The Fine-dine restaurants serving Indian Global Cuisine has an immense potential in the international hospitality industry. The experience that Indian global cuisine restaurants provide to their guests is of next level. The huge well decorated restaurants with experiential seating, innovative menus, dramatic presentation and fine service takes makes the entire experience magical. This is an experience which is grand and typically Indian, which one only gets when the guest visits such high-end restaurants in India. It’s a new concept for the rest of the world.
There are few versions there in the US which are family diners and has extensive menus but the concept of Indian Global Cuisine Restaurants is something very different, something very unique.
This concept has surely emerged out of our rich Indian culinary culture. Since ages the major meals – lunch & dinner, in India are elaborate and well balanced. Be it rich or poor, the plate of a meal will consist two main courses (vegetables / cottage cheese / meat) one lentil preparation, one rice preparation and many accompaniments like farsaan (snacks), sweets, buttermilk & pickles served on the side. Indian breads loaded with clarified butter are prepared fresh and served hot while the family members are dining. Each meal us like a celebration at Indian homes. Mother or wife will insist on having one more helping of sweet or hot Indian bread as a gesture of love. Even the office tiffin which executives carry along with them are 4 to 5 boxes big!
So, when it came to impress the Indian connoisseur, the Indian Global Cuisine restaurants, over the period introduced various cuisines of the world and made customized arrangements like the French way of course meals.
Along with the detailed, impeccable service a long meal which typically include cocktails (mocktails), soups, starters, middles course, main course, lentil preparation or curry & Rice preparation are served course by course with flair. In the end desserts menu is presented. Guests select from a wide range of desserts ranging from traditional Indian sweets to western desserts and enjoy the last part of the meal.
After enjoying hospitality of Indian Global Cuisine Restaurants, the guests are amazed and the ones who are world travelers will surely declare that this experience is the most unique which they have ever had.
I strongly believe that now this concept should be introduced to the rest of the world and provide something extraordinary, something which is very Indian yet very international!
In my culinary journey of twenty years I have experimented with various formats of food & beverage business, but Global Cuisine Restaurant Concept makes the most sense when it comes to international markets, mega cities and tier 2 cities of India. During my journey I have further experimented with various elements of restaurant business and have gathered my thoughts in the diagram. This combination of elements has made the fine-dine, global cuisine restaurants successful. The elements are discussed below:
RENT FREE REAL ESTATE
It hardly makes sense to commence a restaurant of 2000 square yards of rental space. The restaurants on rent free premises grows leaps and bounds and it has many reasons to it. The operating overheads are as such on higher side in comparison to other businesses and if rental over head is also loaded in the scenario, the success ratio of that restaurant is 50/50 from the day the decision was taken. Yet, if some entrepreneurs are too keen to open restaurant and don’t have their own space then, there has to be a strategic way out.
Global cuisine is widely enjoyed by the urban community of the mega and tier 2 cities. Hence the locality selected has to be posh and the space should be on a high-street or an elite shopping street. Ground floor entry and seating is a must with ample parking available. When it comes to locality, if prime location is out of reach, sub-prime location also works out well. The guests of fine-dine restaurants aren’t impulsive. They plan their lunch/dinners well in advance and if the have to take a by-lane and their favorite restaurant is situated there, they will surely come with a smiling face.
Fine-dine global cuisine occupies more capital in comparison to other formats of food and beverage. To provide an exclusive experience capital has to be lavishly invested on interior décor, cutlery-crockery, hollow-ware, uniforms, digitization, air-conditioning et al. The success ratio and longevity of self-financed projects is far more then the restaurants which are run on borrowed capital. Though borrowing capital for routine affair (working capital loans/ODs) doesn’t hamper the growth of this format. In few cases, if the restaurants have to be commenced by borrowed capital, once should take extra care to negotiate and select such loans which are low on interests. But that’s still a risky affair
The lifestyle of new urbans is fast and complex… They are travelling more then any other in the previous generations. The exposure which they have about food and beverage is immense. They take subconsciously take note of every experience which they get when they move out for fine-dine experience. The goal is to create an atmosphere which comprises of smart architecture, elite interior décor, tastefully done landscapes keeping in mind the material used, the feel, color combinations, music, uniforms and the fragrance. Selecting the best architects, experts and designers having exposure in designing restaurants will help in achieving this goal. This helps in creating the place a nostalgia and the guests constantly thinks and discuss about such restaurants.
The restaurant area has to be planned in such a manner that it can take maximum productivity because the time of doing business for a fine-dine restaurant is limited. It’s the 7 hours window of lunch and dinner where restaurant gets chance to do whatever it wants to do. Hence, while programming the areas a great care is to be taken about the speed of production, the speed of dishwash & other back area facilities which boost the output of restaurant in given time.
