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Jun, 01 2009

Churning out kababs

The journey for The Great Kabab Factory (TGKF) began with the opening of the restaurant within Radisson Hotels.

TGKF was born with the creation of the first restaurant at the Radisson Hotel Delhi in 1996. The restaurant`s overwhelming success paved the way for franchising the brand, leading to an incredible growth of the brand which today finds presence across four countries, making it one of the largest Indian restaurant chains in its category. TGKF brand is owned by AB Hotels Limited, a joint venture between UMAK Investment Company Private Limited and Batra Group, which also owns the Radisson Hotel Delhi. The TGKF restaurant brand is managed by RHW Hotel Management Services Limited, which is a joint venture company of Radisson Hotels Worldwide and UMAK Investment Company Private Limited.

A contemporary and stylish casual dining restaurant, TGKF brings delectable kababs from all over the world to one table. Using recipes combining the ancient with the contemporary, at TGKF, one experiences mouth-watering kababs prepared in seven different styles. A different menu is set for each day and guests are served unlimited servings of each dish, either vegetarian or non-vegetarian.

When dining at TGKF a guest would get the feel of dining within a virtual food factory. The cutlery resembling factory tools and the metal serving dishes are all factory like. The staff wears dungarees to highlight the fact that they are all like factory workers. An open kitchen allows guests to enjoy the feel of eating within a factory premises. Each TGKF outlet exudes vibrant colours, lively sounds and a very distinct ambience which adds to the ethnic yet modern feel to the overall restaurant concept.

Moving out of hotels

TGKF was earlier opened in Radisson hotels only, but now stand alone outlets have also been opened. Was it difficult to move out of its comfort zone? Ashna Kapur, Director Brand Development, The Great Kabab Factory says, “Restaurants within hotels have an incredible advantage of being able to share services and space within the back areas; however, in a stand-alone, all the services are restricted within the premises of the restaurant. Space management is the key issue; working with expensive real estate, one has to ensure that all areas are used effectively and to their maximum capacity.”

TGKF has two formats, a stand-alone prototype, and one that is used within five star hotels. The company works with a panel of internationally reputed architects and interior designers to ensure that all the stores follow brand standards and regulations and maintain a commonality in look and feel.

Brand building abroad

Internationally, TGKF is present in four countries in the GCC. The main challenge of setting up restaurants in international locations is finding the right partner. On setting up restaurants internationally, Kapur informs, “Since we believe that doing a one-off outlet internationally is not financially viable, we look for a sound partner to tie up for either a master franchise or territory agreement. Once a partner is identified, we work closely with them to draw up a development strategy and schedule.”

Opening a store is one aspect, but establishing a brand name is another. For TGKF the most important aspect for building a brand name in a different country was to partner with strong franchisees. Kapur avers, “It has helped that we have built up a tremendous amount of brand presence and goodwill throughout the last decade, some of this was transferred to our new locations, and that along with strong local area marketing helped us achieve market acceptability.”

Future plans

With a strong brand presence in place TGKF now plans to target the European and South-East Asian markets for development of new stores. RHW`s future plans for it`s restaurant brands domestically, include gaining presence in hotels, malls, stand alone high street locations and commercial buildings. On increasing the store count, Kapur says, “We expect to be at the 40 restaurant mark by 2012. To ensure brand standard and quality we exercise regular audits, cutting down on food and beverage costs, staff incentives and marketing thrust.”

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