"Change is the only way forward"

In an interaction with Restaurant India, Umang Tiwari, Founder of Big Fish Ventures talked about the success points that are essential for a restaurateur, how the concept of dining out will never fade away with the emergence of cloud kitchens and the restaurants that he is planning to launch soon.


Edited excerpts 





While we are aware of your success story in the hospitality sector, if you could give some suggestions to the young entrepreneurs in Restaurant business today, so that the challenges you faced can be avoided by them?

With so many culinary options and different dining styles available to customers these days, competition in the restaurant industry is fiercer than ever. To build a thriving, successful, and long-term business in foodservice, restaurateurs have to start getting creative to make their restaurants stand out from the competition. Whether you’re opening a new spot for foodies or have been running a restaurant for years. I used to be a man of masses but now I have shifted my focus from masses to classes because from that’s where the good earning is made.

Another factor to sustain in this industry is ‘Change’. It is the only game and is the only thing that keeps you going. Just keep on changing your things, don’t be constant and stagnant. Keep on moving with the trends; taste of your customers and with everything else. Change is the only way forward.


What do you think about the emergence of cloud kitchens today, which is creating a disruption in the market right now? The fine line that we see today between restaurants and cloud kitchen companies, do you think that this line will get blurred in times to come? Also, how is this model a threat to restaurants?

I don’t think this line will get blurred in the coming time as cloud kitchens and dine-in restaurants are poles apart. While each has its own distinct advantages, the factor that tips the scale on either side should be the customer experience you wish to offer and the return on investment you expect to earn. Dine-in restaurants opt for complimentary meals for couples, families and even senior citizens to attract attention and goodwill. The focus, of course, is on engaging and reaching out to new customers. Want to boost customer engagement even further? Run campaigns that offer redeemable points that could be used by customers the next time they visit. Such promotional campaigns can also help you to retain customers in the long run. 

The trend of going out with friends, families and loved ones can never fade away. You got to do parties with friends, with families or loved ones you definitely need to step into dine-in restaurants. 


What are the things a Restaurateur should keep in mind while running a more than one restaurant brand?

It all begins with the homework and how deep you have dug, in order to find the information, you want. Ensure that your sources are credible, reliable and applicable, as these are the factors that will help come to that crucial decision. Is there a market for the type of restaurant you have in mind? If you get a clear idea about this, then it gives way to the rest of the questions you need to ask. Are similar restaurants working? Where are they located? How do they operate?

Your homework should also involve, getting overall information or an idea about the important things that are required to start a restaurant. Be it the jargon involved, or the margins discussed, you should familiarise yourself with the internal language. 


Talking about your restaurant brands, how are you expanding them? How many of them are under franchisees?

I have always been passionate about doing something different. I firmly believe in creating an innovative concept based dining outlets to give rich and unique experience to its customers. I started my journey with Out of the Box when I realized a serious void in the category of customized cuisine and made an effort by filling the gap by our multi-cuisine restaurant and bar. My brand has raised the ante in the north Indian segment by making an indelible mark. I have expanded my business all over Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Murthal and more. I have recently launched Local in Gurgaon, and My Kind of bar in CP. Local and Garam Dharam are two outlets, which are under franchisees. 


What is the road ahead for you?

I am planning to launch newer and younger brands with the expansion of older brands like Local or Dharam Garam. Next in the line is the launch of two more outlets – Sexy Soda at Golf Course Road and Local at Gardens Galleria Mall in Noida.


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