In tete-a-tete with Restaurant India, Alka Kukreti, Owner of Cafe Marigold talks about her journey towards being an entrepreneur.
Based at Dehradun, Cafe Marigold is run by three friends- Alka Kukreti, Amita Bahuguna and Kumud Taimni, wives of merchant navy officers who are mostly sailing for at least six months in a year. It’s only when their children went off to other cities for college education, they suddenly felt the need to do something to fill that big vacuum. Thus the idea of running a cafe was born as food was one common passion among them.
The cafe was started on a shoe string budget as they were all homemakers who turned into entrepreneurs. The business was launched more on an experimental basis with no specific business plan. “We just followed our heart and turned our passion for good food and cooking into our profession. All our travelling experience and running a household helped us set up the cafe. We learnt the job only by hit and trial method,” shared Kukreti.
What is the USP of your restaurant?
The USP of our cafe is simple, fresh, home style food which is cooked under our strict supervision and served at very pocket friendly rates ranging between Rs 50 to Rs 350 at the maximum. Our menu changes every day and this idea of a varied variety of dishes served on different day’s appeals to people. The location of the cafe is also a big factor as it is nestled on top of a hill far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The music which we play at the cafe is also very much loved by our guests. So, personally supervising the functioning of the cafe and interacting with the guests, is the biggest USP of Cafe Marigold.
What new product range you are offering for your customers?
Our Menu changes almost every day. On special days we just offer a discount on certain food items served.
Which is the most popular dish among all? What is the revenue generated from the same?
Most of our dishes are popular. But our guests love the pastas and Dimsums which are very much in demand. We also do a saucy version of the Dimsums, available at our cafe only; guests are also very fond of various Mutton and Chicken curries that we serve on our special menu. The Chicken Steak has many takers and so does the Grilled Fish Platter. Besides this various kind of Sandwiches, Burgers and Cheesy Garlic Toasts are available at the cafe everyday and are very popular among the younger guests. The Pancakes and eggless chocolate cake served with ice cream are very popular too. So, in all I can say that most of our dishes are popular.
How do you maintain the authenticity of the food?
For us the freshness of every dish we prepare matters the most. Nothing is pre-cooked; everything that we have on the menu is cooked fresh when we get an order for that particular dish. That is why I can say with conviction that the authenticity of our food is maintained for our daily menu.. In fact we personally supervise the purchase of the fresh produce, breads and meats etc required for consumption at the cafe every day.
What is your marketing strategy?
Our marketing strategy is simple. We, at Cafe Marigold believe in selling pocket friendly simple delights to our guests in the form of fresh delicious home style recipes that we prepare at the cafe every day. There is never a compromise on quality. We believe in quality than quantity. Smile of satisfaction that we see on the faces of our guests before they walk out of the cafe keeps us going.
What is your average footfall?
The average footfall at the cafe differs from day to day. Generally on weekends numbers of people who visit the cafe are double of those who visit on weekdays. On weekends we mostly get big groups and families whereas weekdays it’s more of young professionals and students. On an average at least 30 to 40 people visit the cafe every day.
What is your expansion plan?
For now we are content with what we have. Making money was never the purpose of our life. Doing something constructive to keep ourselves positively occupied was what we were out to do. For now the challenge is to continue running the business on our own terms without any compromise in the low pricing and the high quality of food that we offer at Cafe Marigold.