SU Alumnus Expands Family Business “Naan N Curry”



Naan N Curry, a restaurant in Renton and Issaquah, is recognized for its top-notch Pakistani/Indian food and professional service. What the reviews won’t tell you is that the restaurant is also the success story of a Seattle University alumnus. Shan Janjua, a graduate from the class of 2012, has expanded his family business to two locations with a third in the works, but this wasn’t always part of his plan.


Shan Janjua, the owner and chef of the Issaquah location of Naan N Curry.

Not long ago Janjua was a graduate from the University of Washington, weighing medical school and the corporate sector against the prospect of inheriting the restaurant. Janjua applied to Seattle U’s Master of Business Administration program to better understand his skills and learn where they could be applied, and wound up completing the program with a better understanding of himself as well.

“I saw a new-found desire to expand and succeed,” said Majid Janjua, his father. “When [Shan] realized his strengths, weaknesses and his overall capacity to be productive, he was able to better delegate and train his teammates.”

Looking back on his experiences in the MBA program, Janjua points to a class on emotional intelligence as his most formative and eye-opening experience. Emotional intelligence, the ability to recognize emotions in oneself and others, was a recently- added requirement at the time but has since become a staple of the program.

The class taught Janjua to adapt to the personalities of others and highlighted the importance of support groups when making business decisions. For Janjua, this support group consisted of his wife, parents and sisters, who helped him take risks confidently and responsibly. He stressed that the lessons from this class are what he uses the most and have had the greatest relevance to his daily operations.


The Pakistani dishes at Naan N Curry.

“In order to lead, in order to do something within an organization or be in a business, you need to learn more about yourself than anybody,” Janjua said. “You need to know how to get the most out of yourself so you can get the most out of your team.”

Janjua took up a corporate job after finishing the master’s program, only to find that it was not what he wanted. He described the position as more stable and straightforward than managing a restaurant, but also more confining.

While studying and working at Naan N Curry, Janjua was able to learn something in class and immediately apply it to the business, which he could not do in this new position. Though it meant more responsibility, Janjua ultimately chose his family business because it allowed him to take risks and innovate, using the tools he had gained from Seattle U.

He soon became the manager of Naan N Curry and took on the challenge of opening a second restaurant. Combining his experiences from the MBA program and the years he spent working under his parents, Janjua managed to staff the new Issaquah location to 75 percent of the level of the original, all within a matter of four months.

Janjua claims that a large part of the restaurant’s success was founded on the trust and camaraderie he had with the staff. In particular, he credits Xenos Nair, his longtime friend and manager of the Issaquah location, for supporting the idea and helping him achieve it.


“We’d always talked about opening something, [Janjua] and his family have a great product and great branding,” Nair said. “It was a comfort level that we had with each other and being real with one another that allowed this to happen.”

Though Janjua learned many lessons from opening and managing the second location, the one that stood out to him the most was not being afraid to take the first step. In the midst of piling finances and having recently become a father, all factors seemed to point against the new restaurant, but he trusted his instinct and was rewarded for it.

“There was really was not a good time, there is never the perfect time and sometimes you just have to take the plunge,” he said. “As simple as it sounds, I would say follow your gut. It’s great to have data and we really emphasize using that for our decisions, but you shouldn’t let it stop you.”

Janjua plans to establish the third Naan N Curry in the downtown Seattle area, bringing his family’s recipes to an even larger community than ever before. For more information on Naan N Curry’s Renton and Issaquah locations visit or contact [email protected]

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