Rishi Bajoria is chief mentor at Royal China Kolkata who has introduced several F&“firsts” like Subway, Chili’s Grill and Bar, Cinnabon and Auntie Anne’s to the Kolkata market, he is a true stalwart in the hospitality industry. The newest addition to his notable repertoire is Royal China, the Cantonese fine-dining brand that is all set to impress the Indian palate of discerning gourmets at the Forum Courtyard Mall. In his latest project as Chief Mentor of Royal China Kolkata, Rishi brings to the table a huge pool of experience through his long-standing association with numero uno F&B brands in the industry. Always keen to introduce brands that provide a first-time experience and set new industry standards, he is very optimistic about the prospects of Royal China in the city. Excerpts from the interview:
How did food happen to you?
It happened by chance. The inspiration was being a foodie and having belief in the growth opportunity in this space in India.
Royal China has already made a mark in other markets in terms of its service and food. What will be the USP of the brand in Kolkata?
The USP of Royal China is the authentic Cantonese flavours that it offers across all its locations. Kolkata does not have any other restaurant which specialises in such authentic Cantonese flavours. The prime location, chic decor and the attached lounge and bar are some of the other USP's that the Kolkata outlet has to offer.
Who are you targeting as your customer?
Our customer is every foodie who is looking for a 5* experience and authentic Cantonese flavours.
How much money have you invested in getting the franchise right of the brand? Why franchise, you could have also opened a restaurant of your own?
We believe in operating Franchisee Operations as we get the SOP's, systems and support of an established brand. Creating your own brand is a different business model which has its own pros and cons.
We see that there is a sudden rise of cuisine based or region based restaurants in India- it’s no more only Chinese or pan-Asian now…Why so?
This is very good for the overall industry. It shows how the Indian population is getting global and ready to try and appreciate global cuisines.
Are you also delivering as we see that more and more restaurants are now looking at delivery to sustain the covid loss? Any plan opening a cloud-kitchen brand or extending Royal China operation?
Yes we are delivering on our own as well as through third party aggregators. No plans of a cloud kitchen for Royal China. Cloud kitchens do not fit the Fine Dining space and just to clear the myth - Only Home delivery through third party aggregators does not allow restaurants to sustain the losses during COVID/Lockdowns.
Do you think that going forward customers will be more convenience driven in F&B and it will re-shape the eating order behaviour in the country?
I think fine dining is here to stay and once this pandemic is over, people will be eager to step out and relive the complete dine in experience all over again.
Top learning as a restaurant start-up during the pandemic?
It is difficult and you need to be patient and have deep pockets in order to sustain the current situation.