In an interaction with Restaurant India, Saket Agarwal, Owner, Wood House-The Pet Café talks about his love for animals and birds and how he came with the idea of establishing a venture where people can come and dine while interacting with various pet animals.
What was the Eureka moment?
My brother and I were studying in Mumbai and Bengaluru respectively and we always wanted to do something of our own in our home town. The keenness to do something of our own was always there but we lacked on the idea on what we should work upon. We were frequent to many countries and it was during one such we came across this concept. We saw a café serving food and beverages and housing pets at the same time. Thus the idea struck us where we decided to do something similar in Kolkata as such concept is rare over here. And, this worked in our way as we both are very passionate about animals and wildlife.
How it all began?
The idea struck in the month of May 2017. We wanted to create a place where people can come and have their food and also play with the birds and animals thereby providing a very different experience. A lot of researches and development went, followed by groundwork and formalities in order to make it a reality. We wanted it to be perfect so we decided to do everything properly with no glitches. It took us around 4-5 months doing the entire R&D before finalizing a suitable location for our venture.
What all went while getting the animals and pets to the restaurant?
We bought the animals while we were doing our research. Buying animals was not the challenge. The main challenge was to train them properly. That is the reason we decided to buy them at the time when we were doing our background work. We kept them at our home after which we decided to train them ourselves. We didn’t believe in hiring a trainer for our animals as we wanted to have an attachment to these animals.
What was the real difficulty while training them?
Training dogs are easier. The real challenge came while training the birds as they are really delicate and sensitive. Training them was a slow and lengthy process. It took us around 5-6 months to train the birds. Now, their behavior varies according to our presence.
What factors were considered while designing the venture’s interior?
Our primary concern was to ensure the comfort of the animals. We have designed a room which is glass walled so that the birds can be viewed from outside a separate area for the dogs. People can go inside and play with them keeping the surrounding clean.
What are the various kinds of cuisines served at your café?
We are serving a combination of Italian and Mexican cuisines at our café. The idea was always there to target the customers who are ordering these two cuisines. So keeping our target customers in mind, we are serving the best quality of Italian and Mexican cuisines at our café.
How is the response from customers?
We targeted a wide range of people in the city and also two groups namely first who love to have pets at their house but unfortunately are not allowed to keep one. Secondly, those who have pets yet lack the option to dine outside with their pets. We have imported Australian and African birds in our café whom you can feed and keep them in your hand.
How are you promoting your brand?
Most of our promotion is via social media marketing. We are also doing direct marketing by distributing pamphlets, brochures and other stuff essential for our brand’s growth.
Any expansion plans?
As of now, we are not planning an expansion. We want to make everything happen accordingly. But we will be expanding firstly through the city and later across other cities.