Restaurant spirit takes a leap

Indian Restaurant Congress leased a new life to the restaurant industry in the country with its mind boggling sessions in presence of the leading industry experts, creating a unique platform for thought provoking interactions and networking, and also by acknowledging the contributors and achievers in the sector.


The Indian Restaurant Congress and Indian Restaurant Awards held on 20th and 21st August 2011, at Hotel Claridges, Surajkund, Faridabad (NCR). The event was well attended by the forerunners from every faculty of restaurant industry, comprised of the restaurant operators, suppliers and vendors as well as funding professionals. The two-day event came out as a distinct venue where best minds of this space united to discuss and shares the thoughts, ideas and trends of restaurant industry.  


Sachin Marya, CEO, Franchise India Holdings Ltd, welcomed the stalwarts of the industry to the Indian Restaurant Congress and initiated a dialogue that leads to the debate over the propositions of the sectors that are dynamic and growth driven. He thanked Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor for being the Conference Chairperson and the others who had joined hands with Franchise India for gracing the event. The conference got wide acceptance from the industry, and was attended by around 300 delegates that included restaurateurs, investors, suppliers, professionals and prospective entrepreneurs, who want to lead their way through the restaurant route.

The inaugural session was set in motion with the lightening of the auspicious lamp of knowledge by the hands of the dignitaries. Thereon the Conference Chairperson, Master Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, delivered his speech stating the way ahead for the restaurant industry and how this two day conference aims at covering every facet of the restaurants’ life cycle, juggling with the problems and opportunities that come around. The inaugural session had been attended by Vikram Bakshi, MD, North & East Region, McDdonald’s; Samir Kuckreja, President NRAI & MD, Nirulas Pvt Ltd; Niren Chaudhary, MD, Yum Restaurants India Ltd; Sanjay Khajuria, President- CIFTI-FICCI & Senior VP-Corporate Affairs, Nestle, added his perspective from the industry point of view.   The session ended with the unveiling of “Food Franchising Report 2011”, brought by Franchise India and CIFTI-FICCI.

The second session on ‘The genesis of an innovative Menu Idea- from kitchen to customer’, lead on to an elaborate discussion amongst a diverse panel of experts in their own domain. The eminent panelists are comprised of Manu Mohindra, MD, Under One Roof Consultants Pvt Ltd; Vikarm Kamat, Executive Director, Kamat Restaurants; Nita Mehta, Director, Snab Publishers Pvt Ltd; and Aditya Bal, Chef and Anchor, NDTV Good Times; and Kunal Bahl, CEO,

Samir Kuckreja chaired the session which spoke about getting investment into the restaurant business. The elaborate panel consisted of Jacob Kurian, Partner, New Silk Route Advisors Pvt Ltd; Hemendra Mathur, MD, SEAF India Investment Advisors; Deepak J Joyce, Partner, Luthra & Luthra (a law firm); and Sumer Juneja, VP, Norwest Venture Partners India. The session touched upon the areas that actually posing as obstacles to receive funding.

Understanding franchisee perspective plays a vital role in building trust amongst business partners and increases business efficiency and effectiveness. The discussion saw the panelists like SBP Pattabhi Rama Rao, President, Australian Foods India Pvt Ltd;  Sameer Kachru, Director, Yes Hospitality Services Pvt Ltd; GS Bhalla, Director, Cocoberry; and Gaurav Ahuja, COO, Red Ginger Hospitality Pvt Ltd 

Saurabh Rai Bhatnagar, Regional Director, Preferred Hotel Group, and Deepinder Goyal, Founder and CEO,, spoke on publicity and marketing aspects of a restaurant. 

In the session on ‘Developing work ethic in restaurant workplace’, Deepak Bhel, Director-Human resources, DoubleTree by Hilton, gave a detailed insight on the ways in which the internal communication channel needs to be brought to existence in the restaurant and hospitality sector.


The day started with the session on understanding strategic planning by chain restaurants, which is involuntary for developing chain restaurants. The panel included industry leaders like R Kumar, CMD, Continental Equipment; Prashant Chawla, MD, Amalgam Foods; Amit Gulati, MD, Incubis Consultants Pvt Ltd, who spoke about integrating design and aesthetics in building multiple outlets; and Manish Tandon, CEO, Indian Cookery Pvt Ltd. 

