The Bombay Bread Bar

How Floyd Cardoz Traded White Tablecloths for Shared Plates #ForTheWin

#ForTheWin is a series about turning bumps in the road into the building blocks of success.

The Bombay Bread Bar

The décor inside Paowalla in the SoHo district of New York City suggested fine dining, but chef Floyd Cardoz was going for fun. Two years in, he transformed the dining room and the brand.

The Tipping Point
Guests seemed to struggle with the first incarnation of Cardoz’s Indian restaurant in the SoHo district of New York City. Their first speedbump, he says, was simply pronouncing the name. Then, there was the décor, which he says led to expectations of “a Tabla experience—fine dining, long meal, but that’s not what we set out to be, so there was a disconnect.”

No Turning Back
Cardoz knew the restaurant needed a change, so he let investors know, and then he did some research.  “I visited Uncle Boons, Empellon, Mission Chinese—all had one thing in common: the fun factor.” Those dining rooms felt like a party every night, Cardoz said. “Then I thought about Einstein’s quote, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.’ That’s when I decided it was time.”

Road to Recovery
Cardoz calls the restaurant’s new incarnation, The Bombay Bread Bar, “colorful, vibrant, and sexy—with the lights dimmed lower than they were at Paowalla.” Everything went from formal to fun, right down to the details. “We traded tablecloths for different patterned oilcloth table coverings, like they do in India, and we changed our service ware, staff uniforms, and style of service. The heart and soul of the cuisine is the same, but the new menu is more approachable.”

Lessons Learned

  • Have the courage to change when you need to.
  • Constantly evolve and listen to guest feedback.
  • Keep it fun!

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