In an exclusive interview to Restaurant India, Karyna Bajaj, Executive Director- KA Hospitality talks about her role in the business.
How do you see women Entrepreneurship growing in India especially in the food business?
Currently it is a very exciting time for F&B in India, there is a great movement among diners who want to go out for experiential dining instead of just a quick meal. As we are in the business of luxury, for us this allows us the opportunity to showcase all premium aspects of our brand, whether it is the luxurious Single Malt cabinet at Hakkasan or our expensive private dining rooms at Yauatcha.
You are running multi brand under KA hospitality. How do you plan and execute your ideas well to focus on each brand?
Each brand is so special and unique- Hakkasan for its over indulgent nature, Yauatcha for its unique and intricate Cantonese dim sum along with unique pairing of French patisserie and Cafe Infinito with its arena to be creative and innovative with its dishes as it’s a home grown brand- I tend to execute ideas that go well with the brand as per the true nature of them as that is when they will flourish.
When did you actually thought of entering into the food business?
Hospitality and in particular food has been my passion since I can remember, it is something I share with my Father who founded the business, it is this love for the industry that made it a no brainer for me to get into the field.
Tell us about your expertise at KA Hospitality?
I try to bring in my fresh perspective in business strategy in creating a focused effort across all levels of the organisation which I believe will make any business foundation strong.
In terms of trend what trend do you see ruling in India in 2017 and going forward?
As I mentioned, people are very intrigued and excited about food whether it is the appearance (eating with the eyes), the actual plating - I think how you present food and the taste of it living up to it is really what is going to be the new trend. People no longer want to eat and run, they want to enjoy the entire experience that comes with it- the ambience, the vibe, the music, the tastes.
What new can we see happening at KA Hospitality?
We have been quite successful with our current brands and we are now looking to do something quite exciting in the Asian space which will be able to break ground like we did while bringing free standing Michelin star brands to India.
As we have seen Indian customers are becoming more demanding with understanding of ingredients and cuisine. How are you meeting the need of evolving customers?
This is quite exciting for us as we follow international standards. Most of our ingredients are imported. Hence explaining to the guests about our Cress that comes from Holland which goes in our Signature duck salad at Hakkasan or the Signature New Zealand lamb chops at Yauatcha only enhances the overall value and experience for our guests.
As a business strategist how are you redefining growth at your restaurants?
For us, it was always to reinvent and elevate the experience and get more and new diners to experience our restaurants is our goal- with people understanding and appreciating food more now- it has been great to see the kind of growth we are getting. Catering to our guest’s needs and wants is our first priority and staying true to that has always worked in our favour.
What is your expansion plan expanding your all three brands in India?
We are currently focusing on new dynamic spaces for our existing brands and also on openings for new brands.
When it comes to food business. Who do you see as your role model in India?
I think my role model would be Alan Yau- the creator of Hakkasan and Yauatcha, as he really disrupted the dining space during his time and delivered a product that beats everyone's expectation working so well with so many different cultures and markets.