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Harpal Sokhi: “I Plan to Enter the QSR Space in India Offering Indian & Chinese Cuisine”

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, Celebrity Chef & Director, reveals details about his restaurant chain ‘Twist of Tadka’ and expresses his interest in the growing market in India. Sokhi says he is yet to finalise a processed based product for entering the market and will raise funds for the venture which will again be a franchise-based model. He adds that his would dish out Indian and Chinese cuisines.

What are the latest trends in the F&B space in India?

One of the major trends in the F&B space in India revolves around people becoming more experimental in terms of food, especially in the major metros. This has led to more international brands and chains enter the country at a rapid pace. Another interesting fact being observed is that tier 2 cities are much better for F&B business models. I would say that businesses with an average ticket size of Rs 200 to Rs 250 will make a major difference in the Indian food and beverage segment.

Downsizing of menus is yet another trend that is becoming prominent across the pizza and burger chains and small Indian restaurants.My own restaurant chain, Twist of Tadka, does not have more than 30-40 items on the menu. However, the menu is changed seasonally. If you ask me, despite of international cuisines gaining ground in the country, the cuisine that works across metros and tier 1 is Indian cuisine. Even though fusion food is also fast becoming popular in tier 1 cities.

Branded products for commodities displaying all the information on packaging will also capture the market by becoming value-added products.

In terms of cuisines, which are the cuisines really doing well in India?

Mediterranean food is fast becoming popular among Indians followed by Spanish and Italian. Having said that, authentic Indian food is also picking up.

How do you analyse the QSR space in India?

In India, there is no QSR brand which is highly successsful for any one product offering that they specialise in. I only see a couple of them doing it, for e.g., Jumbo King Vada Paav, Goli Vada Paav, and Faasos have grown with just one product in India. The Indian QSRs have not made it that big as compared to their international counterparts because to become a successful Indian QSR player, one must roam around the food streets of India and create a national product from the available options. In our country, we definitely lack in conducting a QSR related research in the market.

With the QSR market growing at a rapid pace in the country, do you also plan to enter the segment?

Yes, indeed. I am yet to finalise a processed based product for entering the QSR market and plan to raise funding for the venture. The QSR will serve Indian and Chinese cuisines and will run on a franchise-based model.

Tell us about your restaurant chain, ‘Twist of Tadka.’

At present there are three Twist of Tadka outlets in Mumbai (2) and Kathmandu (1). This June or July another outlet will be added at Chandigarh and by September-October there will be one more at Karnal. The chain is based on a franchise model. Average ticket size at the Mumbai outlet is Rs 500 whereas in other cities it ranges between Rs 350 and Rs 400. The recipes shown on Food Food TV are all a part of our menu. With a Funjabi theme, the decor of the outlets comprise funny caricatures and idioms written on the table. Known for fusion food, some of our popular items on the menu include Mirchi ka Halwa, Arbi Karari, Palak Methi Tikki, Lahori Aloo Karareyh, Lawrence Road Ka Tandoori Murgh, Matka Amritsari Tikka, Afghani Malai Murgh on Bone, Ferro Rocher Lassi, and Paneer Highway. The restaurant’s menu is inspired from travel across the country, particularly North. A non-vegetarian main course at the restaurant is priced between Rs 185 and Rs 250. Vegetarian main course costs Rs 150 to Rs 225. Starting from Rs 80 to Rs 90 for beverages, te rate card goes up to Rs 285 to Rs 325.

Twist of Tadka restaurants are spread over 2,000 sq.ft.Leaving aside the licensing fee, a franchisee needs to invest Rs 55 to Rs 60 lakh. Not more than eight chefs are hired per restaurant. High-traffic locations offering prominent visibility are preferred for the restaurants.