Akul Dhingra together with his cousin, Pushkar Chopra started Mex It Up to serve authentic Mexican food inspired by the Chipotle restaurants on a visit to the US. They took two months to decide and set up the restaurant.
What are the challenges that you are facing in operating a Mexican chain in a country like India?
The biggest challenge faced was to get avocados in Delhi to prepare good guacamole because you will be judged with the kind of guacamole you serve to customers as it is the most popular Mexican dish. It is a seasonal vegetable and sometimes it’s very hard to get, so we have to send our customers back without serving them. Hence, getting an undisturbed supply of avocados is the biggest challenge we faced.
When did you start you first restaurant? What was the initial investment?
We started our first outlet in August 2014 in GK-1, M block market, New Delhi. The initial investment was around 30-40 lakhs and it was totally funded by us.
Are you in talk with any investors to raise funds for your business?
We want to raise funds through our franchise model only. As of now, we are looking to make the back end strong by running 3-4 outlets of our own and we are pretty much getting succeeded in that. We want to raise the franchise model of our restaurant soon.
What is your unique marketing strategy?
We don’t follow any strategy. We just follow the social media and get connected to all our customers via social media. We reply to their reviews and questions either good or bad and talk to our team if there are any suggestions and work to implement them.
As you are serving under the fast-casual segment. What is the reason that fast casual restaurants are picking up the stage?
Today’s generation is in a hurry and they don’t want to spend much of their time only on having food. If they get one hour lunch time, they don’t want to spend that whole hour on lunch, instead they want to finish the lunch in 20 minutes and then spend their rest 40 minutes in some other stuff. So the need of quick service chains is emerging these days.
Talking about the cuisine, what is the price range you are offering?
The nachos range from Rs 75-180, the burritos from Rs 225- 350, while a meal for two is around Rs 700-800.
How are you planning to expand your business?
We are planning to launch 3-4 more outlets in Connaught place, Select Citywalk Saket and Aero city. Also, we are running delivery service in all over south Delhi. Meanwhile, we are also in the process of shifting our GK outlet to Connaught place as nowadays we see a much more happening crowd coming to CP, which is somewhere lacking in GK. The CP outlet will begin in the starting of July. Meanwhile, we are also planning to enter NCR, Punjab, Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and other big cities of India.