SOME people may see buying the restaurant you work in as jumping from the frying pan into the fire, but not 22-year-old Akanksha Taneja.
She relishes owning Oporto Penrith, in Sydney’s west, and the many challenges managing about 20 employees — including her mother and aunt — presents.
And for her, it is just the beginning.
“I definitely plan to add a lot more branches to my tree and grow ahead in such a great company,” Ms Taneja said.
“I’m planning to grow in the Penrith area — towards the Blue Mountains, Richmond.”
The former Kingswood High student commutes the short distance from Cranebrook to Penrith every day.
“My day starts at 8.30am,” she laughed.
Ms Taneja credits coming to Australia in 2008 with making much of this possible.
She said she would have had to wait until she was 18 to work in her home country of India, whereas here the then 16-year-old emigree started immediately, choosing to work at Oporto Penrith, where by the age of 20 she was promoted to store manager in charge of her younger brother, among others.
After graduating from accounting at Western Sydney University, she left to pursue a career as an accountant at Novotel Hotel for six months until her former boss told her he was selling the franchise business.
“He asked would I be interested so I spoke with my dad, who was very supportive, and we officially took over in June 2015,” Ms Taneja said.
“It was my destiny to run Oporto, I think.”
It helps that her father owned a demolition company in India, and that she completed a sub-major in managing organisations as part of her degree. Plus, her uncle recently opened an Oporto in Liverpool.
Ms Taneja says she never let her age hold her back.
“I think the best thing about Australia is people realise the value of money at a young age because they know how hard they work to earn it,” she said.
Oporto is an Australian-owned network of more than 140 restaurants, founded in Bondi in 1986, known for its grilled chicken and burgers.
“If I wouldn’t eat it, I wouldn’t give it to the customers,” Ms Taneja said.