The core, the soul and the epicenter of a successful fine-dine restaurant is its menu. A great menu can set correct vibes if designed in a great way. The menu of global cuisine has to have a right combinations and right number of items included, which hits the chord of the guests and makes them visit the restaurant more often to explore the different dimensions of the menu. Global Cuisine menu has to have a great mix of Indian and international cuisines. The inclusions beverages, starters and middles course, main courses, rice courses and dessert have to be rightly placed… The menu has to be elaborate so that it has to delights guests of any age, enjoyable by bigger groups. Amuse bouche and palate cleansers has to be incorporated in the menu of a global fine-dine restaurant. The menu should be revised every six months keeping in mind the trends, guest feedbacks and innovations done at the restaurant. The rates have to be adjusted keeping in mind the inflation, the raw material costs and overall operating expenditure. The menu is the only weapon in the field of restaurant by which you can win the war (make profits). Rest every element is a support system which helps in generating revenue.
Hiring talent is of utmost importance when one wants to see huge success in the fine-dine restaurant sector. At senior positions the executives and chefs should be academically qualified and also achievers of the field. Brilliant senior staff plays a pivotal role in fine-dine restaurant success. When it comes to hiring middle level team, the chef or captain has to be master of his/her field and should have created a mark / won awards and accolades in previous organizations. Team members who have exposure in award winning and iconic restaurants also make a huge difference. The bottom level team should be hard-working open to learning new methods and self-disciplined.
While selecting the organization should constantly lookout for the quality – guest orientation in the team members.
Continuous training for guest orientation has to be imparted and a culture of ‘Guest First’ should be imbibed and sharpened to the team. While handpicking such amazing talents, one should also focus on support / ancillary departments. While selecting team in departments like HR, admin, accounts, engineers, house-keeping the organization should be conscious enough to hire such team mates who have worked with skilled man-power. Priority is to select even the ancillary team who has exposure to fine-dine restaurants. They are well versed with the criticality of the restaurant operations and can anticipate a lot of things. They can understand the nitty gritty of the industry well then anyone else.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
The food at the fine-dine global cuisine restaurant should have many surprise elements. Right from the amuse bouche the guest should come to know about the trajectory of the culinary journey they are going to take at the restaurant. The signature dishes should be classy. Senior chefs should constantly use new techniques of cooking and presentation and constantly strive to provide their guests something great! The mis-en-place of those dishes is made from scratch in-house and hence it brings out the uniqueness. The plating has to be exclusive. Each starter plates are to be designed like art pieces. For the middle and main-courses the hallow-ware used has to be such that elevate the overall experience of the meal. Desserts are to be well plated and garnished so that they are not only delicious but photogenic as well! (insta-worthy)
Service of a fine dine restaurant should be designed in such a manner that the guest experiences exclusivity when they are enjoying their meal at the restaurant. Right from welcoming them at the podium, to making them seat, offering menu, water-service, opening serviette, taking orders, wine/mocktail service, food service, arranging crockery & cutlery as per items ordered… each time the service department has a chance to bring out a ‘WOW” from the guest.
Taking care of the elderly, keeping the kids occupied ordering right things for them brings in huge value to the guest.
It also is an important service step which builds character of a global cuisine restaurant. Focus on table set up should have finesse, the linens used to be fresh and clean. This is because it directly comes in contact with the guests. Further the selection of table ware – crockery, cutlery, glassware should be world-class and impressive. Hand-wash should be on the table by providing tissue tablet set or finger bowl or one can be creative to innovate. The folder design should also speak about the character of the restaurant and not just an artificial leather bill folder which one gets at any other restaurant. After-mints should be such that guests ask for the more. The service focus should not be just limited to the dining hall. Other guest areas like waiting areas, washrooms, lounges, passages should be well taken care of. Assisting house-keeping to keep those areas shining and vibrant is also a part of fine service. Extra care must be taken when the food is delivered and been taken-away from the curb-side. The executives must check the quality, quantity, the accompaniments and accessories are well placed in the bag as per the standard and ensure timely delivery.
The overhead expenses of fine-dine and especially global cuisine restaurants are quite huge in compared to other food and beverage formats. Of course, the returns are also quite huge. For the optimum utilization of the resources the organization should identify the complementing services which it can offer to its patrons. It can be banqueting, outdoor catering, a deli/bakery or may be something else like cooking class. These complementing services extra revenues are generated and also gets new footfalls at the restaurant.
Music should be conducive to the environment. Live music-nights everyday add a great value. Special efforts to define the genre of music, the artist to be played during the operating hours will surely bring great results. Play elite music which is not main stream is essential. The music should stand apart and make sure that such music is only played at your restaurant. The quality of sound should be of high quality. Bose, Harman, JBL are brands which can be given priority while designing the sound. They not only bring out great sound but has a great brand re-call value too.
