for training, at 12 I return to the cafe and I stay here till 4-5 pm, then I leave for two or three hours home, and again I return to the cafe and already up to 8-9 o'clock, and sometimes even longer at work. And so every day. This is my life.
- Have dinner or dinner here in Studio? Do you like gourmet, like to eat?
- It depends on what you mean by the word gourmet. Yes, I like pampering myself with crabs and oysters, but that does not mean that I can not live without them. For me, the main thing is to make it delicious. You know, you can also cook scrambled eggs so that you lick your fingers. I like to eat everything that is deliciously cooked.
I often dine in Studio. This is nice on one hand, and on the other hand, the quality control of all cafe services.
- Do you prepare yourself?
- I like to eat more, but, yes, I can also cook. And very tasty. And I go to the kitchen usually when I rest with my friends to surprise them with something interesting and tasty.
- In your interviews, you usually talk very warmly about your parents. Have you ever thought of following in their footsteps? Become a journalist or a scientist? Who in general dreamed of becoming a child?
- My father is a journalist. I can talk well, but do not write, my mother worked in a research institute. This is also not mine. At the same time, my parents gave me an excellent education, I graduated from the Tashkent State Economic University, accounting knowledge I got today is needed every day. I do all the work in Studio myself. And in his childhood, like many peers, he dreamed of becoming a director, a minister. In part, this dream came true, because I'm not only the owner, but also the head of my cafe. I confess that as a child I never dreamed that my fate will be connected with public catering. In that I became a restaurateur, in many respects the merit of friends: they offered, tried, liked and stayed in this profession for life.
- Love of travel, too, from childhood? In Studio, the tables store matches from restaurants and casinos, foreign bills, what else do you usually bring with you from travel?
- Yes, from my childhood, from books I like to read very much. My father taught me to read in three years, and at five I had already learned to understand what I was reading. I read a lot, read everything that was available, I really enjoyed using books to travel with the characters, of course, all this was remembered. Being an adult and wealthy, I decided to visit everywhere, where the actions described in the books took place. To date, managed to travel, probably just five percent. And with me, I bring everything that usually can remain in my pockets after a trip, then I use it in the design of a cafe. Do not throw out the same. All this creates a cozy and unique atmosphere in our cafe. I like to bring with me various souvenirs that will remind me of the trip.
- Is there something that you really are afraid of?
- I'm afraid of God, I'm afraid of circumstances, because of which my dreams may not come true, I'm ill for my relatives and friends. And I have nothing more to fear.
- What is most important for you in life and in people?
- Decency, and that says it all.
- Does your daughter plan to continue your business?
- She is now a student of the International Westminster University in Tashkent, a future economist. Of course, I would like her to take part in organizing the work of the cafe, and I tried to put her to work, but she has not yet shared this desire with me, I still have to work for myself.
- We will not ask about the problems and difficulties that you faced when opening your business. But tell me what advice you would give yourself 20-year-old now?
- (Smile) I would give a lot of advice for myself. The most important thing is to do everything yourself, less nervous.
- Well, then three recipes for a long-term restaurateur from Sarvar Karataev?
- First, you have to work hard every day and strive for excellence. Secondly, one should never forget about traditional eastern hospitality. I always try to receive guests at the cafe the way I would do it at home with honor and respect. And, thirdly, it is strict control over the quality of food. Food should always be not only tasty and fresh, but also prepared from selected products.
- Is there a business problem that needs to be addressed constantly?
- If I say no, it will be untrue, but I also do not want to describe these problems, because all our colleagues in business solve similar tasks on a daily basis. And if there are visitors in their institution, it means that they successfully cope with them. This is mainly the selection and purchase of products, equipment and all that the restaurant business is impossible without.
- How would you describe the restaurant business in Uzbekistan? What, in your opinion, is its feature?
- This is a dynamically developing direction of the economy. The last ten years are characterized by the creation of a huge number of new catering facilities, including a new, uncharacteristic for the country format. Look at how many cafes opened last year. In the same period three restaurants of Italian cuisine opened, and this despite the fact that it forms the basic menu of almost all restaurants of hotels! Pay attention to the equipment of these institutions, they all use modern kitchen equipment, modern utensils, restaurant software. Restaurateurs try to provide a high level of service in their establishments. But, probably, the most important feature of our catering is a serious cult of cafes and restaurants of national cuisine. They account for more than half of all new food outlets, while none of them have problems attracting visitors. Hence another phenomenon, characteristic of our catering - the rabid popularity of pilaf and shish kebab, with them, any other dish can not compete with them.