Quick Service Restaurants, today, enjoys a major stake in the eating out market. Kabir Advani, CEO, Berco’s; Gaurav Batra, Director, Dish Hospitality Pvt Ltd (Cinnabon); Akbar Khwaja, MD, United Restaurants Ltd. (US Pizza); and Rohit Bansal, COO, Snap were the eminent panelists who spoke about aspects that concern this format the most. 

The session on re-defining fine dine ended up in an interesting interactive session where delegates wanted to know more about the science of running fine dine restaurants. Manu Chandra, Executive Chef of Olive Bar & Kitchen; Gurjeet Singh Khaira, Restaurant Manager, Diya at Leela Keminski;  and Bruno Loosli, CEO, Mars Group, shared  their experiences.

Internationalisation session had a mixed bag of speakers, some moving beyond and some moving within the Indian borders. Shikha Nath, Brand Director, Copper Chimney Ltd; Janaka Wimalananda, MD & CEO, Glod Block Pvt. Ltd (Loon Tao); and Amit Nayak, VP- Franchising, Delice were the eminent panelists who spoke in this session.

Session on ‘Geo-demographics of restaurant development’ had panelists representing all the stakeholders of the restaurant space. Pankaj Renjhen, MD-Retail Services, Jones Lang LaSalles; Rajeev Panjwani, CEO, Travel Food Services   Pvt Ltd; and Anil Bhandari, Cahirman, AB Smart Concepts talked about the issues involving leaser and lessee. 

The last session was taken over by Rajesh Mohan, Head Strategy, Sahara Hospitality and Rajat Mehta, Country Head- Emerging Business Unit, Hewlett-Packard India.  The session shed light on how technology can be used to capitalise on opportunities to reduce cost.  

The day one of the conference was follow by The Indian Restaurant Awards 2011. It was first of its kind Awards Night that recognised all the stakeholders in the industry, ranging from suppliers to consultants to restaurant operators, thereby acknowledging all their valuable contribution in creating quality benchmarks for the industry to grow and flourish.

Winners of the Awards

CATEGORY                                                                                                                          COMPANY NAME

Best Indian Cuisne Restaurant of the Year 2011                                                  Punjabi By Nature

                                                                                                                                                By A.R.Fisheries Pvt. Ltd

Best Quick Service Restaurant of the Year 2011                                                  Subway

Best Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year 2011                                                       Mainland China

Best Restaurant for Customer Service in the Year 2011                                   Dhaba By Claridges

Best Leisure Restaurant of the Year                                                                         Golfworx

Best Restro-Bar of the year 2011                                                                               Smoke House Grill

Best Designer Restaurant of the Year 2011                                                           Nautanki Gali By Ohri’s

Best Debutant Restaurant of the Year 2011                                                          Boombox Cafe

Best Café Chain of the Year 2011                                                                               1 Cafe Bar

Best Menu R&D & Innovation of the Year 2011                                                   Fishtro By Sigma                                                                                                                                                                               Restaurants Pvt Ltd

Most Creative Concept Restaurant of the Year 2011                                        The [v] Spot Cafe + Bar

Restaurant Entrepreneur of the Year 2011                                                           Amit Burman

                                                                                                                                                of Lite Bite Foods Pvt Ltd

Best Foreign Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2011                                              Courtyard By Mariott

Best Foreign Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2011                                              The Sheraton, Bangalore

Best Bakery & Confectionery of the Year 2011                                                    Flurry’s By The Park

Best Food Court of the Year 2011                                                                              Inorbit Mall, Mumbai

Best Speciality Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2011                                          Rajdhani

Life Time Restaurateur Award                                                                                    Gulati

Best Celebrity Restaurant of the Year 2011                                                           LAP

Best Kitchen Equipment Supplier of the Year 2011                                            Continental Equipment                                                                                                                                                                India Pvt Ltd

Best Indian Restaurant Consultant of the Year 2011                                         Under One Roof Hotel                                                                                                                                                  Consultants Pvt Ltd

Best Hotel Management Institute of the Year 2011                                          IHM, Pusa Road, Delhi

Chef of the year 2011                                                                                                     Chef Sanjay Malkani of

Copper Chimney, 

Best Restaurants Chain of the Year 2011                                                                McDonald’s

Face of the Year                                                                                                               Niren Chaudhry, 

Yum! Restaurants (India)
Pvt Ltd         

Face of the Decade                                                                                                         Sanjeev Kapoor    

Best Restaurant of the Year 2011                                                                              Pizza Hut

                                                                                                                                                By Yum! Restaurants                                                                                                                                                                      (India) Pvt Ltd      

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