Creativity and innovation are a part of the culinary industry but brands like Imly, Too Indian and Duty Free – a part of Viva Hospitality group – are restaurants with different concepts and with a hint of global and millennial lifestyle in mind. FoodService India spoke to Varun Puri about his restaurant brands and their unique themes:-
What is unique about the format and concepts of your major F&B brands and what are their distinct specialities?
Viva hospitality has three restaurant chains – Imly, Too Indian and Duty Free.
Imly: The journey that started from Rajendra Place in 2015 took Delhiites by storm. The vision was always to serve authentic street food with some quirky presentation from all across India under one roof, in a pleasant ambiance. Some of the specialities of Imly are Chole Bhature, Mumbai’s Pav Bhaji, Street Style Banta Shikanji , Delhi’s favourite Palak Patta Chaat and Imly’s favourite Dosa with melted cheese.
Too Indian: It brings unique aesthetic flavors and spices of different parts of India to Delhi. This speciality restaurant was established with the zeal and passion of serving real Indian dishes to people who love the quintessential Indian tadka but with a modern touch. The vibrant ambiance of the place lifts your mood. Various dishes in Modern Indian cuisine that you get at cost effective prices at Too Indian will take you by surprise. An addition to the offering is a well-set bar in the restaurant. It is located in Rajouri Garden.
Duty Free: It is a café and a drinking space. Duty-Free is a quirky bar, workplace and a hangout. It is a buzzing place that is comfortable. This place is cosy and divided into corners. The interiors have taken casual classy to a whole new level. There is a mix of wooden flooring with marbles and chandeliers, and the outdoors (working area and the terrace) made to look like a garden restaurant. The pretty interiors, which hold a quirky surprise on almost every wall, nook and cranny are the selling points for Duty Free.
What is the culinary portfolio that is offered at your restaurants and what is the price range?
At our restaurants, we do not aim at pushing customers to pay very high prices for food and drinks. The menu has been designed for the masses. We aim to cater to people and keep in mind the affordability factor. Prices begin at astonishing points (starting at Rs 19 and Rs 65 for Imly and Duty Free respectively) without compromising on the taste and hygiene. We make sure that our guests get to enjoy some quality time without really burning a hole in their pockets.
Which are your best-selling products?
Duty Free comes with a menu designed for young crowd. Price range is reasonably lesser and there’s no compromise in taste. Cocktails that caters to aspirational Gurugram audiences are best selling products, it includes cocktails like Billionaire, Employees Only and many more. Pahua menu, includes drinks like Majnu Bhai and ChuCha, is a quirky and eccentric take on the characters from B-Town. It is done and named in the most quirkiest way possible. In food – sharabi chicken tikka, andhra fish curry, crazy range of salads, wood fired pizza, dimsums and a dish called – my boss’s fav dish are some of the best selling products.
What is the customer and value proposition of your brands for the guests?
Our focus remains on customer satisfaction in all areas and all brands. For instance, our mixologist gives personal attention to every customer by going up to each table on the floor and asks for their preferences. Similarly, our head chef is always on the go and makes sure that he meets the guests and looks out for any feedback possible.
What is the market positioning that your brands are looking to create?
Too Indian is in the segment of fine dining with a touch of gourmet to modern Indian cuisine. It is a place to have great food, chill and relax, along with a great section to shop from. Too Indian comes with a concept of retail section – giving you the chance to shop while you dine.
Duty Free has a young vibe in its ambiance. It is your neighborhood bar cafe, serving young crowd whose focus is on good food, music, events and all kinds of live gigs. Giving all a great place to host parties.
Imly is a bit traditional in approach. It is into pure vegetarian food and quick service categories, serving food from across the country. They are packaging best of street food from across the country, keeping in mind- hygiene and cleanliness.
We get authentic spices from their origins. Vada pav masala comes specifically from Maharashtra and Spices for Amritsari cuisine comes from
Punjab. Our focus remains on keeping consistency and authenticity.
What is your marketing and sales strategy that you use to promote brand?
As of now, we have adopted non aggressive marketing strategy. Our formats and service is doing well. We are only doing social media and PR exercises as of now.
How would you rate the business for your food format?
For our format, as a bar cum pub cum party place, we’re trying to give our customers a best of everything. It’s not only food or drinks or music, it’s a mix of all. We feel that the industry needs a place that is all in one. Duty free is a complete package, it is a place to party, a place that you’d come in for good food and drinks and a romantic terrace called Vayu for a perfect date.
What is the scope for making value additions to your kind of format?
Adding value addition as a brand to certain customers in our kind of format is the most important. Our bartending, kitchen or the operations, team wouldn’t want to miss out on a single chance to take care of guests, personally.
What is your value-for-money proposition for diners and which are your key customer segments?
In our format, we bring out a crazy price range unique ambiance, menus etc.
Please describe your brand’s key achievements so far and what do you attribute them to?
We have opened 7 outlets across Delhi NCR for Imly. Now, we are elated to have launched Duty Free’s second outlet in Gurgaon in less than 6-7 months of opening our first outlet in Delhi. We are extremely grateful for the love we have received from our patrons and are looking forward to create another great experience for everyone who steps in.
Can you offer us examples of innovative F&B ideas that you have implemented or plan to take?
We have really focused on studying different concepts for our restaurants. For Imly, we have our 7 outlets across Delhi and NCR. For Gurgaon, our audience was more into quick evening snacks or takeaways while they head out from their offices. As a chain it’s very important to study the audience around. For instance, we introduced Sunday breakfast at very nominal prices for residential crowd because as a family – a hearty Sunday breakfast is what they love most. There is nothing better than good food with an amazing price range.
Which technology tools you have adopted for better service and customer satisfaction?
We make sure that we have our feedback system in line, for each and every customer and we work on those feedbacks for next time. For faster and better service we provide on our table tops – a waiter calling device. So it’s really convenient for our guests to call the server, call for waiter or call for bill. Everything has a different button for each of the need. It has a system to notify our servers, so there is no waiting for something or someone to arrive.
What are your plans and targets for the future?
We plan to open multiple stores, scale them up and take them to different metros. Especially launching Imly in Tier 2 cities because of the price range and the concept of this chain. For instance, each Imly outlet has been made with a special theme – like a bus or a train or a furniture shop.