The hospitality startup wants to become Nepal’s leading hotel brand
--BY NEWBIZ TEAM
During a period of unemployment, Sushanta Timilsina discovered his passion for coffee culture and saw its potential to bring together and empower young people. This inspired him to establish the first Witty’s Coffee House along the Sahayoginagar-Tinkune river corridor.
Witty’s Hotel and Cafe was the result of six years of hard work in the hospitality industry. After leaving his previous role as an operations director, Timilsina drew upon his extensive experience in the sector to launch his own venture with confidence and insight.
Sushanta Timilsina's business journey began with a failed traditional "Bhatti" during the COVID pandemic. Undeterred, he transformed the establishment into a coffee shop with limited capital, gradually adding value and more investment. The success of his first store boosted his confidence to expand his business.
Timilsina began collaborating with other businesses to offer coffee services, which helped him grow his customer base and build a diverse community of individuals with different backgrounds and skill sets. This inspired him to pursue his dream of opening a hotel.
Initially, Timilsina was apprehensive about investing all his capital into another venture. However, upon discovering a vacant space that would become his hotel, he grew confident in its potential success. Despite having only Rs 165 in his bank account, he took the bold step to rent the space, envisioning it as a hotel.
Sushanta Timilsina embarked on a challenging journey of collecting cash and credits to support his business. Connecting with various customer groups proved invaluable to his success, and their support gave his business a solid foundation. However, capital was crucial for sustaining the venture, and Timilsina had to manage his investment capital carefully. He also diverted cash flow from the coffee business to support the hotel.
As the sole founder of Witty’s, Timilsina finds his entrepreneurial journey rewarding. He wakes up every morning with enthusiasm, constantly seeking new ideas to improve customer service and employee satisfaction. He operates on a tight budget, taking calculated risks and making every penny count. Though this approach has occasionally landed him in difficult situations, Timilsina remains dedicated to his business.
Despite facing continuous challenges, Sushanta Timilsina has consistently worked to make his brand visible, artistic, and cohesive. He strives to create long-lasting relationships and spread joy along the way, resulting in both challenging and blissful moments throughout his journey.
Witty’s continually evolves its services, taking customer reviews and opinions seriously to add value to every buck spent. Though Timilsina is the sole owner of the brand, he recognises the crucial role played by his team and customers in bringing his dreams to life. The hotel has generated over Rs 15 million in revenue since its opening. However, Timilsina believes that the hotel's true value lies in the sweat and hard work of its dedicated staff, which cannot be measured in financial terms.
Sushanta Timilsina's target customer base primarily consists of youthful and vibrant people, as well as tourists interested in Nepalese art and human interaction. Witty’s provides a safe space where people feel a sense of belonging and can feel at home.
Witty’s attracts visitors who enjoy making social connections with different customers, creating long-lasting relationships outside the business. They offer service-style hotel rooms on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, as well as onsite restaurant and coffee services.
The coffee house at Witty’s is typically booked on slot time, while the hotel operates continually. The hotel occupancy rate fluctuates between 60%, depending on the day of the week. Currently, Witty’s employs 22 staff working in different shifts and locations. Timilsina and his team also encourage young students to participate in internships and grooming activities.
Witty’s strives to make hospitality less intimidating by creating a casual and comfortable setting for customers. The team also hosts events to connect with their clientele and give them the freedom to experiment with foods and drinks.
Timilsina's business model focuses on keeping up with changes in today's world and incorporating them into their work culture. Witty’s generates revenue primarily through food, coffee, room bookings, and other amenities. The team also occasionally hosts events to promote young talents and give them a platform to showcase their skills.
In addition, Witty’s has partnered with other Nepalese entrepreneurs and startups, supporting each other through business collaborations such as hosting farmer's markets and supporting art events.
Since entrepreneurship comes with a tight budget, Timalsina says he has learned to make calculated business decisions. “Despite facing tough scenarios, these continuous challenges have helped me grow as a business person. I strive to make small achievements every day and build lasting relationships while spreading positivity among my customers and team members,” he said. “Regular feedback from clients and colleagues helps me add value to their investments. This journey has taught me to keep my spirits high at all times.”
According to Timilsina, his plan is to create a top-notch Nepali hotel brand and generate as much employment as possible within Nepal. “I aim to grow and learn valuable lessons alongside the brand while building special bonds with my customers and making them feel valued," he added.
The hospitality industry demands constant attention and can be tough to navigate. “Currently, the market is highly competitive, making it challenging for businesses to establish a foothold and attract customers. Additionally, the trend of young people going abroad has created a shortage of qualified workers and permanent staff, adding to the industry's difficulty,” he added.
Moreover, maintaining consistency in the business is a significant challenge. Various factors can cause tough times, making it difficult to hold still. However, Timilsina believes that overcoming these challenges is what defines a business's success.