In an interview with extremely talented and more so honest, Udit Khanijow, owner of Big Yellow Door chain of Cafes.
The back story
Udit did his MBA from narsee monjee Mumbai, and then joined a company and worked there for a very short period of time in sales department. He soon realised that this was not his cup of tea and thought of fulfilling his life-long dream now. He did always want to open cafe but not in this domain. He was more inclined in opening a cafe that offers healthy food. But after an in-depth market research he understood that Indian market is not so mature for people to opt for healthy food right now and then forayed into the brand that he has now.
“The cafe has a lot of influence of Bombay. Bombay has no space. All cafes and restaurants manage in lesser spaces.”The first place he bought which was in vijay nagar. He points out 2 reasons of it being small.”Firstly, I did not have that amount of money to invest into a big, lavish place and secondly, I wanted to give it a small feel. So when we opened our 2nd cafe in satyaniketan, it again was in a petite space.” Even after great success in the business he purposefully we keeps it small. It is his conscious decision.
The story behind the name
“We are taught in MBA to keep in mind to set up a name of a brand such, that it evaluates to be of a good brand value. So we were fumbling with so many names but nothing that we could step our foot on. We had already designed the irregularly shaped door that we have right now and it just clicked to my sister to just name it Big Yellow Door in accordance to the door ofcourse.”
Just going with the flow
He just wanted something about the restaurant that attracts the customers even when they are distracted. He used the yellow color and the design of the door to break monotony and attract eye balls. “When we started we didn’t have any experience, my now wife Shera and me, we visited many interior designers but found nothing concrete in our budget. I then thought of just doing it myself. It was a small place afterall. We already had a little sense of designing but could not imagine everything at once. We did it in tits and bits and everything came up very well.”
How to get popular
When he opened, there was no cafe in the north campus area. He noticed the gap that he could easily fill in and grabbed the opportunity of it. “Mumbai has always been 5-7 years ahead, eating out is not a plan there, and it’s a necessity. I lived nearby and thus was well versed with the area. There was nothing here.
In the present times, cafe may not be very different on the lines of food but there are a few points no one can compete it on. Udit believes in providing ‘value for money'. "I see to stick to it personally. I never lose the core values that we have evolved with.”
He always presents his recipes with a twist. "To be honest, we do not serve authentic Italian cuisine here as no one wants to eat that. We give everything a personal touch and an Indian twist. I personally develop all the recipes. I could have been a chef instead” he laughs.
These things have become the cafe’s core values now. “We take any new decisions in accordance to these.”
What to eat when on your next visit
"Bomb burger is loved by people as it was one of its kind in India when I introduced it. Also, our butter chicken pizza and pastas are a must try. These remain the top three sellers here.”
On a different note, his personal Favourite remains Butter Chicken Pizza for his love of Butter Chicken.
Marketing Strategies are not always needed
Udit didn’t have any marketing strategies when he initially started. “Whole idea when we started was different. We had thought of it to be a QSR where in people will come and either take away their food or have self service.” But the rush that came in the first day, converted this into a cafe. He, shera and his sister worked and served for the initial 4-5 months due to the lack of staff then.
Now they just market in on social media sites and nowhere else.
Why don’t you get your food delivered?
“I believe in selling experience and not just food. We do not want to compromise on our service. Food delivery kills experience.” Udit believes in the core values he setup this restaurant in and works only in alliance with them. Experience and taste are the two most important things he never fails to offer.
“We will expand in Delhi but are looking for capital investment. We do not want to franchise. We are not franchise ready yet. “