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Food and Beverage 2015-08-17

Why are theme-based restaurants generating more money?

Customer experience, customer experience & customer experience is what all restaurateurs are investing in to retain customers. Food taste & quality always tops the priority list for the consumer & restaurant both, but, the ambience is also equally signifi

By Rashi Mathur, TFW Bureau Feature Writer

Indians have much higher disposable incomes today than ever before. The youth, women in particular and middle class families are eating out more often. Customer tastes are also evolving and it is no longer enough to offer them one type of cuisine and experience. Because of these reasons, F&B industry has branched into various specialised segments, theme-based restaurants being greatly in vogue.

Shedding light on this concept, Uday Menon, Chief Business Officer, Barbeque Nation Hospitality Ltd says, “There has been a huge increase in casual dining in India. Theme based restaurants cater to destination dining, where the experience of dining is the goal, rather than the food itself.”

The F&B industry is going through a consolidation phase. In this light, all restaurateurs need to keep their service, food taste and presentation to the expectation levels of the customers. Preet Saini, Managing Director, Underdoggs Sports Bar and Grill says, “Theme-based restaurants are emerging and are here to stay. Customers today look to doing different things. They have varied tastes and are well travelled. They want to have similar culinary experiences in India as they get when they travel abroad. Theme-based restaurants offer customers a different experience, therefore breaking the monotony.”

Franchising fosters growth

The F&B industry is dynamic. Franchising can greatly help in uniform economic growth, as theme-based restaurants have just popped up in this vast industry. According to a Technopak report, as far as QSR and café culture is concerned, NCR alone has 408 franchise brands, western India has 386 brands with the majority concentrated in Mumbai. In southern India too, 250 brands are mostly split between Bangalore and Chennai. In comparison, eastern India has 58 brands, largely located in Kolkata. Underdoggs Sports Bar and Grill started franchising in 2012. Sharing his views, Preet Saini puts forth, “People saw that we can add value to their portfolio and asked for a franchise. We were happy to be present in markets where we were not there and are open to entering new markets through franchise route.” Rainforest which has a prominent presence in Mumbai and Pune, has also recently started its franchise operations. “Currently we are in the advanced stages of discussion in finalising two franchise outlets in western Mumbai and Pune respectively,” says Yash Jaiswal, Owner and one of the Partners, Rainforest Restobar.

Related: 7 Ways to Start a Successful Casual Dining Chain

Selecting the right location

Location plays an intrinsic role in the success of a restaurant. One must analyse the kind of crowd that can be anticipated and will be receptive towards the theme of the restaurant. “Our parameters are simple. We believe in being centrally located in the area or the mall where we are present. We should be in an area which is safe, inhabited and which has a recall and access to people who can throng in for enjoyment and celebration,” says Saini of Underdoggs Sports Bar and Grill. Sharing a piece of advice on selecting the right location, Menon of Barbeque Nation Hospitality Ltd says, “Exact criteria varies depending on locations, but in general we choose spaces with high footfalls. Sometimes we cater to a specific customer base; for example, we opened the OMR outlet in Chennai and Electronic City Outlet in Bangalore to tap the IT crowd of nearby areas. At other times, outlets are opened in areas known for their large number of restaurants, like the Park City outlet in Kolkata or inside popular malls such as the Worli outlet in Mumbai. Any outlet that is not the first in a city is opened to cater to a specific locality.”

Brand Expansion
Barbeque Nation 50 outlets in the next two years
Underdoggs 4 more outlets to open shortly
Rainforest 20 outlets in next 5 years
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