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people 29 Feb 2016

How this entrepreneur is making 'Bento Boxes' more customise with his new venture?

The Bento Cafe is all about creating your own meal boxes. A new venture by Ashish Kapur of The Wine Company, the restaurant has opened its first outlet at Mall of India.

By Nusra Deputy Features Editor

Tell us about the concept of The Bento Cafe?

The Bento Cafe is about the boxes from the orient. The whole concept is to customise the boxes by letting customers follow the steps of making their own boxes. We have concepts named as Bento 5 and Bento 3 wherein five is the five step meal and three is the three step meal. The steps that we are talking about here is essentially has key role, the base which is the rice or noodle, salad at step 3, bite at step 4 which is a starter and a drink in step 5.  We are also trying to do street foods from orient whether it is a Singapore Puff or a Japanese yakitori. We want to promote the most popular street food around the orient.

What made you join Ashish Kapur as a Co-founder?

I started my journey as a brand manager with an FMCG company then I moved to foodpanda as Business Head India for strategic alliances and offline marketing. There I came to meet very passionate Ashish Kapur and Joydeep singh, who are owner and promoter of Dimsum Bros and The Wine Company. It was then; they asked me to join them as co-founder of their new venture- The Bento Cafe.

What is your expansion plan?

The response has been really good in Mall of India. We are planning to open one more as people love food and the concept. We are also planning to simplify things and bring more experiences to the customers’. We want to open at least 10 outlets over next couple of years in Delhi-NCR. And, based on the current reactions we are looking for prime locations in the city.

It’s believed that Mall of India is one of the highly paid malls in India. How are you doing the business?

If the rentals are up you probably need to do more businesses. Essentially, see how much sales you are doing per square feet.  I think we are very lucky in that sense.

Yo! China is also running on the same concept. How similar it is to them?

The Bento Cafe has entirely different concept than that of Yo! China. Of course, being a Pan Asian restaurant there are few overlaps, the noodles are same. But, we have a lot more variety including pad thai, spicy thai, Singapore noodles etc.  We are doing cuisines from 8 countries and we are trying to highlight top dishes from each of these countries.

For us it is also about authentic, quick and fresh cooking that takes 10 minutes to serve.

How many orders you are doing in a day?

We are doing 200-300 boxes per day. Bento box starts at Rs 275 and the offer of the day at Rs 175 whereas the noodle boxes are priced at RS 75.

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