Bawa Hospitality forayed into chain of restaurants with Bistro Grill, an Arabic cuisine specialist few years back and has recently opted for the franchise route for expansion. In an interview George D'Mello, Head-Operations and Venture, Bawa Hospitality and Services shares the future expansion plans of the brand.
Ramanjit Kaur (RK): Shed some light on the inception of Bistro Grill in India?
George D'Mello (GDM): Bistro Grill is incepted and managed by Bawa Hospitality and Services Group which is into hospitality industry for the past 30 years. The brand is currently running four hotels in Mumbai, one each in Kolkata and Jaipur and is expected to launch more in Amritsar, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Bangalore and other parts of India. The company successfully forayed into independent chain of restaurants with Bistro Grill –an authentic Arabic cuisine around 14 years ago.
RK: What is Bistro Grill all about?
GDM: Bistro Grill serves authentic Arabic cuisine. The authentically Mediterranean taste will tickle the most discerning taste buds. The brand’s food is healthy, fresh and prepared with superior ingredients, pronounced creativity, and complimented with fantastic, prompt service and a look that will enchant one and all.
RK: What inspired Bistro Grill to take the franchise route to expand its presence in India?
GDM: Bistro Grill adopted the franchise route in 2010 with the purpose of reaching out to the masses with the brand’s expansion in the north, east, west and south. The company also expects to soar and tap unchartered territory via franchising.
RK: What is the USP of Bistro Grill? How it is different from other players in the sector?
GDM: The single minded resolve to provide patrons the best service coupled with authentic, delicious Middle Eastern cuisine makes for the finest in Arabic dining experience. Bistro Grill is the first and the only Arabic cuisine restaurant in the country serving almost the entire variety of vegetarian and non vegetarian Arabic dishes. The spices and products used for preparing food at Bistro Grill are imported from UAE and other Arab countries. The brand’s special recipes are its specialties that are created exclusively by the brand and are supplied to all the franchisees.
RK: What practices and initiatives you are introduced in Bistro Grill by bawa Hospitality?
GDM: The company has two modules of Dine in and Express outlets depending upon the investment and area of the outlet. This gives the franchisees and investors a free hand to experiment with the available budgets and investments they desire to make. Moreover the company provides training to the new staff and market its brand in every aspect.
RK: What will be the eligibility criteria for selecting the franchisees of the company? How much area and investment is required to take up the franchisee of Bistro Grill?
GDM: The company looks for serious investors, who would like to grow with the brand. As mentioned above the company operates through two models, Dine in and Express outlets. The area required for an Express outlet is 250 to 550 sq.ft while investment ranges from Rs 10 to 15 lakh. However a Dine in requires an area of 1,200 sq.ft and above with an investment of Rs 55 to 75 lakh.
RK: How many franchised outlets does the company presently has in India and what are the target locations to expand Bistro Grill in India?
GDM: At present the company has four franchise outlets and is planning to open more in the near future. The company plans to expand pan India but primarily in cities like Mumbai, Goa, Jhansi, Kerala and many others.
RK: What kind of training and support will a franchisee gets after partnering with the company?
GDM: Bistro Grill would be bringing in the expertise, brand and technical know how to set and run the Arabic Food outlet successfully. The company will provide an Executive Chef and the Outlet Manager to the franchisee, free of cost till the time the outlet starts running smoothly. The company also trains the franchisee’s staff in the food as well as the accounting side. The company provides all marketing support as well as any other alterations etc. Moreover, all the authentic food material is supplied by the company.
RK: Did the company face any challenges while establishing the brand in India? If yes, what were they and how did it overcome these challenges?
GDM: The company faced lot of challenges while establishing the brand. There were staffing problems which were overcome by hiring staff from Mumbai. But in due course the company managed to employ sufficient reliable local staff.