When we talk about restaurants today there are many varieties and kind of restaurants run by owners and professionals and probably anybody and everybody. And, there is no other industry that is booming in India as compared to Restaurant industry. There was a time when fine dine was restricted to 5 star hotels but today they have moved out and there is a strolling market for them outside which has its own challenges. Indians are no more restricted to Indian cuisine; they are enjoying the taste of variety of cuisines. But what we need to understand is that geographically we are different from any other country and every city in India itself is different and this requires a lot of challenges as there can’t be any similarity in the restaurants you are doing because the city is different, the demography is different and people are different.
The segmentation of market is so diverse that there will be an opportunity for multi trends. One can see people who are looking for quick service food, budget food, fine dining and luxury dining. So, with so much of variety and choices there is not possibility that only one trend is going in the society. And, with all of this multiplicity it is very challenging to have soul and scale at the same time.
Does Restaurants require the soul today?
Though it is an individual take of a restaurant owner and chef who wish and dream to multiply their restaurants it is well understood that to have better profitability it’s not possible to run only one restaurant to get your maths right, to have your talent stay with you as everyone needs growth and to have that growth you need to have multiple restaurants so that there could be growth for everyone associated with you. “Soul to me is a feeling, a spirit for a restaurant owner and chef. No matter how much he expands. After sometime there will be dilution. And, Soul is in tangible,” believes Chef Koushik Shankar of Eatitude who owns his own restaurant in Chennai.
He also voices that QSRs brands like McDonald’s don’t have soul but there is very high probability that certain outlets can have the soul and it demotes to a certain area and it’s a neighbourhood restaurant. However, contradicting his view on the same, Chef Vikas Seth, Culinary Director, Embassy Group shares, “In a QSR business it is very difficult to have soul. For me soul is personal touch where a team member recognising the guest that give a touch of the belonging because everybody need recognition and also comfort. So, that’s a soul I associate with. In a QSR it is very quick kind of bite so you can’t bring in the soul.”
However, we can say that it is about personal touch to have the connectivity. And, Scalability has to be beyond people. “I personally like to believe that I don’t feel bellies, I feel soul. There are restaurants which require soul and there are restaurants which do not require soul,” adds Chef Shankar.
Hence, we can say that with people looking for good quality, good ambience, no non-sense and consistency in the food. Restaurant owners need to understand the science behind the food.