Mannan looks to expand business empire in the county
BORN in Bangladesh and raised in London, Mannan Abdul has built a small business empire in Gloucestershire and shows no sign of stopping yet.
Mannan, 36, owns more than 20 businesses in the county including restaurants, cocktail bars and coffee shops. They make up the Brasserie Group, of which Mannan is CEO.
The "heart and soul" of the group for Mannan is the Indian Brasserie in Bath Road, and he is now looking at expanding his portfolio further.
Mannan moved to Cheltenham from London more than 20 years ago at the age of 14.
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He arrived with his older brother, Rashid, and soon started working for him part-time at the Indian Brasserie while studying at college in the town.
Four years later and now in his early twenties, he became general manager and a shareholder of the Brasserie.
"This is where my journey started," he said.
"I saw a few things that I could change. I wanted to provide a personal touch for customers and trained my staff myself for this."
Rashid offered him financial support and a chance to recruit staff. Mannan also took a three month course in Calcutta to learn about Indian food and spices.
After the success of the Brasserie, Mannan took on further restaurants and venues. His latest, Coffee & Co in Montpellier Terrace, opened just before Christmas.
Others include Indian Rosi in Cirencester, Bengal Balti in the Forest of Dean and Indian Memories in Gloucester.
He also has plans for Chargrove House, in Shurdington Road, on the site of empty former Chargrove Business Centre building.
Mannan can start his days in one of his businesses at 9am. Each day is different and sometimes he will finish around 6pm while others can go on until 2am.
He travels around the county but employs a small team who monitor the different venues to ensure customer service remains at a high standard.
Mannan believes he gets his hard work ethic from his father, who ran a restaurant before Mannan was born. He also puts his success down to his enjoyment of meeting and working with different people.
He said: "I've always been a people person, from day one.
"Seeing people come into one of my restaurants and leave with a smile, that's where I get my drive from.
"I want to make things bigger and better, but I don't want to be greedy, I want others to help me.
"When you have one stick in your hand it's easy to break, but when you have 20 it's very hard to break. We are like a big family here."
Each venue in the group has a general manager and each one has shares in the group.
Mannan has gone to great lengths to employ the right people for the right job. This included employing a 24-year-old chef from Dubai, through a London agency, who is still with the business more than 10 years later.
Mannan said: "I believe in hard work, nothing comes free in life. Before you know how to run your business, you need to know how to run your staff.
"I will do my part to help Cheltenham attract more visitors."
He added that the group also made an effort to source all their produce locally.
Outside of work Mannan goes to the gym a couple of times a week. He also enjoys playing football when he gets the time. Once a year he travels to India to visit family friends.