A decent warm welcome on the podium is still in-thing at fin-dine restaurants. Guests just love it when they are remembered with their names & their preferences. Taking in-between the meal feedbacks by the manager helps a lot in connecting with the guests and making a long-term relationship with the restaurant. Offering cakes or desserts on their birthdays and special days will delight them. After dinner mostly, the guests in bigger groups want to take pictures. Offer them to click pictures for them because no one from the group wants to miss out from the frame. These pictures are passed in various social media groups and its kind of subtle promotion of the restaurant and the guests will also thank you for the gesture. The group of connoisseurs can be offered property show-around, especially the kitchen. Offer them a warm good-bye and not to miss the gesture of calling back at the restaurant soon by using phrases like “Keep visiting us”, Keep coming” See you again, soon”.
Heavy promotions on main stream media like radio, TV and newspaper or OOH don’t go well with the concept of fine-dine global cuisine restaurants. The best way to promote is to provide the best service, provide the best food and provide top-notch ambience. The guest shall do enough word of mouth for their favorite restaurant to keep it full even during the weekdays! Further, fine-dine restaurants can invite influencers, celebrities and artists for a review to give a subtle upward push to create a buzz. Introducing new menus periodically and communicating with your patrons on social media works great. Periodically food festivals should be undertaken by the restaurants. Seasonal menus also play a great role in creating a buzz.
On and off fill nominations for awards. If award is won by their favorite restaurants, the guest also takes pride and the patronage continues. Keeping social media handles buzzing is very important for fine-dine restaurants because there are lot of things happening at the restaurant, but if not communicated the efforts goes waste or under-utilized. Hire a good social media marketing agency who can help the restaurant achieve their social media goals.
Fine-dine restaurant has capacity to make huge turnovers. With huge turnovers there are also quite sum amount of expenditure. Ploughing profits back in the business is a great idea for fine-dine restaurants… That money has to be used for R&D of new recipes and services, new service-wares, property maintenance and commencing new complementing services. The fine-dine restaurant should be spic ‘n span even after a run of 5 years… to do this constant plough back is must.
If the restaurant is successful the management should know that a lot of credit goes to the investment they did human resource. Hiring best team comes with stuff like paying high salaries, providing more facilities and continuous training. Not only in terms of money but a lot of resources have been deployed to manage such a qualified which is the pillar of any successful fine-dine restaurant.
Management should make conscious efforts to retain them for many good reasons. Community building activities, appraisals, awards, celebrations, anniversary of the restaurant, team mates are important tools which help in retaining talented team. Well designed staff room & cafeteria also plays a great role in retaining talents.
For many reasons it’s the best time to open and run restaurants and one of the important reasons is Digitization.
Mind-blowing digital and IT solutions are available to optimize restaurant business. Online ordering, online menus, recipes, KOTs, stock, purchases, guest management, que management & electrification have now digitized solution. And above all there are intelligent systems which gives best reports linking all these to the management for analysis purpose. Using them smartly reduces costs and maximize output. Maximizing the use of these resources plays a very important role in successfully running fine-dine restaurants.
Like any other business fine-dine restaurant business too has the same business norms as other businesses have… Thanks to digitization, restaurants create a huge data which can be utilized by the owners for analysis and helping them to decide the course further. It also helps in steering the senior team at the right path. On ‘n off physical presence during the operations also create great impact in staff motivation and guests also feel great! Weekly or fortnightly meeting physical / online meetings with senior team members is necessary to know about the business better. Involvement of the promoters in capital purchase can help the restaurant in getting deals, discounts and get better insights. Owners along with their senior management should attend relevant trade-fair and purchase innovative products from there… By this they also keep themselves and the team updated about the current trends. Mostly such fairs happen in mega-cities, so they should also visit newly opened high performing restaurants there, to get to know about the innovations and trends.
Hire the best consultants and they will make it sure that the restaurant earns a good name and of course profits too, because their name is also associated to the restaurant.
Many entrepreneurs are scared to enter restaurant business as they have directly or indirectly heard that it’s a tough business when to comes to managing operations and profitability. It’s kind of true but then which business is easier? None! But as mentioned above this is the best time to enter into the restaurant business. Every business has its positivity and has its own hazards. That’s where the role of restaurant consultant comes in. A dynamic restaurant consultant will take care about all the above-mentioned elements and make it sure that the restaurant is successful. The job of the restaurant consultant is to bring all these elements meticulously together which and seamlessly provide the best output.
– Yours truly,
Suril Udeshi is a restaurant consultant, who won The Best Restaurant Consultant of Gujarat by Gujarat Tourism in May 2022. Suril Consults iconic restaurants of Gujarat, India and has a vision to create fine-dine restaurants serving global cuisine across the world
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