India is a food frenzy country with a lot of food chains running and flourishing. Nilgai Foods Private Limited looking at need of offering quick but healthy food with its food chain PICO and PICO Express. With the idea in place, Arjun Gadkari – Co-Founder and President of Nilgai Foods shares his plans of expanding presence across country offering international cuisine with Gunjan Piplani of indianretailer.com.
Gunjan Piplani (GP): Give our readers a small brief about the company and its operations
Arjun Gadkari (AG): Nilgai Foods Private Limited started in Mumbai in March 2011 by my partner Abhay Jaiswal and me. We were both passionate about food and came together to share our culinary experiences and create something new. Our mission is to create nutritionally balanced, everyday food and make it readily available to everyone. That’s how “PICO” happened.
Through our stores and under the brand name PICO. We have Café Pico and Pico Express. At Café Pico, we provide a unique blend of fine dining experience and gourmet grocery shopping services. At Pico Express we aim to provide a quick, nutritionally balanced, gourmet experience to every one who is on the go and is looking for a quick bite,
At PICO, we offer a superlative shopping experience where we serve a carefully curated international menu and sell gourmet packaged foods of the highest quality, which we manufacture under international-standard hygienic conditions. We are collaborating with renowned international agencies to bring the latest food design and presentation concepts to Indian customers.
PICO has been set-up with the promise to bring the best gourmet flavors from around the world to every food lover. One no longer needs to traverse the globe to taste world cuisine. From seasonal menus to everyday cooking, care is taken to handpick products and ingredients.
PICO operates in 3 different styles with one common passion – serving international delicacies made out of nutritional, high quality and fresh ingredients. Café Pico where one can linger on Bistro Lunch, ideal for catching up for quick business lunches, Pico Express that allows food on the go and PICO Events for catering services.
GP: With Indian market offering a gamut of cafes and cuisine chains, how is Pico Express creating a difference among consumers? Share more about the concept.
AG: Pico Express is an innovative concept specifically designed to meet the increasing demand for ‘on the go’ superior quality food and is the natural progression to the successful café brand PICO. Crafted for the busy urban citizen, the outlets of Pico Express offer fresh and healthy food that can be relished by those on the go through their busy schedules. The Pico Express concept has well established itself with outlets across various prominent locations in the city and has plans to open more such outlets.
GP: How important is designing of a cafe, how do you create an ambience for the customers and also ensure cleanliness?
AG: The design of a café is key to the business. If the ambience is comfortable, warm and welcoming customers tend to spend more time and are more frequent.
It’s a mixture of big and small things that together contribute to creating an ambience. Wall colour choice, placement of tables, comfortable seating, music, lighting, service, temperature, fragrance, the set up … a lot many things come together to create an ambience. We as a team pay attention to every little detail to create that ambient atmosphere are our cafes.
We maintain high hygiene standards both in our kitchen and outside. Hygiene for us starts from where we procure our products, where we stock them, how they are stocked, where the food is prepared and to the café itself. Both the kitchen and the operations team work hard to maintain the hygiene levels.
GP: What are your offerings at the cafe and what are the USP recipes? What is price range?
AG: Pico’s kitchen is headed by Nicole Gonsalves Pereira who translates Pico into one of the finest and most trusted cuisine brands in the market. After having studied and worked in India, Nicole went on to specialize in French cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu in London. At Pico, she is not just the head chef but also the lead innovator, constantly researching ideas to ensure that she finds and creates the right recipes to cook international food using local produce.
Pico offers fresh, nutritious and luscious range of cuisines that includes salads, sandwiches, pastas, soups, mains, smoothies, desserts and a whole lot more. Other than providing some relishing deli foods, the outlet also offers a superlative shopping experience where it serves a carefully curated international menu and sells gourmet packaged foods of the highest quality.
GP: Where do you source the raw material from?
AG: As a company, we try and support the local communities. Our mantra has been “Eat Global, Source Local”.
Even though our menu has food from across the globe, we try and work on what available locally while staying true to the original recipe and flavors
GP: With the cafes and PICO Express, which all regions in the country are you targeting? What is the number of targeted stores for both?
AG: We should be in multiple cities by next year. While metros are the obvious first stop outside of Mumbai, we want to create a product that has an appeal across tier 2 cities as well. We have sufficient capital for some of the expansion but will turn to outside investment as we get ready for nationwide expansion.
GP: What are your plans for PICO Express and for Cafe PICO?
AG: We plan to open many cafes and expresses, not only in Mumbai but across various cities in India.
Also, both our Café and Express with continue to introduce more Gourmet food from new places and more innovative dishes in the days and years to come.
GP: Who are your target audience?
AG: The target audience of Pico is a young, metropolitan Indian with an interest in foreign cultures and cuisines. Between the age of 18 – 50 years, they are willing to experiment with their food choices.
GP: What are your marketing and promotional strategies for both the concepts?
AG: We are reaching out to a young, tech-savvy population that is growing rapidly in India. This person does not need to have international exposure, but our customer should be interested by different cultures and cuisines. As a result we are moving away from conventional marketing activities and focusing more on innovations that have proven successful in the west. The focus is on a lot on social media and other channels that engage with the 20's - 30's crowd in this country.
GP: Kindly share your expansion plans?
AG: The plan is to increase our foot print in many more cities in the days to come. We would like to introduce the concept of Gourmet Food on the go to even tier 2 cities.