In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India Founder & Chairman of MRG Group shares his views and experience about the food service industry and more.
The Indian Hospitality industry was dominated by Luxury hotel brands. In the last decade, we have seen the industry evolve and shift towards the mid-market segment. Even within this category, there is an absence of a large chain of hotels in the offbeat leisure space. Hospitality is one of the less highlighted areas for aspiring entrepreneurs and has the perception of being only for the big players. Being from a small town, he always wanted to accomplish something substantial and significant in his life and create opportunities for entrepreneurs like him. For a person who thrives on challenges and believes in Punctuality, Performance and Progress. "There is no better place than the hospitality sector; it brought me a great opportunity to give quality food experience to the society says, K Prakash Shetty,Founder & Chairman of MRG Group." Banjara restaurant was his first establishment in 1993 and from then there has been no looking back.
Under your leadership Goldfinch hotels set a benchmark. So, what are your plans to take Goldfinch to the next heights?
MRG Group, the parent company of Goldfinch Hotels has a current portfolio of, six hotels under Goldfinch brand spread across Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Delhi and Mumbai. Along with these we have an upcoming property in Vashi, Navi Mumbai. We have plans to extend its footprint in the hospitality sector by expanding properties in Chikmagalur, Madikeri and Puducherry in the next three years. The group is looking at the openings of its Courtyard by Marriott in Bengaluru and Doubletree by Hilton in Goa with in the current fiscal year. My mission is to have 15 Goldfinch hotels across India.
My objective is to build on the past successes and make it better than ever experience - in terms of commercial success, brand positioning as well as guest satisfaction and naturally to make it a great place to work for our associates to grow their careers with job satisfaction and sense of achievement.
You have a lot of experience in this sector. How do you see India at par with global standards and food trends?
Indian countless delicacies can effortlessly compete and beat any finest cuisines and the latest F&B trends in the world. It’s turning Indian flair to global flair. When it comes to food trends, delicacies from the coastal belt to North-West frontier area have the finesse and capability to compete at a global level. The uniqueness, versatility and complexity need to cook an authentic cuisine is an art and differs from other parts of the world.Today, global consumers are well acquainted with Indian cuisine and the importance of leading a healthy habit.
You are keenly involved in hotel operations, marketing, food & beverage, human resources and finance. Which aspect of the hotel businesses you find is more interesting?
My business is like my child. It’s difficult to choose one amongst my children. All the departments are very important and dear to me. I always keep a close eye on my departments, whilst I do not directly engage at the ground level but I am in constant touch with my team on the same
India is at peak of growing food culture. What are some of the trends you would like to introduce at Goldfinch?
When everyone is running behind the trend, I firmly believe that we should not go away from our roots. Our restaurants are known for serving the authentic coastal delicacies. The key reason of the success is we are stepping ahead with the modern era’s requirements, whilst keeping our roots strong. Understanding the needs and the wants of today’s traveller in a fast-paced world, we are improvising our service, adding more options to F&B time-to-time. But in the name of the trend, we don’t want to compromise with the taste and authenticity.
Talk to us about your journey in the world of food and hospitality?
Nothing was on the platter for me. I had to struggle to build my brand. Soon after my graduation in 1983, I shifted to Bengaluru. The initial days were tough and insistent but determination, hardwork, commitment and self-belief never left me alone during my struggle days. This is what made me a restaurateur in the year of 1993; since then I have not stopped and neither do I intend to.
How do you see the competition in the market?
Hospitality has become one of the major businesses in the India. A large number of international brands have entered the sector in recent times. The sector has been marked with increase in number of premium segment hotels in various parts of the country. In this industry, we always see steep competition in the face of new investments and new entrants as well as the addition of big names in world hospitality.The competition is certainly a pro for the customer as they can obtain better service at more preferable price. My learning curve in this competitive industry makes me more sustainable and determined to survive and stand against strong waves.
The credit of my successful organisation is a strong employment relation which created a pleasant atmosphere within the work environment. I feel I am blessed to have a vast and diverse family as MRG employees. I always treat my employees as my extended family which means they are owners as well and need to run the show the same way.