Talking to Restaurant India, Ashish Kapur who owns amazing concepts like The Whisky Samba, The Wine company and Antares talks about creating destination restaurants.
It’s not just food at Restaurants
It is very exciting times for restaurateurs in India currently because it is more than just one element of visiting a restaurant. In my view it’s a one or two hour vacation and that’s how we need to pamper guest with not just food but with great service, great location and great interiors. And, today our guests have travelled all over the world so concepts in India need to be at par with international levels. The ecosystem is coming together including aspirations of the guests to deliver world class products and experiences. So, it’s very exciting time to be a restaurateur in India.
Creating a different experience
I think the start point is to be passionate about creating a different experience. And, then trying to analyse where does the guests exists being relevant in that particular area. For e.g. for Antares we were clear that we wanted to do a beautiful beach club and a restaurant; that obviously requires a beach. So, for us the only destination that delivered that experience was Goa. And, when people ask me what is your plan scaling Antares; the answer is no because where else can we replace those gorgeous beaches. Whereas, Yo! China was about getting budget Chinese food to the masses. Whisky samba is about making whisky young giving it in very international, youthful, adventurous experience. The Wine company is about breaking down the barrier of wine being snobbish and being available in a very fun, accessible but in a trendy manner. So, I think it’s about being truthful to each concept and then finding where does consumer for that concept exists and build it from there.
Overcoming legal battles
I agree that there are hurdles that businesses are facing but I am very happy that at least the consumer side of the business is very rich in demand. The government will be smart enough to understand and see that food and beverage is the very fabric, DNA of a city and tourism. And, I think over the period of time these hurdles will get lesser and lesser as the government will work with restaurant owners in greater sinc and partnerships to create spaces that are at par with the best of the world.
Expanding his restaurants
We have a budget and an experience vertical. On the experience side; we want to grow all over the country. On the budget side we have Yo! China which is very prevalent in tier II and III cities and we want to grow that brand a lot stronger looking at enriching experiences at each of our brand.
What’s trending in the industry
There are core areas which is largely untapped. On the mass side we still don’t have an Indian or Chinese chain. On experience side more and more concepts that own category will explode. Cocktail as a whole category will grow. I think consumer today is experimenting. Japanese food becoming more mainstream is the new fad. People experimenting with modern Indian food are very trendy. Though, you don’t know which way it will go but there is opportunity everywhere.