Delhi-based restaurateur Priyank Sukhija,who operates over 23 restaurants under different names and formats, believes that experimentation and the quest to try out new things will help F&B outlets with interesting concepts to thrive and grow
The food and beverage industry is always in a state of evolution. It is constantly looking at bringing new things – new menus, new concepts and new ambience. This evolution has helped the industry move from the more traditional concepts to more International concepts now. Apart from the evolution in the food service industry, customers are evolving too. Today, people like to experiment with new things and this offers the opportunity to come up with new and exciting restaurants.
Year 2016 will belong to concept restaurants. I say this because both customers and industry will go for more experiments in 2016. Food is the fundamental reason for people to dine out. And experimentation therefore becomes important so that your food outing can always be enjoyed and should not become monotonous.
The year gone by totally belonged to International flavours. 2016 will be the year for the industry to cater to a wider audience because exposure to international cuisines has also increased. So no prizes for guessing that as a industry we will be experimenting more with cuisine. But the thing to remember is that it is always important to have the right balance of both classic and experimental flavours. The Indian palate is about making and creating dishes that are well accepted by the masses and yet look, feel and taste international at the same time. So we are sure that in 2016, we will be bringing together Concept and Fusion but no confusion.
The ground has already been prepared for this twinning to take place. Last year’s experience was a game-changer. And I would say that it was not a game-changer for us only but for the entire market. The year saw many international players come up as well as the emergence of a large number of domestic players as well.
We run concept-driven restaurants under the Lazeez Affaire Group, and these are places that have really nice interiors and serve multi-cuisine food and good drinks. We try to undertsand the market and make our strategies according to the requirements of the clientele. For example, our bar – The Project at Delhi’s Hauz Khas Deer Park – embodies a youth-centric concept with its large and lush natural environs, thumping music, a good pumpkin ravioli and dishes that go down well with the youth. It is also the most pocket-friendly bar in line with the youth-centric market that Hauz Khas village is. Similarly, our other places are built around interesting concepts: we target big events at Flying Saucer Café as it is an event-driven place. Similarly, Lord of the Drinks is a place with great cocktails and drinks menu because of its corporate acceptance.
Today, the market has evolved to the extent that the food industry has enough momentum on its own. The percentage and number of people dining out has increased substantially and this trend is likely to strengthen further in the days ahead. The prospects for the food industry appear brighter and better than at any time before.
Taking cognisance of this evolution, we run food shows at our restaurants for the much travelled clientele that understands cuisines much better now. Unlike in the past, customers today are educated and they understand cuisine and its authenticity. This gives us the capacity and strength to experiment with concepts and keep introducing
As compared to fine dining, the current food scene is definitely more in favour of casual dining. However, food service is a very dynamic industry and it has room for all segments to grow and flourish. With offerings from all parts of world, food, drinks, ambience and events will be the four major elements that will contribute to the future success of the industry. In this respect, the Lazeez Affaire Group plans to go bigger and better on all the four dynamics. Right location, pricing, unique concept and offerings are a few things that we have in mind for 2016.
Apart from the quality of food, the concept and interiors of the place will play a pivotal role in making the place happening and popular. The furnishings, music, lights, décor – whatever you choose should make the customer comfortable in his surroundings. We live in times when people love to flaunt and show off. The target audience of concept-driven restaurants are people who want to eat and drink in style. It’s for the people who look out for ingredients and food to post on their Facebook page. So restaurants need beautiful décor and vibes to retain customers.
Going ahead, we will see more of the above mentioned sort of restaurants and lounges come up. They will seek to bring to customers variety from different parts of the world. At the same time, even customers will become more experimental in trying out newer things.
At the Lazeez Affaire Group, we have great expansion plans for 2016. We are opening four outlets in Delhi in the first quarter of the year, which will include Tamasha at Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Teddy Boy at CP, Lord of the Drinks at Flying Saucer Café and Lord of the Drinks at Rajouri Garden as well. Apart from this, we are also opening Flying Saucer in Pune, which will be our second outlet in the city. Besides, we are foraying in Mumbai with Delhi’s favourite brand Lord of the Drinks. We plan to introduce more cuisines at our eateries and take events to an even bigger and larger scale.
These plans apart, I am also concentrating on growing our franchise model. We have already given the franchise of Boombox and Out of the Box. While Boombox Reloaded has already opened in Rajouri Garden in 2015, the first quarter of 2016 will see the opening of Boombox in Gurgaon, and Out of the Box in Gurgaon and Hyderabad.
With all these developments, we are sure that our annual turnover will clock about Rs. 200 crore this year.