In an exclusive interview to Restaurant India, Gautham Shetty of The Stables talks about bringing the gastro-pub to Mumbai.
What was the whole idea bringing The Stables to India?
The Stables is a British Gastropub catering to, but not limited to the, equestrian lovers of the world. The Stables is a popular and well established Dubai brand that’s garnered its set of loyal clients. The concept of Gastropub is blooming in India. The consumer trend has gradually transformed from party culture to sit down culture. People are keen on conversations which are well facilitated in a Gastropub. In addition, we also have live gigs as a part of the Stables experience. People in India, especially Mumbai are comparatively more receptive to live gigs. Mumbai has many tourists, travelers belonging to different nationalities which have made the Mumbai crowd more diverse hence making the consumer graph more global in nature. As a brand our larger vision includes catering to a global and well-travelled client, irrespective of their nationality. The market survey spells out the need for a Gastropub with a cross culture experience. This was the whole vision behind bringing The Stables to India.
We see that there is a growing culture of gastro bars and pubs in the country. How do you see the ongoing opportunity?
As I mentioned before, the whole consumer trend has metamorphosed itself from loud music / party culture into a more sit down culture wherein people value interesting conversations, prefer cracking business deals, having small talks, meeting new people and exchange of ideas over simply drinking and dancing. Essentially, as a brand we are navigating the whole process. We have also introduced an interesting backyard concept - The Sables backyard which induces nostalgia and is an additional comfort jacket for our “global” consumer who wants to feel at home, revive memories. There are many interesting concepts in pipeline for The Stables backyard. The gastropub culture in our country is definitely flourishing but what will make each one stand out from the other is the brand personality, characteristics, features and distinctive tonality which every restaurant/gastropub will embody. Therefore, answering your question, the opportunity is dynamic but authenticity of concept will define the brand longevity.
How do you see the market in terms of customer experience and target audiences?
Today’s customer is not just well travelled and well aware but they are also experience oriented. They expect value proposition in terms of service standard, quality of food drinks, ambience, and music. At the same time today’s customer also has a very short attention span. The right way to please today’s customer in the most methodical yet hospitable manner is to draw a fine balance between value proposition and innovation in brand experience. The market being very dynamic in its nature, it’s important for the brand to be diverse & innovative to keep up with the consumer.
Mumbai has always been known to set up the tone of nightlife scenario in India. How are you trying to add that feather in its cap?
The Indian market, especially the Mumbai market is very dynamic. In the current situation there is a strong potential for an experiential venue which not only serves food, cocktail, music but also presents a unique customer experience. Today’s consumer, being global in nature, look out for a lot more than food and cocktail. They look out for places to socialise, communicate, meet new people, exchange ideas, and expand their friend circle. The Stables as a brand simply facilitates these requirements. We are looking at being the mediators who can build a bridge between the mechanical world and the homely experience (which every individual today yearns for). Therefore, we are not just looking at being another addition to the existing nightlife but also being a value addition to the present nightlife experience. We are looking at achieving this goal by providing quality experience and value proposition to the consumer in addition with well-curated IPs and fun activations.
Tell us something about your global presence. What is the expansion plan?
At present we are located in Dubai and Mumbai. We are looking at dual expansion – both, globally and within the Indian market itself. However, we would like to take one step at a time and hence we shall look at revealing the expansion plan as and when it is at the final stage.
What are the design elements that you kept in mind before opening this place?
The Stables is a British Gastropub with an equestrian theme. Hence, our core agenda with respect to design and décor remain focused on drawing a fine balance between the Brit and the equestrian element inorder to create an effortless blend of sophistication with an easy going country vibe. You will witness the usage of wood and bronze (English in nature) along with elements which are representative of the equestrian element. The overall ambience is warm, homely and focused on individual comfort of our patrons. We’ve kept it simplistic in design with an authentic ‘country vibe’ appeal.
How about the menu designing?
The menu design is largely Global with multiple variations in European cuisine while focusing on British. Elements like butter chicken, chicken tikka masala which are extremely popular amongst global client, especially Europeans were mandatory as they are very much in demand amongst global well-travelled client. Considering we are catering to a global client we felt a strong need for it to be on our menu. Other than that we have the British quintessential like Mac & Cheese, Fish & Chips and Shepherd’s Pie.
We have seen that over the years customers have become much more experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to eating out. How are you trying to enhance that experience?
As I mentioned before, todays customer is not only well travelled and well aware but also experience oriented. They expect value proposition in terms of service standard, quality of food, drinks, ambience, and music. It’s important for the brand to be diverse & innovative in order to keep up with the consumer. In order to cater to the varied expectations of the modern consumer we have embraced the psyche of the customers and have been innovative in the menu designing, while offering a diverse range of cocktails and food.
What is your plan expanding in India?
Being a Dubai based brand we definitely are aiming at a wider global reach and presence which is a part of our long term vision. However, the short term goal remains expanding within the city and looking at a national presence. We are taking one step at a time and aiming at precision in terms of customer experience.