For over a decade, Delta Corp Ltd, the largest and only listed company within the gaming and hospitality segment in India, has established itself as the leader in the sector by creating leading destinations for both players and tourists. With three offshore casinos in Goa out of a total of six, it is the dominant player in the region.
General Manager, The Deltin Daman Akarsh Mathur, talks to Mini Ribeiro about the Group’s varied F&B outlets and what sets them apart…
How would you define the USP of F&B outlets at Deltin Daman and Deltin Goa Hotels?
Well, our brands aim at providing exceptional dining experiences through our belief of ‘Creating Experiences – Delightful & Unforgettable Memories’. A restaurant experience for us is not just the food; it begins with your arrival at the restaurant, where a warm and courteous hostess will ensure you have a perfect table, our trained servers would be happy to suggest special dishes to match your tastes and chef will be delighted to customise the culinary experience to your liking. A lot of thought is given to each guest’s dining experience to ensure high service levels and guest delight.
Which are some of the popular cuisines at the Deltin group restaurants?
Our fine-dine restaurant Emperor is extremely popular for the ‘Tangra’ style Chinese. Food from Tangra is a distinct variety of traditional Hakka Chinese cuisine adapted to Indian ingredients and the local palate. Chef Rudra leads the culinary team in Emperor at The Deltin, Daman and has mastered the art of adapting his food to guest tastes and often dishing out special surprises based on individual requirements. Vegas, our all-day restaurant at The Deltin, Daman & Deltin Suites in Goa, is multi cuisine and serves our signature dishes such as Chicken Curry Burger, Spiced Vegetable Burger, Doodhiya Murg Tikka and Bhatti Ka Paneer. Based on regional requirements, our restaurants at both locations also offer local delicacies such as pork vindaloo in Goa and Besan Gatte Ka Saag, Gujrati Kadi and other regional favourites.
Whiskys is our stylish, contemporary and modern drinking hole that offers a library selection of fi ne spirits and liquors, a martini fl ight, speciality cocktails and wines by the glass.
How have these restaurants been positioned?
Vegas: This is an all-day dining restaurant where, a series of a la carte menus, buffets and live cooking stations serve up all three meals of the day and any cravings in between. Additionally, an outdoor bar and al fresco dining complement the facility with close access to the pool.
Whiskys: This elegant meeting place is as perfect for a business engagement as it is for a friendly gathering or romantic rendezvous. Light ‘urban’ style snacks, which are not whole meals but interesting and pleasant to the eye drive the culinary offerings.
Emperor: ‘Fit for an Emperor’ easily defines the restaurant’s grandeur, service and delectable cuisine that spans the breadth of East Asia.
Traditional Cantonese recipes, Tangra-style cuisine and dim sums from Hong Kong.
Pool Bar and Grill: This poolside bar and grill serves both the casual lounger to the gastronomist within with a Med-inspired a la carte menu from classicItalian to Middle Eastern mezzes while celebrating the flavours of a wood fired oven and a grill. Emphasis is on leafy salads, chilled starters and mains with a high H20 content. The sunken pool bar offers a range of invigorating iced beverages and frozen drinks.
Which restaurant is your key revenue grosser and why?
Each restaurant serves different guest requirements and thus has different price points. Being an all-day dining outlet, Vegas serves both buffet and a la carte versions, which include popular dishes and comfort food; this it has a large share of guests dining on a regular basis. Emperor, the fine-dine restaurant, is priced slightly higher due to the use of exotic ingredients, posh restaurant layout and a very refined service style.
What is the concept behind each restaurant in Daman & Goa?
The restaurant concepts are similar at The Deltin Daman and The Deltin Suites, Goa so that our guests enjoy same superior F&B offerings across our hotels though each hotel suitably customises menu offerings and service requirements based on regional requirements and guest requests. The Deltin, Daman offers a few additional F&B options considering it is the larger hotel. The Pool Bar and Grill at The Deltin Daman has been designed to offer guests a unique dining experience while enjoying our mega swimming pool, which is a huge attraction for all our guests. Also, the soon-to-open juice bar will be an added attraction. Whether part of your daily regiment or a quick fix post an epic night, our range of juices are sure to energise, activate and lift spirits. Fresh a la minute and customised bursts of goodness of nature’s bounty will be offered at the poolside with easy access to the gym and spa facilities.
F&B promotions are a vital tool of marketing today. How do you conceptualise yours?
Well, F&B promotions are part of every restaurant; they are designed to draw more footfalls and renew customer interest. F&B promotions are also used by restaurants to publicise new offerings. We have done a few beverage promotions in the past at The Deltin Daman such as Beer Bucket, and Saturday Underground. We will soon be introducing some exciting F&B focused events through December leading to a spectacular dinner buffet for the New Year.
What is the role technology is playing in F&B businesses today?
