In an interview to Restaurant India, Ambar Mehrotra of Whistling Duck talks about idea of opening his own restaurant.
It was in 2012 when Ambar relocated to India after about 13 years. He and his wife gave up their corporate jobs to come back and live close to the hills in Chandigarh with their two young boys. After a long break of almost two years, they decided to get back to some work, something of their own; something that they would enjoy doing and something that would be of a manageable scale. “Honestly, it was never a part of the plan. Personally, I wanted to do a mountaineering course and take kids on camps and hike, or something like that. But given my wife’s love for food, her idea of opening a restaurant prevailed. And here we are today,” shares Ambar.
DECIDING ON LOCATION
There was definitely some insight research,while deciding on such critical factors. But, the brand definitely do not agree with the clichéd ‘location, location, location’ mantra. They don’t say location is not important, but they believe the more average you’re product, the higher should be your dependence on your location. They think the most critical part is to know who exactly your customer is and how does he actually go about making a purchase decision. Simply put, if one is able to crack that, one has got most of his answers.
“I often say, we’re trying to tell a story. It is like food is the medium and restaurant is the space. I’d like to believe our food is a clear reflection of the story that we’re trying to tell. And that’s why on our menu, you’ll see simple Indian vegetables like karela, katahal, jimikand and arbi being celebrated alongside exotic dishes made out of say squid ink pasta,” adds Ambar.
The restaurant focuses more on utilitarian design. They believe design has a function. It needs to try and elevate the customer experience without complicating it. Also, it needs to deliver on your story-telling. They have engaged Studio Organon to design the Chandigarh restaurant and they’ve done an absolutely great job! They also hand pick other independent creative and work closely with them to develop brand and design elements.
Today, WD is a small brand with very big dreams. Having created the best restaurant brand in Chandigarh, they are, in the next one year, going to challenge the biggest and more established markets of the country - Delhi & Mumbai. They are extremely confident of their product and team. And, are confident that in the next couple of years, WD will be ranked among the top 5 restaurant brands in India. The group is also planning to take WD outside India in couple of years and believes there’s a huge potential there!