"Go Beyond Food for Creating Experience"

Ashish is currently leading investments of TVS Capital in the F&B space. He is the CEO for TexMex Cuisine which own and operates Chili's American Grill & Bar in West and South India. He is also actively supporting TVS Capital for opportunities to invest further in this sector. Prior to joining TVS, Ashish was running a $250 million retail edible oils and fats business as part of Bunge India and was also head of strategy and M&A for Bunge in India. He has also worked for 5 years with Accenture as part of strategy consulting division advising clients across industries on M&A, growth strategies and cost optimisation. Here are the excerpts from the interview:

How would you like to define experience?

At Chili’s, experience is all about living life. We make sure that experience is equally delivered along with food in restaurant business. Diners can easily connect with the ambience of the restaurant because the artwork defines what a diner would look like way back in 70s at United States. We want our guests to feel that they are dining out in United States even when they are in India. All of our service persons are dressed casually as we are a casual dining chain. Also, it makes the guest comfortable to see casual things around instead of seeing pretentiousness.

How do you create experience at Chili’s?

We try to give experience around food. Chili’s is famous for its ‘baby back ribs’. We create a whole menu around different flavors of these ribs but at the same time give experience to our guests. For example, if customers come down to eat, we give them a bib so they could put it around their neck and not end up spoiling their clothes by those messy sauces. All the little pretty things made difference and create an experience at the end.

Any innovation you have done recently?

We recently innovated burgers which we call ‘the art of burgers’. The idea was to make burgers and compare them to how people can create art with food. We give customers a sheet of paper and colors to build their own burgers while the order is in the process. Also, we run a contest along with that. For creating experience, one just has to think differently because people are looking towards different things today. Thus, restaurateur needs to keep thinking and innovating around. They need to go beyond the food for creating experience.

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