Interview with David Simpson - CEO of Rasoee

Date: JAN 19th, 2011

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Mr. Simpson began the early part of his career in environmental consulting engineering and professional services. Ever the entrepreneur, he has subsequently owned and operated privately held companies for more than 25 years.

He acquired, along with a business partner, Rasoee in 2007 and became the President & CEO in July of 2009. Rasoee is a rapidly growing, quick-casual, modern Indian restaurant chain with head office in Vancouver, Canada.

Mr. Simpson holds a science and environmental engineering degree from the University of Guelph and currently resides in Vancouver, BC.

BeTheBoss - Tell us about the Rasoee concept.

David Simpson – Rasoee is a contemporary, fast-casual restaurant group that specializes in providing the customer a unique blend of Indian flavours that appeal to the North American palate. In addition, we work hard at providing our guests a quick, enjoyable and relaxing alternative to traditional fast-food concepts. Hence our company theme…MODERN. INDIAN. DELIVERED.

BTB - How and when did you become involved with Rasoee?

DS - My business partner and I bought into the company about three years ago. We saw it as a great opportunity to bring a new, easy-to-operate and exciting concept to the marketplace. I added to my responsibilities as an investor by becoming the Chief Executive Officer in the summer of 2009.

BTB - What was your background prior to joining Rasoee?

DS - As a “through-and through” entrepreneur, I have owned, operated and managed various companies for almost thirty years. My technical expertise happens to be in psychology – a discipline that has been very helpful in ensuring we cater, in every way, to our target audience.

BTB - What are some of the advantages in being a Rasoee franchisee?

DS - As a small, growing and engaging company, we offer exceptional flexibility and responsiveness to franchisees. Their voices are heard at all levels in the company. For example, all of our franchisees participate in new product development and meet directly with the CEO, on a monthly basis, in order to express their views and explore new ideas. At the same time, “small and growing” does not mean unsophisticated. Our senior management team has an exceptional amount of food franchising experience, in all disciplines. So Rasoee franchisees have the “best of both worlds.” They partner with a company that is both nimble and knowledgeable!

BTB - Who is your ideal franchisee?

DS - Our group does best with proactive, enthusiastic individuals who are genuine, hard working and life-long learners.

BTB - Tell us a little about the Rasoee market.

DS - Rasoee thrives in high density, high traffic, cosmopolitan urban centres. Our menu and ambiance appeals to people from all “walks of life.”

BTB - What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

DS - Get the “people” part right and everything else follows.

BTB - Do you have a mentor and is there someone you look to for inspiration?

DS - Over the years, I have been most fortunate to have had a number of mentors – people who gave generously of their time and know-how. These days, I very much enjoy having the opportunity to return the favour, mentoring a number of individuals who work for the company. I find inspiration all around me. Team members, franchisees, suppliers, customers and a host of others all provide insight and great ideas every day. It makes for an exciting and invigorating business environment!

BTB - What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a franchise?

DS - First and foremost, take your time. Start by having a healthy conversation with yourself about who you are and what matters to you most when investing in a franchise. Do your research and ask lots of questions. If this is your first business venture, make sure you talk to others who have demonstrated success in owning and operating a company. Get objective advice. And above all, be true to yourself. Make your own path.

BTB - In your opinion, why do you think that Rasoee would be a great opportunity for someone?

DS - Of course, it is vitally important that all of our franchisees have a profitable business. But within that context, the bedrock foundation of the company is to ensure that all of our franchisees feel like they are part of a family. Our franchisees know they can count on us. We do what we say we will do. And we are behind them every step of the way. Without a doubt, an old-fashioned handshake means something with our company! Welcome to the family.