Behind the Scenes: Sunil Shetty’s Journey from the Family Restaurant to Bollywood
Sunil Veerappa Shetty popularly known as Sunil Shetty is a well-known Indian film actor who has appeared in over 100 Bollywood films.
Despite his success in the film industry, Shetty’s childhood was spent in the restaurant business as his family owned and operated several “Udupi” restaurants in Mumbai.
Sunil Shetty recently shared a post on LinkedIn discussing his childhood spent working at his family’s “Udupi” restaurants in Mumbai.
Despite now being known as a Bollywood actor, he credits his time in the restaurant business with instilling a strong work ethic and valuable survival skills that have helped him throughout his life.
He also posted black and white photographs from his childhood highlighting how the Bunt community and the restaurant business evolved and uplifted the lives of its members, including his own family’s story.
The post offers a personal and insightful glimpse into Sunil Shetty’s formative years and the lasting impact they have had on his life.
Growing up in this environment, Shetty developed a strong work ethic and gained valuable survival skills that helped shape his success in the entertainment industry.
Though he is widely recognized for his work in movies, Shetty remains grounded and appreciative of his family’s restaurant business, which played a significant role in his upbringing, while creating a type of establishment that has built a reputation for serving wholesome and hygienic food at affordable prices in a no-frills environment.
As an essential part of Mumbai’s bustling food scene, Sunil’s father’s restaurants had to operate with precision.
Starting with early morning trips to the wholesale markets, the day involved extensive kitchen prep before opening at 7 a.m.
The restaurant could serve up to 300-400 customers within a few hours during lunch, and service had to be super quick despite everything being made fresh and on order.
The staff had to keep an eye on every table to ensure that each customer was satisfied and maintain supplies and stock while minimizing wastage.
During peak hours, Sunil and his colleagues had to assist in the kitchen, wait tables, and clean up, and each night after closing, they deep-cleaned the restaurant.
Sunil’s father came to Mumbai with nothing and started working in the restaurant business as a table cleaner.
He eventually bought the restaurants he worked at, and he bought all three of them. The owner sold the restaurants to him because he knew that Sunil’s father would do justice to them.
When he started his own business, he brought in a group of young boys from his village with the promise of a job, food, shelter, and a support system.
They lived together in shared spaces in and around the restaurants, which became home for them.
Sunil’s father gave their employees the flexibility to attend night school while working, ensuring that the next generation would be equipped to uplift their families.
When Sunil’s father’s staff felt ready to start their own business, he helped them set up their own establishments. This was how a large part of the community grew and thrived, based on genuine camaraderie and a sense of community.
Sunil learned many valuable lessons from his father’s business, particularly the idea that the customer is always right.
Sunil’s father had an infectious enthusiasm that he brought to every customer, no matter how small the order was.
His cost of customer acquisition was his enthusiasm, and this lesson has stuck with Sunil throughout his life.
Sunil Shetty revealed in his post that his father will always remain his guru, and the lessons he taught him have shaped his life.
Sunil has taken these lessons to heart and applied them to his own ventures as an entrepreneur and film actor.
He has great respect for restaurateurs and the hard work that goes into running a successful business.