With Out of the box, Fork You, The Vault Cafe, Raas, Skooter, among many more, Umang Tewari is one of the few people responsible for making Delhi, a culinary heaven with his utterly popular joints. He got immense learning about restaurants after opening his first pub called “Oxygen”, where he himself worked in each department, which helped him in understanding the business closely and have a taste of the experience. Umang Tewari shares the ingredients of a successful restaurant with The Restaurant Times. Edited Experts:
POSist: You have been quite successful in launching new concepts and further expanding them as an individual brand. What is the strategy you followed for the expansion?
Umang Tewari: One thing I would like to share with you is that there is no replacement of hard work and determination. There are ups and downs in every business, and same is the case in the restaurant business. But, it is your determination which keeps you up in the competition. We have different concept restaurants and bars operating out of which the popular ones which are liked by the people are Garam Dharam and Junkyard. Both the concept restaurant we are expanding out outlets. Garam Dharam we are coming up in Sector 26 in Chandigarh while for Junkyard we have signed three outlets in Mumbai. We are also coming up with a new brand called Cafe Local.
One thing that I have learned over time is that food is the soul of any restaurant or a bar. If food is not good rest of things doesn't matter at all. After food, good service, and good ambiance comes into the picture.
POSist: What kind of food trends and formats is emerging in the market?
Umang Tewari: According to me, concept based restaurants will win the game in the near future. We have been selling experimental and fusion food. But we have realized that people like natural and straight things. Few fusion menu items can work by but not the complete menu, this is my personal experience. Apart from this, there should be continuous efforts of making customers happy that helps you to win the game in long run.
POSist: What are the key points one should keep in mind while finalizing the location of the restaurant? How have you managed to make most of your outlets successful?
Umang Tewari: It is all based on gut feeling. After so many years of experience and learnings, I go with gut feeling. There have been instances when we felt the location was superb but it turned out to be a disaster. However, I feel that location makes a difference in the success of a restaurant. The overall response and business of restaurant are dependent upon the location. As it is said, it is all about finding the right ingredients to make a perfect dish and so is the restaurant business as the right combination of a perfect location, demographics, and available parking.
POSist: How do you ensure customer loyalty as the competition is getting stiff day by day?
Umang Tewari: I believe that any restaurateur should be in direct touch with the customers. He should know what customers feel about their brand and place. This helps in making improvements every day. For a big brand such as ours, it is not easy to tap each and every customer. Therefore, we have created our own app for loyalty program called ‘Big Fish’ to get in touch directly with our customers.
POSist: Retaining good employees is the tough task now days especially in food service industry?
Umang Tewari: For standalone restaurant concepts like us, there is a crunch of service people and other kitchen staff. So for this, we continuously do in-house training, and it is a continuous process. We are also planning to open a training institute to overcome this challenge.