Hitesh Keswani, Director at Silver Beach Hospitality talks about the nuances in the food business and what keeps you going ahead in the fast evolving market.
Running and operating the business smoothly is key to a restaurant success. Getting the right location, formats and the target customer is another important area in a successful restaurant operation, Hitesh Keswani, Director at Silver Beach Hospitality who has grown from one single restaurant to over 10 restaurant in India and in global market expanding to Dubai talks about the nuances in the food business and what keeps you going ahead in the fast evolving market.
Consistency is the key
I think if your brand is strong nothing is tough. It’s just that your focus has to be right and product has to be strong. For us, we always make sure that the property we take is rightly priced and there is a number which adds on the value when we do the Capex. So, keeping all these in mind we consider things. The initial stages are different when you form a brand but once the brand is formulated it is not difficult. We are backed by good chefs, managers so it is not difficult to run the brands we own. When we created, we did the initial food, pricing, the decor, the concept which is a time taking process but once we started multiplying it doing day to day operations is not a big deal for us.
Concept restaurants are fad
The hospitality industry is going at a very fast pace every day there is new brands coming in the market both globally and locally. There are lots of concept restaurants emerging and there are lots of competitions happening. Indians have started going out more and as they are well travelled they know about international food. So, overall the picture looks good. However, it all depends on how you manage your expenses keeping in the mind on how to lower your expenses, rental has to be low and that’s how you go long. Keep your expenses, rentals intact with product as strong as possible with consistency in the offering.
Entering global land
Dubai is a tourism city and the expenses there are huge, the rentals are huge. The business is all dependants on tourist and the market. There is no loyalty as compared to India. Dubai is doing really well. We are also looking for a local partner for Jakarta and Bali.
Managing multi brands
It all depends on market to market and location and that’s how we come with a concept. Ministry of Salad is a vegetarian salad bar because the entire area is vegetarian dominated area in fact Domino’s pizza is vegetarian in that area. Since, there was no healthy places around we came up with this brand. It depends on property to property and crowd spending ability.
The crowd puller
The bar will always have a higher footfall then restaurants. Radio Bar which is one of the premium bars we have has the largest footfall. The footfall is about 400-450 a night every single day. However, at our restaurants like Silver Beach Cafe we get 150-180 people a day. Businesswise a bar is more profitable but looking at long terms restaurants are actually the last time survivor if you maintain your consistency.
Cocktails and mock tails are doing well but after two cocktails a person would want to stick to his drink. They are a crowd puller especially with bars doing molecular stuff with smoke and presentation. Every bar is doing well because they are innovating with new menu, doing innovations around cocktails. Innovation is a continuous process. Every six months we do innovations with our menu, cocktails. We see what is moving and what’s not. The one which is not moving we remove and add a new menu. So, if strawberry season is going on we make fresh strawberry cocktails. At Ministry of Salad we have salad from strawberry. So, it is a seasonal process.
Expanding to grow
Currently we have got 10 restaurant and eight different brands based on different concepts and cuisine. We are in the process of doing more brands in QSR format which is in its initial stage. We will finalise that in April- May with a plan to take that brand pan India. With expansion to the existing brand we are looking at expanding Nom Nom and Silver Beach Cafe which is an European Cuisine restaurant in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Few more Ministry of Salad will be opening in Andheri and Powai. Primarily we are looking at Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Delhi is also in our mind but we haven’t started the property management as such for Delhi. We will open six outlets this year and also planning to go franchise. It will take three four months to take this route.