In an exclusive chat with Restaurant India, Ashish Chakraborty, Director, House of Commons speaks about the theme of their restaurant.
We wanted to offer people a different kind of theme, a theme which was sufficient on its own. Therefore, we decided to go ahead with the idea of opening a country pub with pastoral look. We started working on this project from June 2015 and finally everything got into place by December 2015. The reason for choosing Connaught Place as the spot was because of the underlying motive of making our brand more accessible to our customers and to be connected with youth. CP has eventually turned as a quite happening place and most preferable hangout zone among youth. The other reason of choosing CP was that it has a colonial effect set up by Britishers. So, we wanted a place which has a traditional effect.
Tell us about your journey to become an entrepreneur?
We shared a common passion of opening a restaurant, but we were not sure of what to open, where to open and its implications. We took inspirations from various legends in this industry, who are doing well and then we started strategizing things one by one. We finalized the theme and then started short listing articles and pointers, which will help us to distinguish from others. We started looking for a place in or around inner circle of CP from December 2014 and finally chose our spot in M block outer Circle by June 2015. We started our journey in July 2015 and went through various challenges in terms of permissions from authorities, finalizing the contractors for civil works, consultant for kitchen and bar, furniture style and vendors etc. Bringing all that together, we created ‘House of Commons’. It is a success story which is difficult to put on papers, but we think it was our ‘Passion and Zeal’ towards opening a Gastro pub.
What cuisines you have in your product line?
Menu is extensive featuring from Salads to Pastas, wraps to noodles, biryani to tikkas, we have all. We have also taken inspirations from England and created our food and drinks accordingly. Our menu is a world cuisine including Italian, Continental, Indian and Chinese. We have kept a separate section of “quickies”, if you are looking for a quick meal specially to cater the corporate crowd during lunch hours. The food is meaty and comforting, includes the Gastronomic experience. The menu is shaped to maintain the balance between the typical Gastro pub food, best of Indian and International fusion.
What is your marketing approach to survive in this market?
We as a team wanted to offer our customers pleasure of having quality food and drinks. With this underlying idea, we have used the concept of Gastronomy, which is a law of regulating stomach. We give special attention to our food because we have noticed that most of the Pubs are not focusing on the same. Drinks are more or less same in almost all the outlets, but food is something, which makes a place special to revisit.
We are keeping our marketing approach in line with special focus on foodies. We are trying to pair food with excellent range of cocktails such as Drunken Tea Master and Deconstructed Sex on the Beach. Our marketing approach includes pitching corporate for get-togethers and parties and entertaining the walk-in youngsters. We also putting special focus on sports events such as English Premier League and inviting football lovers to watch the screening on our Big Screen.
Who are your competitors in the business?
Frankly, we do not believe in competition. It’s a small market, small place with a limited crowd. At present, we are trying to put ourselves apart. We are offering our guest something unique in food, music, drinks; football matches screening, moments and fun. We believe such moments spent at HOC will be the trigger to visit again.
What are the major logistics challenges faced by start-ups like you?
Since we are new in this industry, we encountered many challenges in terms of designing interiors, technical, music setup, furniture, Bar and Kitchen. We have taken help from various consultants at all stages to see them off. Once the place is functional, we still face issues in terms of vendors, quality of food, ingredients to be procured and of course the costing in terms of operational expenses.
According to you, what are the top trends that will drive the industry in 2016?
We feel that the customers must feel special when they are visiting any outlet. So, service delivery in terms of TAT and promptness, attitude of stewards and managers towards the guest, offerings in terms of food and music will be the distinguishing factors in the industry. Apart from the above, customers also look at various innovative things that the outlet is doing for serving their food and drinks. Molecular technology, which is used these days, will remain for years to come.
What is your expansion plan?
At present, we wish to focus on running this outlet successfully and gain some recognition in the market. However, we also plan to venture with the ‘upper house of UK parliament’ by the coming year.