In an exclusive chat with Restaurant India, Nathan Harris, Owner, The Hole in the Wall Cafe talks about how he always wanted to be connected with the food industry.
Tell us about your journey until you opened this restaurant?
In 2010, we started this on our own and now it is six years old. It is with the help of our sheer hard work and our customers; we have built a credible brand. . We're connected to the grassroots and we prefer passion over profit any day. Our restaurant has grown from 20 to 200 seater and we constantly endeavour to keep the same touch and feel that we created six years back. We've learnt a lot of lessons over the years and still adapting to new things every day that keeps us going strong.
What are the challenges faced to manage a restaurant?
Since we are self-funded, finance was an initial restraint and concern for us. But after six years and two successful restaurants we fortunately don’t have to focus much on that. We have regular challenges like staff attrition and inflationary supply costs, but I would say that our main concern at the moment is focussing on consistent quality of our food and also meeting high expectations that our customers set for us.
How do you decide on pricing keeping your target customers in the mind?
Well, I guess the basic philosophy with which we have started still hold good for us. We always wanted to be known not just as a friendly homely neighbourhood cafe, but a place that customers would visit frequently on a daily basis and not just for occasions. So, with that in mind we had to keep the pricing as realistic and reasonable as possible. That's why we have a mid level pricing model.
Do you have any plans to go the online way as other restaurants are keen on sharing online space? Elaborate.
Today, for a sustainable business you have to be connected to the online space, whether you like it or not. Competition has also moved to the online space and it is not competing for business, but also for recognition and modernity from customers. We currently service customers with home deliveries and private ordering online. In the near future we’re looking to expand on opportunities to set different trends for people connecting with us online to keep us current and trending.
What is your view on strategic marketing?
It's necessary, if you want to stay connected to this market. It's important to first identify your group of potential customers before you prepare a marketing plans to reach out to them.
According to you what are the top trends that will drive the industry in 2016?
I think people are looking for new trends every day. As long as you keep your customers intrigued with new ideas and food, they'll come back with a sense of adventurism. The food industry is moving into a very interesting space, where entrepreneurs are now much bolder than before and customers aren't afraid to spend money to try something new. The standard of food has defiantly improved in 2015 and 2016 it looks more exciting and interesting.
What is your expansion plans?
Currently, we are in two locations and might be looking to tie up with people in other states. For instance, we plan a set up outside Bangalore.