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Spicing Things Up

In Focus
NAME:Ravi Singh
COMPANY:Kickin’ Inn
LOCATION:Sydney, Australia
It can be hard to inject fresh excitement into an established dining scene. But with his innovative Cajun seafood concept, Kickin’ Inn CEO Ravi Singh saw an opportunity to stir things up.

It’s no surprise that Australia, with its 34,000 kilometers of coastline, is renowned for its seafood. But in a land where salt and pepper calamari has become so commonplace it verges on boring, culinary entrepreneur Ravi Singh is shaking things up with an innovative new twist – adding Cajun spice to the mix with his fast-growing chain of Kickin’ Inn restaurants.

“In 2015, my business partner Sami Karras and I were discussing what it would take to introduce a concept that was unknown to the Australian market,” Singh tells The CEO Magazine.

“Entrepreneurship is all about risks. It’s all about the good times and bad times – it’s all about how you bounce back from market challenges.”

“In that process, we identified that Cajun was probably the perfect choice because it was largely absent from the market.”

Although the pair’s vision was clear, turning the concept into a reality proved more difficult.

“We couldn’t find a company that could make and deliver the authentic Cajun sauces we needed to cook in the restaurant,” Singh explains. “That’s when the penny dropped. So, I started doing research and found the ingredients myself.”

The result was a mixture of 55 herbs and spices which delivered the authentic Cajun taste they were looking for.

A Labor of Love

For three years, Singh and his team dedicated themselves to perfecting their creations, testing and refining each dish to ensure it stayed true to its Cajun roots. It didn’t take long for them to recognize the immense potential of what they were working on.

“We came to the conclusion that what we were trying and testing was something that would go berserk in the Australian market,” he says.

Their perseverance paid off and Kickin’ Inn quickly emerged as a beacon of innovation on the Australian dining scene.

“One of our goals is to touch 27 million hearts. That is to say, I want 27 million people in Australia to know what Kickin’ Inn is all about by 2030,” he says. “It’s a very strong vision.”

“Since 2018, we’ve been proud of our association as a committed partner to the growth of the Kickin’ Inn brand and business. PremierNorthpak has direct presence in all mainland capital cities providing products and services to Kickin’ Inn’s expanding footprint. With our shared values and customer focus, we’re looking forward to continuing the Kickin’ Inn journey to 100 restaurants and beyond.” – Louie Antoniou, Executive Director, PremierNorthpak


The COVID-19 pandemic soon put Singh and Karras’ formula to the test, making it increasingly challenging for restaurants to trade. But the episode demanded that the fledgling business think outside the box.

“The pandemic was such a difficult time for businesses all across the globe, but the Australian market was really hit hard and hospitality quite literally shut down,” Singh reflects.

“We survived largely because we innovated in terms of how we connected with our customers and how we connected with our people – our employees – and our strategy even resulted in growth.

“Entrepreneurship is all about risks. It’s all about the good times and bad times – it’s all about how you bounce back from market challenges. Now the business has evolved in many ways – one being that we’ve become even better at doing what we already do well.”

A Growing Force

At the start of last year, the Kickin’ Inn chain was made up of 12 restaurants. Now, it has grown to 21 restaurants across Australia, with plans for further expansion in the coming years.

“Our brand has literally become a national identity,” Singh says of its swift expansion.

Another important driver of the company’s success, he believes, is its unwavering commitment to connection through brand awareness, company culture and dynamic leadership.

“You have to know your market; you have to know your people and you need to be very well-connected with the customer,” he explains.

The company prioritizes its staff just as much as it does its customers, Singh enthuses.

“I’ve designed the company to be very family oriented,” he stresses. “We want people to be emotionally attached to our brand. We want our people to represent our brand as true ambassadors.”

“We want our people to represent our brand as true ambassadors.”

Building the company around shared values is therefore crucial, which is why the company focuses heavily on giving back to the wider community.

“We have been very heavily involved in community efforts, ensuring we’re also giving back to society,” he reveals.

Initiatives are not limited to an investment in 100 pop-up clinics where a portion of the mixed bag sales is donated to Little Wings – a charity supporting families of children battling serious illness – and a breast cancer awareness campaign to coincide with Mother’s Day. Singh thanks Kickin’ Inn’s customers for making these initiatives possible.

“It’s an exciting era for Kickin’ Inn as we race towards our 2030 vision. Being at the helm requires a great level of accountability to ensure our people – including suppliers – are on the journey with us,” he confirms.

These suppliers have also played an important role in the company’s swift ascent, with PremierNorthpak among those that have helped the brand become the success it is today, but so too has customer support.

“The restaurant business is a people’s game. You’re dealing with suppliers, you’re dealing with customers and you’re dealing with employees,” Singh says.

“And if you can get these three elements of your business right, you have set yourself up to truly succeed and I believe we have done just that with Kickin’ Inn.”

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