An interaction with Praveen Bodduluri, COO, Vaango, Devyani International Limited.
Mouth watering food and a warm hospitality-that’s how the COO of Vaango, Praveen Bodduluri differentiates his brand from others. In an exclusive conversation with Restaurant India, he elaborates why there was a need of a QSR South Indian restaurant.
How would you trace the journey of Vaango from 2011 till now?
When we started in 2011 it was conceptualised on the basis of what was the customers requirement, at that time the customer wanted a south Indian restaurant in a contemporary environment and based on the same fact it is evolved. The very fact that today we are operating 19 outlets in Delhi-NCR and other cities like Haldwani, Dehradun, Mohali, Jaipur and at airports in Hyderabad and Mumbai is the evolution of the brand.
How do you manage the authenticity of the food? And from where do you source the ingredients?
Our food is more or less the authentic south Indian food. The tweaking could be in the level of sourness, level of spice. We source some of our products from Kerala and Tamil Nadu and also from other parts of south India. While some of the products are sourced from the vendors who specialise in the south Indian products in north.
Vaango is a south Indian QSR. How are you competing with other brands in the same space?
When we did a research in 2011, it was based upon the need of the customer. Today’s customer is well travelled and he/she understands what the QSR format is all about and the expectation level is very high and international. The customers demand the best and the world class standard food, ambience and the hygiene factor and that is how Vaango meets all the criteria and differentiate itself from others. It is not something like Sagar Ratna or Sarvana Bhawan. We are probably very different and nobody offers the ambience that Vaango offers as a QSR restaurant.
What do you do to engage your customers?
Today, it is world of technology and social media. We are very active on Facebook, Youtube and other networking sites. We engage our customers by creating a lot of loyalty programmes. We also engage them in offline activities where we do customer interactions with our chef.
What are the contributions of Devyani International Pvt Ltd towards Vango?
The outlet is completely operated and funded by Devyani and we don’t have franchise operation as all are self owned outlets.
DIL started off with basically multinational companies’ franchisee like Pizza Hut, KFC, Costa Coffee. After that the Chairman had a vision that if DIL could operate so many multinational companies why we can’t operate something of our own creation. With our learning and understanding of these multiple outlets we felt that the customer is in need of a contemporary South Indian cuisine which was not available in the QSR format. That is how we launched Vaango in a conceptualised, hygienic QSR ambience with a well trained staff. These are things that we learned from the brands that we have in Devyani and that we are transferring into Vaango.
What was the reason behind designing an open kitchen for Vaango?
Vaango came in after doing lot of research on the customers. When you look at any other brand you do not know what is happening behind the kitchen. So, what we felt that when we will have an open kitchen people will be able to see that we are committed to providing them healthy food in a very hygienic manner. People will observe what is happening there in the kitchen and will be satisfied with what they are getting.
What is your plan in expanding to other cities especially south India?
We don’t want to expand at various places rather want to capture the market in north first before we venture to south and west. There are many opportunity areas in north where we want to expand. We are planning to go to Ludhiana, Chandigarh and at some cities in Rajasthan.
How many outlets do you have presently and how many are you planning to add?
We have 19 outlets operational across India today and we are planning to add 10 more outlets by the end of the year.
Who all are your frequent visitors? What is the footfall?
We have a mix group of visitors at our outlet and especially we have a good ratio of south Indians who feel Vaango as their ‘home away from home’. We have a footfall of approximately 350 people per day at each of the outlet.