As all things have evolved so has the use of technology in restaurants and kitchens. Some applications might be visible to guests, such as tablets being used as modern day menu cards. These are very employable in wine cellars to remember one’s preference for certain wines from previous visits. Lot of the use of technology is actually behind the scenes; chefs are adapting modern technology to introduce new styles of cooking, extracting and preserving more and more flavours and presenting food as a true piece of art. Molecular Gastronomy is a perfect example of how chefs are blending art and science to make food a subject of research and passion.
How are chefs for the Deltin group selected?
Our team of culinary wizards, apart from being extremely talented chefs, have a deep passion for cooking the most wonderful meals every time with highest quality standards. They all like nothing more to than to get into the kitchen and ensure that each guest has nothing less than a ‘WOW’ dinning experience. There is the highest emphasis on quality and hygiene. Our chefs love what they do and are always looking to enhance the experiences of
the guests. Our chefs are also very engaging, they like nothing better than to interact with guests and meet each guest’s expectations. We have specialty chefs looking after key sections, and a senior chef focusing only on dim sums, hence the exceptional quality and a wide variety.
Getting trained manpower in F&B and then retaining them remains the biggest challenge in this industry. Do you agree? How does your group manage?
We believe that talented individuals enjoy working in places where their skills are refined and they have continuous training to improve.
Our structure is such that we ensure all our team members at different hierarchy levels are imparted relevant training, which keeps them at par with the best in the industry. We also have a learning institute in Goa, where for no fees, structured training for non-graduates interested in careers in hospitality is conducted. We assure career opportunities within the group for those successfully completing the training program.
The kitchen equipment industry is also evolving to align with new culinary needs. What is your view? Who are your suppliers?
Throughout history there are mentions of special kitchen equipment suiting the cooking style and methods prevalent region wise globally. These equipment have evolved, some out of necessity while some out of passion, to extract more flavours and ensure beautifully cooked food. Kitchen equipment to date is evolving to improve hygiene standards, ensure minimum loss of nutrients and extracting and infusing new flavours. These also ensure better storage and efficient use of heat or chill as per requirement.
We are committed to the highest hygiene standards, hence we ensure that all our equipment are as per international standards and are energy efficient. Most international equipment brands have operations in India. Indian manufacturers too are now making world class equipment; suppliers are selected on a case-to-case basis. Having said that, all our vendors must meet our strict quality standards; there is absolutely no compromise on quality. For lot of our regular requirements we encourage local vendors and help them establish good practices for future growth of there business.
Are there some ingredients that are difficult to procure in Daman? How do you manage?
Yes, there are times when due to geographical locations, a few ingredients are difficult to procure. However, we have established reliable business partners for logistics to ensure we have continuous supply of excellent quality ingredients at all times. Also, the focus of our chefs is to understand and use good quality, healthy and flavourful local produce wherever possible. Chefs internationally are now increasingly using local produce for this reason. Use of local produce also brings out local cuisines, which guests enjoy.
What is the selection criteria for them?
Our selection criteria for all things in kitchen revolves around high hygiene standards and how relevant they are to our guests. If our guests enjoy a particular food item, then we will source if from different corners of the country; we will not disappoint our guests with non-availability.
Do you follow the farm to table concept at Deltin Daman & Goa?
We follow the concept for some food items which are locally available.We are also developing our own kitchen garden to ensure fresh herbs for our guests.
What is the kind of revenue generated from the F&B outlets at Deltin Daman and Goa?
The Deltin Daman is a popular choice for corporate and social events, apart from being a popular weekend getaway for families. Our F&B revenue is at times close to 50 per cent of the hotel revenue.
What do you think of FSSAI regulations and their impact on the hospitality business?
The FSSAI is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety. A regulatory body is good to have to ensure all organisations are adhering to high hygiene standards. The guidelines issued by FSSAI ensure good quality food products and packaging standards, which help the hospitality sector meet international standards and best practices.
What are the key trends in the Indian foodservice sector?
The trend of stand alone restaurants in India is on the rise. Most segments of the consumer base earlier considered to be conservative are now choosing to dine out and are willing to experiment with new food concepts. Also, the aspirational youth of the country is familiar with most international brands and F&B concepts; this is driving international brands to open more outlets in the country.
In your opinion which are the global trend in food service?
With regular travel that most customers are accustomed to now, they are enjoying both popular and little known dishes, dominance of popular cuisine such Italian and Chinese will soon give way to wonderful food from lesser known places. Also exclusivity in concept and cuisine will play a big part in F&B trends.
Have customer expectations from a dining point of view changed dramatically over the years?
There are newer F&B concepts available with each passing day and with more people opting to eat out, expectations of better food is only going to go up. Consumers now understand ingredients and are very knowledgeable about regional and international
cuisines and wines. It is not uncommon to find diners who are better travelled than some of the chefs and enjoy cooking themselves; this is very exciting and brings out the best from restauranteurs.
What’s next for the Deltin Group?
We have recently launched the Emperor at The Deltin Suites, Goa and will be soon launching The Pool Bar and Grill, Juice bar and The Cake Shop at Deltin Daman.