Starting something new is always difficult. But one needs to be focused and should believe in the concept and should be able to stand by it. That’s what the two boys who were unconventional non-delhiites, not from the F&B background came together for their passion and inclination towards food and music. Joy Singh together with his friend Rahul Kundan started Raasta in the year 2012 with its first branch at the popular restaurant hub, Hauz Khas Village which has recently moved to Green Park. The restaurant was the outcome of their immense love for Raastafarian culture; the two entrepreneurs took the brand a step ahead by opening another one at the elite Cyber Hub with the thought of providing a laid back time to the corporate environment of the adjoining Cyber City. But if you start things at the right time they usually click with the right effort. That’s what happened with Raasta. “When we started Delhi’s scene was growing. And our customers helped us shape the place we are today,’ shared Singh. Excerpts from the interview:
It is always believed that the key to restaurant success is personalization. What all do you do at your restaurants Raasta and Yeti?
Personal attention is very important. Customer interaction is very important. And giving importance to the customers is important. Knowing what our regulars like and tearing them special was one of the tricks that we use. The other way to personalize things is continuous training of staff by us personally to start with.
Yeti and Raasta both are very different concepts. Which is your favourite and why?
When these are two different concepts and two different lines of F&B so clearly in the restaurant line Yeti is my favourite and in the bar lounge category Raasta is my favorite, (LoL).
Today, it is not just about food. Overall experience is what makes successful restaurants. What are all other elements that you focus on at your restaurants?
When we opened Raasta in 2012, we used to call it a music-based lounge. So the soul of it was music. Then all the other stuff. Like today there’s a gastro pub or a modern fusion, we were a music-based lounge. And that’s one different thing we try to give, which is specific genres of music and not anything or everything. But the whole package is very important which has ambience, food, service, music, comfort and most of all happy and interactive staff.
How have you seen the restaurant business growing with time?
It has grown leaps and bounds and has become one of the largest new industries of the county within no time. We as an industry give so much of employment and revenue to the county. And because of people travelling so much the palates have opened and Indians are on for trying new things and that has given a rise to this industry.
Tell us something about your food menu. How have you paired them right with food?
Since, Raasta is a lounge bar pairing is important but have to see people’s comfort also. We are heavy on starters and finger food, which is comfort food. But staying true to our nature we have some Caribbean specialities, which are very close to Indian palate yet different. Some must try dishes are chicken and veg faffa, it’s a Caribbean take on chilly chicken and chilly paneer. Then there’s jambalya both veg and non-veg, which is again a Caribbean, take on biryani. And these are authentic Caribbean dishes.
We see a sudden growth of cocktails in restaurants and bars. Why so?
With people becoming more aware of things around with the kind of travel they are doing they have started trying new things and new concoctions and that’s why the entire scene of cocktails have started.
What is your expansion plan expanding your both restaurants Yeti and Raasta?
There are a few in the pipeline. But will let everyone know once it’s finalized for both the brands.