In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, Founder of SpeedX, Anirudh Singhal speaks about the design approach of the bars that prompts an increase in the sales.
SpeedX has been disruptive with its custom-made bars, product design, quality and unmatchable after-sales service. Anirudh Singhal founded SpeedX, the bar design brand, in 2014 with an intent to create inspiration and innovation in bars. While the global landscape of the food and beverage (F&B) industry was undergoing a massive change, the minds behind SpeedX understood and weighed the gap in the market. Foreseeing the exponential growth of the industry, the bar design brand, since then, has been experimental in bringing great innovation and quality to the beverage sector.
In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, Founder of SpeedX, Anirudh Singhal talks about the design approach of the bars that ensure faster service and prompts an increase in the sales.
How would you define the first bar designed by SpeedX?
The first bar that Speedx designed and built was Khar Social, Mumbai, in 2015; it was a collaborative effort between us and the team at Social. The bar counter was an island (of sorts) with three sides, serving guests — the layout was planned in a way it allowed the bartenders to serve on all three sides while working on the central island counter.
This central island was a mother cocktail station propelling drinks to all sides of the bar counter. So, when the bar was in full swing it appeared as if the bartenders were collectively preparing drinks on a central piece of equipment, and then turning around and serving the tipples. It all looked theatrical. And this happened three-four years ago! Only a few bars look like the way Khar Social does. It was quite a cutting edge.
What innovations did you bring with Speedx?
Earlier, our focus was to create bars that could aid in showcasing bartenders’ craft. But now, our prime concern is to make a bartender’s life easy. Hence, we introduced the concept of drip trays in bars as opposed to the rubber mats. Drip trays are a common practice in western countries; not much popular in India. These trays, on guest counters, allow bartenders to prepare their drink with the glasses placed on them. This way a bartender showcases his skills and creates visual excitement to other patrons in the bar.
Second, we noticed, the bartenders would stand far away from the guests at the bars which minimised the interaction. We designed equipment which wasn’t deep, thereby, getting the bartender up close and personal with the guests.
In certain cocktail station designs, we even have curved speed rails to bring the bartenders closer to the guests.
Third, to ensure a quick turnaround whilst preparing a cocktail, we introduced the concept of rinsers in bars. The concept is popular in many fast-moving bars abroad. These rinsers work on the principle of hydraulics. As soon as you finish mixing a drink in a glass, you can turn it upside down over a rinser. A gush of water comes out to rinse and makes the glass ready for the next drink. The same can be done for cocktail shakers and other mixing tumblers. This propels bartenders to get into the next drink faster without wasting much time on rinsing activities.
These are some of the innovations which keep us ahead of the curve when it comes to the Indian bartending equipment market.
Your approach to designing bars?
We ensure the principles of ergonomics are adhered to, and everything a bartender needs is at an arm’s distance. Also, the Speedx equipment is anthropomorphic, in other words, very intuitive to use and one generally doesn’t need training or a manual to use them.
How the bar designs have evolved in the past four years?
Overall, bar designs have taken a leap of faith in the last four years with architects, interior designers, promoters and restaurateurs doing a fantastic job of creating venues, especially in design, which are sometimes better from the ones we see at international bar space.
Earlier, the restaurant entrepreneurs would end up hiring kitchen designers to plan their bars. That was suicidal! Imagine a person who has never worked in a bar and gets to decide where the sink or ice-bin would be placed. This practice set a base for complete disaster. Just because the bar is wrongly set up, the guests complain of slow service.
This is changing now. With more F&B concepts being beverage-centric, a lot of focus is put on overall plans, especially on how the bar should be, how much space should one allocate and the location. Now, there are restaurateurs who brief us the concept of their restaurant, this helps us in the design.
Challenges in designing a bar?
The biggest challenge we face when we set off to design a bar is the paucity of allocated space. At times, the bar space gets the step-motherly treatment from the restaurant owners. In such a scenario, we try to optimize the space available by creating designs that augment cocktail/beverage dispensing in the minimum space.
Another challenge is to integrate beers on tap and the rest of the equipment inside a bar. A lot of bar owners want different variants of craft/draught beer (which is a great thing), but the equipment and accessories that come along with these bars end up making the layout quite haphazard. Thus, it becomes an obstacle in planning a proper bar layout. But we have come up with custom-made solutions where restaurants can set-up their own draught beers; alternatively, we liaise with all beer brands to ensure streamlined installations.
Another common problem is the height of the bar counter. A lot of venues have to raise the floor inside the bars to accommodate plumbing requirements. This makes the guest counter look quite high. We try to customize the height of our equipment in order to leave enough working space for the bartenders.
Your dream project?
We take every new Speedx bar project as it’s the most important. Designing and building my own bar would surely qualify as a dream project. But that will have to wait for now!
Some of the renowned restaurant bars designed by SpeedX are - House A at Hyatt Regency (New Delhi), Olive restaurant (Bandra in Mumbai), Social (Delhi and Mumbai), Café Delhi Heights (Delhi and Mumbai), Fatty Bao (multiple locations), Punjab Grill (multiple locations), Cin Cin (BKC, Mumbai), Mamagoto and Sly Granny’s (multiple locations), Bo Tai, Qutub (New Delhi) and many more established players.
SpeedX offers the best-in-class chillers, refrigerators, simple bottle coolers, mug chillers and even drawer refrigerators.
SpeedX has a 24-hour resolve policy.
The bar design brand is now taking projects to create bespoke bars for luxury homes, villas and entertainment centres.