In an interview to Restaurant India, Ajit Singh & Arpan Gupta, Founders, Detroit Garage Bar & Kitchen shares their biz idea.
What was the whole idea behind setting up a Detroit Bar?
The number of places that looked like different versions of each other got us thinking on concepts that would stand out. A garage bar and kitchen was a concept almost not-attempted anywhere. Although the concept was quite fascinating, it posted quite a few challenges, but we were up for the task.
How it all began? What was the inspiration?
It began with just a rough sketch in the mind and only after quite an extensive hunt for the right property. Post which the architect did what they do best!
How much money you have invested in coming up with the bar?
The money is quite a handful but I believe we've managed to strike the nail on its head with Detroit. Like any other restaurant a sizeable amount is spent on doing up the property and if you are in perfect harmony with your concept, and it is well accepted, the restaurant can very easily beat any industry hands down.
We see that nightlife scenario is changing in India with new age bars. What are some of your tricks to fit into the fast evolving market?
My personal perception of the nightlife scene in Delhi is that it's not really big on Nightclubs. And a number of bars have actually rebranded themselves as places that are more pub oriented rather than discotheque oriented. I feel the folks in Delhi like a place to enjoy a drink and snacks and maybe shake a leg. The market is definitely fast evolving but it's definitely very well defined if you look closely. It's the restaurants that know their game that is setting the trend.
Operating a bar comes with a challenge. What were the hurdles that you faced while getting the setup and the licenses done?
The challenges to set up a business in any developing nation are quite a few. Especially so in India. However, patience is the key to success when it comes to procuring licenses in the city. It definitely needs a lot of improvement. And I feel the Department of Tourism should look at the F&B Industry as seriously as other ministries in other countries do.
We see beverages as a segment has become much more elaborate and extensive. What are some of the uniqueness and experiment that you do with your beverages?
Every restaurant should have a well defined USP or rather a concept and right from the kind of cocktails, the food, the service to the vibe of the place should be in sync. If a restaurateur gets these in place and in harmony with the concept he's pretty much made a legendary restaurant. We've been quite experimental with our drinks especially the Long Island kinds.
How about designing the place. What were the elements that were taken into consideration?
When we thought of a garage bar we kept facing a challenge of what we didn't want it to look like. Trying to get a concept like this right meant we couldn't look trashy and run down. Obviously, the experts on board with Interior Design helped out quite a bit. We took everything that could relate to the motor industry, we took the vintage car and petrol pump handle and so many more elements and made Detroit what it is today. A garage bar & kitchen.
You are running multiple concepts. How difficult/easy it is for you to manage?
Once you get a hang of things it is easier than it sounds. The idea is to know how much you want to rely on technology to ensure you don't need to be physically present all the time to keep a check. Over the years I've managed to get a good hold of certain systems and a good training session with the boys before they join ensures the systems are maintained. Having said that, it's not easy, but very well worth it!
What is the plan for expanding your brands and opening more new ventures?
The expansion is always on the cards! It’s the essence of a business in a country that is so rapidly developing. We've been offered a number of ventures but we're keeping it on hold till the New Year. 2019 will definitely see a lot more of us.
What trend do you see will rule 2019?
I'm not expecting any drastic changes in the industry as such. But I do firmly believe Gin is going to be really big in coming years. I also feel and hope that Delhi gets around to allowing microbreweries in the city. It’s such a huge game changer for the industry and something the F&B Industry could definitely do with.