Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Prakash Karamchandani, Co-Founder of Balance Pan-Asian Grille, located in Toledo, OH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Balance Grille is an Asian-Fusion fast-casual restaurant chain featuring a diverse menu of build-a-bowl bowls, tacos, snacks, and bubble teas. Since its founding in 2010, Balance Grille has successfully reinvented both the fast-casual concept and Asian Fusion cuisine with a refined focus on clean eating, a literal approach to menu transparency, authenticity, and ahead-of-the-curve tech integration. With 4 locations open and operating throughout Ohio, and its first outside of its home state in Colorado, Balance remains committed to serving happiness through food with a focus on community-minded, customer-centric craftsmanship, from farm to kitchen to taste buds – and a real appreciation for both those enjoying and those serving its feel-good food. For more information, visit https://balancegrille.com/.
Tell us about yourself
I am Prakash Karamchandani, but many people know me as PK. I am a self-proclaimed foodie and technology junkie, as well as the co-founder of Balance Pan-Asian Grille, a nationally acclaimed fast-casual Asian fusion multi-unit concept based in Ohio. I earned my degree in finance from the University of Toledo, where I met my future wife Navdeep, who introduced me to my business partner HoChan Jang (CJ). CJ was an aspiring chef who wanted to open his own restaurant, and I offered to help with marketing, finance, and technology for the concept. This serendipitous meeting led to the birth of Balance Pan-Asian Grille.
Since opening our first location in 2010, CJ and I have worked tirelessly to perfect our pan-Asian cuisine, achieving unique flavor profiles and food pairings that put Northwest Ohio on the culinary map. With a team of under 10, we have struck the perfect balance between wholesome food that makes you feel good and indulgent flavors you crave – all made quickly without sacrificing quality.
Currently, I oversee development and finance for Balance Grille, and I lead the brand's marketing and technological innovation efforts. I am proud to have been recognized by Nation's Restaurant News as one of 2022's Most Influential Restaurant CEOs and by Fast Casual as a Top 24 Executive consecutively from 2016-2022. My innovative and tech-forward thinking has set balance apart as a disruptor in the Fast Casual industry, and I have become known as a thought leader in the Fast Casual and Restaurant Technology spaces, having spoken at multiple industry events and conferences.
Despite all of my professional accomplishments, my most prized achievements are personal. My wife Navdeep and I are the proud parents of two children, and we are grateful for the journey that led us to create Balance Pan-Asian Grille together.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Bringing a dream to life and doing it alongside one of my very best friends is such a blessing. And now, watching the brand grow from one location to soon-to-be six locations in three states as we launch our franchise program – having others invest in our passion has been quite a humbling experience.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner is the constant Balancing act (pun intended). Professionally creating the perfect balance between the needs of your customers, employees, vendors, and partners is challenging at the outset but only continues as time passes and new external stressors come and go. Personally, work and life balance is a constant adjustment. It truly is a lifestyle, not just a career.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
You have to offer a great product or service, but after that, you must put a focus on your people – your customers and employees alike. Secondly, continuous improvement is the backbone of ongoing success. And most importantly, enjoy the journey.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.