As Chef-driven fast casuals seem to offer the best experiences and dining for value-motivated, time-starved consumers as well as the best growth vehicle for profit-hungry restaurant operators, these chefs have introduced freshness, quality and efficiency at the table making their restaurants stand out from the crowd.
Menu is the Game-changer: “It was in 1981 when I started. We knew places during those days but we din know the chefs,” shares JP Singh, Executive Chef at ITC Bukhara. “It was in 1991I moved to Bukhara and the real recognition comes in when you keep working hard and doesn’t look back and that’s how it has been for me in the sector,” he adds. For a chef and restaurant the menu must be short and crisp. The reason why Bukhara is still successful is that we have never changed our menu and the demand is always high shared the proud chef.
Winning the Game: Chefs have always been a work horse. “We have also used our chefs in India as race horses who are constantly winning matches for thhhe country but they really don’t get their due,” points sabyasachi Gorai, Chef and Owner at Lavaash by Saby who was awarded the presidential award for his great culinary experience and innovation. For a chef it is always about winning the game, no matter you are serving a regular customer or serving the dignitaries.
Feasibility of the Concept: “I have been working as an entrepreneur for over 10 years now. It just came out of passion that if there was no consulting or no business what do we do,” says Om Nayak, Chef and Owner, The Pasta Bowl Company for whom getting in the restaurant business realized that it is not just about concept but it was feasibility of a concept. It is about taking care of all those small aspects of business and obviously clubbing it with your passion and learning over the years and making it feasible and a restaurant with repeat customer.
Regional Cuisine Taking Front Seat: Regional cuisine in India started sparking up in last 6-7 years. Olive Group was one of the first restaurant groups that took the charge by creating first parsi restaurant in Delhi. “It was a huge learning opportunity for me as I was just 23 out of college and that mentorship from chef Saby who helped me by setting up a chef-driven concept like Sodabottle Openerwala,” remembers Anahita Dhondy, Chef Partner at Sodabottle Openerwala CyberHub Gurgaon. Concepts like these need chefs to look at kitchens, authenticity of the food and cuisine. “Going to the customer, talking them and giving them a personalized experience is what a chef-led restaurant meant,” adds Dhondy who can realised that it started making a connect wherein people could co-relate chefs and restaurants by the name.
Food is the Real Hero: No matter what concept or model you are running, the biggest hero is the food. When you talk about food chefs come into play. There is a lot of connect that a guest could make if the restaurant is led by a chef. There are a lot of key things that is perceived to be well addressed- the quality of food, taste and innovation to name a few. Also, chef-led places are much more successful these days than any other model.