Running a brewpub/concept restaurant isn’t easy- it’s a lot of work, a lot of sweat and the occasional tears.
There are a lot of good, earnest people working behind the scenes, who put in a great deal of effort, round-the-clock, to ensure that everything you love about stays that way.
And these people are none other than our never-tiring, ever-inspiring staff.
Meet the man responsible for serving your favourite comfort food in ways you wouldn’t have imagined possible—say hello Toit’s Senior Supervisor, Ajith Kumar.
When did you join Toit?
June 20th, 2015. I joined as a senior steward
What were you doing before that?
I was working at The Holiday Inn Hotels in Dubai for 7 years as a steward.
Tell us about your experience in Dubai?
I enjoyed my time in Dubai. I used to work one shift there for 7 years. 7am-4pm and Sundays off. (sometimes I wish we could do that here and chuckles) I had a great team and the management was also very supportive and motivating.
About 6 years later, I got married and my wife joined me. Even after 3 months, she did not get a job and she was not enjoying just sitting at home. That’s when we decided to come back.
How did you come across Toit?
A colleague in Holiday Inn told me about his cousin who worked at Toit. I took a vacation for 1 month and it was during that time, I interviewed with Toit. Once I got a confirmation, I gave my resignation at Holiday Inn but they did not accept it easily. They kept me back for almost 2 months.
You are working as a floor supervisor here, tell us more about your role? What is a typical work day like?
I love my work here. Firstly – I check all stations to see that they are well stocked for operations. I focus on the boys who are on duty. I am constantly guiding them, correcting them, training them. I pay more attention to new staff, I am observing them on the floor, helping them with the menu to make sure that they enjoy and learn every day at work. I impart the training that I was given in the past. That helped me grow a lot and that’s what I want to do as their senior.
Over the last 7 years, I have learnt a lot about guest relations and how it goes a long way in this industry. I help the front office when needed with attending calls, making reservations. Besides this assisting senior managers in whatever capacity I am required to is something I don’t even think twice about.
Have you been a part of this industry from the beginning?
I am from Kerala, Kasaragod. I am a hotel management graduate and it was natural for me to join this field. I started my career in a pub in Kannur – ironically, it was a small beer bar.
What do you do on your day off?
I love cooking and travelling. While, I don’t get to travel too much, I make sure I spend a few hours cooking! Asha, my wife does not like preparing many non veg dishes, or I can secretly say, she does not cook the dishes as well as I do. (I hope she does read this article. Haha). She has aced the vegetarian dishes. So, I take over the kitchen on my day off. I love cooking chicken curry and other Kerala style beef dishes. Occasionally, we watch a movie or go shopping in the mall.
How has your experience in Toit been so far?
When I joined Toit, I was given the responsibility of food pick up for 1.5 month and I lost 12 kgs. I had decided to quit at that point. While the management was just trying to get me to understand how the pub works, I had a different idea given that I had done all this in Dubai. But I had made so many friends and I learnt so much in that time that I decided to stay back. 7 years later, I am still here! I love working here, Toit is like a family. Ashwin is a great manager – he is very supportive and gives me the freedom to take decisions and guides me when required. We treat this like our restaurant, we do not fear our bosses and they have never made us feel fear which changes the work environment completely.
They have helped me think about my future, made me understand how to be financially secure. They played a big role in helping me make the biggest commitment of my life – to have my own house. In fact, Jeffin, our head brewer was the catalyst in this decision making. We are neighbours in the new building!
Talking about friends, anyone you consider sharing a great personal and professional relationship with in Toit?
Yes, that would be Dinesh. Back in the days, we both worked in the same section for 4 years. Somehow, in that particular section, during those years, there was always staff shortage. It was during this time that our relationship evolved from just colleagues to buddies as well.
Dinesh – The one trait about Ajith is that he handles most of the situations very well. He does not think twice before taking up a larger role and happily accepts additional responsibilities. His willingness to learn and participate has always stood out. At Toit, we wear multiple hats and we do what the situation requires us to do at the time. We are a team and we work on everything together.
We are bound together. And that’s why we love working together. Our wives know each other very well and many times we cook together. I make the Kerala specials and Dinesh whips the specials from North East! I have nice memories of our time together.
So, you can say that food and work was a big part your friendship?
No! Even sports! We had a tradition of playing badminton. We had a group which included the owners, some of our regular guests and staff. And I cherish those memories a lot. Just like work, even on the playing field we are like a family! We would have a lot of fun, play competitively and have the space to be bullied as well. Unfortunately, after my recent accident, we all stopped playing. But we will not let go of this tradition! Just a matter of time before we get back to it!