Local dog friendly restuarant Wags N Tales won three awards at the Kingston Business Awards Ceremony this year, picking up Best Marketing Campaign, Best Independent Retailer and Best Business for Hospitality and Food Excellence.
Situated on the corner of Brighton Road, the kitchen/bar boasts one of the longest opening hours in the area, opening at 8am and closing at 2am on weekends – making it the perfect spot for an early breakfast or a late night party.
The food is freshly prepared in the restaurant’s plant-based kitchen, which offers a wide variety of classic vegetarian brunch staples and a wide selection of signature cocktails.
Rajal Tank runs and owns Wags N Tales with her husband Parvin Tank. The Surbiton power couple attribute their success to their initial inspiration for opening Wags N Tales: “[a] love of coffee, dogs and vegetarian food”.
Wags N Tales opened in November 2016 and it has not slowed down since. “For us it’s such a personal and passionate endeavor that we literally put our heart, soul and all our money and energy into,” said Raj.
What inspired you to open Wags N Tales?
My love of coffee, dogs and entrepreneurship. I’m also a lifelong vegetarian, almost vegan, so that shaped the type of business I wanted to build. I have always wanted to work for myself and then when my husband got involved in planning, my original idea evolved and we worked together to establish Wags.
Where are you from?
I was born in India, but have now lived longer outside of India. Parvin, my husband was brought up right here in London. Parvin and I have lived and worked in the USA, UK and Switzerland.
Why did you choose Surbiton as the location for Wags N Tales?
We’ve lived in Surbiton for over 8 years now and have built our lives here. Originally we both were attracted by the fact that the commute to the city was so short, however we fell in love with how friendly, green, inclusive and safe Surbiton was.
Another huge factor in our decision making was the fact that our dog is used to huge open spaces, having moved to London from Switzerland. He loves water and swimming, so the fact that we have such brilliant royal parks, with Bushy and Richmond just a 10-15 minute drive away, really helped in deciding for Surbiton.
Our dog Cadbury used to get a good one to two hour’s walk daily and we would regularly take him to the river. The river access cinched it for us.
Even now that he’s an old pup of almost 13.5 years, we know some spots where he can easily walk into and out of the river, so he still goes in for a gentle paddle – even in the rain or cold, much to our concern.
Have you always been in the restaurant business?
No, both my husband and I worked in the corporate world and were completely new to this industry. We had to research everything we needed to know.
What was your career before opening Wags N Tales?
My husband had over 20 years experience in IT. His last position was a vice president role with Thomson Reuters. I have worked in buying and merchandising offices of diverse companies like Pottery Barn, WalMart and Arcadia.
What has been your greatest career success?
I can safely speak for both my husband and myself that Wags is our greatest career success, even though we feel we still have a long way to go to create the Wags brand that we envision and see the potential for.
What has been your greatest setback?
Before Wags, we had tried to buy a property to start another business, but the deal fell through and that was very disappointing. We had put in a lot of work, done a lot of research, planning and forecasting. But we picked ourselves up after coming to terms with our disappointment and both took up jobs again in the corporate world until we were ready to start Wags N Tales.
Would you consider Wags N Tales to be Inclusive?
We are very inclusive. We won the best hangout for the LGBTQ plus community by Time Out Awards. Every month we host a coffee morning for the members of the Kingston LGBTQ plus forum.
What is your favourite item on the Menu?
I love Mexican food so I would have to say the nachos. They’re fresh and delicious.