In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, R.J. Surendranath, Managing Director of M/s. HNS Hotels Pvt. Ltd which runs Chai Galli tea café talks about building an experience for youth.
Surendranath is a printing technologist who ventured into the hospitality industry by setting up his first outlet with the inauguration of Hotel Sri Krishna Lodging House in the year 1989. In his nearly two decades of operations in this field, he has successfully commissioned and inaugurated many multi- cuisine and specialty restaurants for a number of clients in an advisory and consultancy role. He was also awarded as ‘The Young Restaurant Entrepreneur’ from The Hotels and Restaurant Association of India for the year 2001-02. HNS Hotels is all set to become an integral part of the Food scope of Chennai and Bengaluru and has chalked ambitious growth plans for the future by venturing into mini metros and smaller towns.
What is the definition of experience according to you?
Concept selling has become a part of industry today. If you compare the industry to last five years you’ll definitely be amused by the change. Our concept at Chai Galli is providing worth for money product which is pocket friendly at the same time. Customer wants something extra ordinary every time when they walk in a restaurant be it the food, ambience, service or interaction. Everything should be next to perfect and polished because presentation is playing a vital role these days in food and beverages sector. For example, the name of a brand and products related to that brand are also the part of presentation and it must be appealing to attract customer.
How do you create experience at Chai Galli?
Customer can connect with Chai Galli’s interior once he/ she enters. The whole ambience creates nostalgia. Maggie is a common item to be served but at Chai Galli it’s ‘boarding school ki maggie’ which is precisely different from others and enough to build a relation with customer. It makes the customer remember his/ her school days. Building an unbreakable relation is our idea of creating an unforgettable experience.
Creativity is crucial for food sector plus innovation is the need of the hour and building experience is a mandate. How do you blend all of them together?
In India, seventy per cent of the population is youth and they are the masters today. They have been exposed to the world and we try to bring the best of both worlds for them. More importantly, they need everything at once and one can’t satisfy them with anything. Taking tea to another level was an innovation in itself and then pouring some creativity by naming the items distinctly is all about how we build experience.