An exclusive interview with Ashish Kapur, Co-Founder & MD, Yo! China.
Ashish Kapur has successfully developed India's first and largest chain of Chinese restaurant. An Engineering graduate, Ashish shares his experience on running the concept of Chinese restaurant in India while talking to Restaurant India.
Yo! China has always been the first choice for customers when eating Chinese. What are the strategies that you apply in holding the customer base at your brand?
There are many reasons for the success of our restaurant. But the major reason is that we operate in the Chinese food segment, which is the most desired cuisine among youth as they are the main consumers today. When we talk about eating out trend, I think we are operating in a segment which is massively catering to the youth. We create fun at our restaurant, we are value for money restaurant, our restaurants are trendy, and we offer innovation and are present at the right location. The strategies help us gain an edge over others. We are here for 11 years building brand because brand brings consistency and the ability to stay requires time.
How is Chinese food different from Indian palate?
I think, Chinese food adapts itself according to a country and it is more to do with local taste as well as availability of ingredients. There is lot of foreign ingredients that we use in our food that is really enjoyed by the customers. So, I think you have to pick and choose what is authentic.
From where did you source the ingredients to keep the authenticity of your food?
We source our ingredients from Singapore, China, Hong Kong and a lot from importers in India. But there are certain ingredients which are made from foreign land and we stock them here.
Do you think that the new government would introduce policies which would really suit the Indian restaurateurs’ palate?
The new FSSAI law which is in the process from last couple of years is still under progress. I think the issue in our country is not about putting a new law, rather implementing the existing law. I think, the key is how we implement a system where laws are respected, laws are led out and there are less of money transactions and a genuine approach in following the law.
Do you think that there is a loose policy in taxation of the restaurant industry?
The restaurant industry is the largest employer in India. The service tax element should be reduced; more people should be encouraged because the more you hurt a person's pocket, the restaurant meal becomes more expensive and as a result, the consumption level decreases. So, I think everybody should be encouraged to increase the consumption level.
We see that fine dine restaurants are again a comeback. What would you say on the same?
People are well travelled today. The share appreciation of trade food, they share experience of a different menu and secondly, there is a whole new trend of chef-driven restaurants. We can see some foreign restaurants which have opened the fine dine restaurants franchisees in India which has led to the growth of the fine dine business.
Nowadays, investors are more attracted towards casual dine segment. What could be the reason for this?
The key for any investor is the scalability and casual dine segment is the most scalable segment today when compared to a fine dine segment. And the success of Domino's, Barbeque Nation and other successful restaurants has become a proven track record for this segment.
You also serve wine and beer along with the meal, what is the percentage of people taking wine with the meal?
Today, the trend is growing and about 10-15 per cent people prefer wine over a meal.