Tony and Alka Sappal posing in their restaurant holding two dishes.

Tony and Alka Sappal

Madhur Sappal (Tony), Owner of INDIA K’ RAJA RESTAURANT

Years in Business:

What did you want to be as a child?
A singer – I still sing in private informal gatherings.

What’s the best piece of business advice you received when starting out?
Make an ongoing 5 year budget forecast and plan accordingly.

What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting or running your business?
The evenings and weekends I could spend with my sons while they were growing up.

When did you first realize that your business was going to succeed?
When we first opened our doors for business on October 1st, 1995.

What’s the first thing you do every morning to set the tone for your day?
Pray to my God and ask for success.

How did you come up with the name for your business?
My wife, Alka and I both wanted the name of our restaurant to convey our message of being a trendsetting leader in authentic Indian cuisine offered in RVA. “India K’ Raja”, a phrase in hindi meaning Kings of India appropriately does that.

When did you last meet someone who inspired you?
Both of my sons, Samay Sappal and Saajan Sappal, inspire me with their diligence and ethics in their respective professions, and with their care for the local community where they thrive.

What characteristic do you most admire in other business owners?
Focus and perseverance.

What does the world need more of?
Love and acceptance of diverse experiences.

If you had 3 more hours in a day, what would you do with them?
I would give an extra hour each to my family, my community and myself.

Which of your personal traits makes you proudest?
Ability to be comfortable in all situations.

Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently when you first started out?
I would have hired a marketing agent to manage business promotion and brand establishment. Also, I would have created an easier to understand menu design for the Richmond area market which was new to the Indian cuisine experience 2 decades ago.

What does success mean to you?
Waking up every morning excited to go to work and make my dreams a reality.

What’s the best thing about being a local business owner? 
It gives me an opportunity to serve Richmond community where I live, work and play.