What made you enter into the food business?
We are three partners in Go Panda and all of us are from the hospitality and alcohol industry background. So, we have seen the nightlife and the food industry very closely. Being a foodie, we thought of starting a restaurant of our own and thus, started working upon setting up an outlet serving authentic Pan-Asian food. I have also worked as a director in a spirit company, where we supply spirits in bulks to companies like Diageo, United Spirits and Radico.
What made you start a Pan-Asian restaurant?
South East Asian cuisine is something that is loved by everyone and we have personally loved this cuisine. Thus, we thought of starting something which is preferred by the consumers and at the same time, it has a personal touch. So, we started serving pan-Asian cuisine at a QSR, with a fine dine standard.
From where did you source the ingredients for making authentic Pan-Asian food?
We get all the products from the local markets in Mumbai. These days, Mumbai sources all the international products and one can find it very easily. Though all our sauces are imported, but gravies like schezwan, jungle curries are made fresh every day.
How has been the response so far?
We are getting amazing response from the locals. People have come to our outlet repeatedly to try out new things. We are also providing delivery options in the area and our deliveries are also growing extensively. I think, it’s a great sign for a new restaurant to witness such an overwhelming response.
How are you marketing your products?
As we are all young entrepreneurs, we are from the tech world of today. Hence, social media is one of the biggest assets of marketing. We are available on Facebook, Instagram, Zomato and we are connecting our consumers through WhatsApp. We are also doing PR and media activities, but I am not in the mainline PR advertising because I believe that word-of mouth is the best tool for advertising, where food works as a marketing tool itself.
What was the initial investment that you made for the restaurant?
It takes about Rs 40-50 lakh to start a restaurant business. Apart from this, external marketing cost and working capital is needed.
What are you doing to keep your customers coming to your outlet?
We believe in directly attending to our customers. So, you will find one of us always listening to our customers and taking to them on what areas to work upon because this is the type of cuisine, where people want to know about what is being served to them.
What is the starting price for a meal at your restaurant? Who are your target audience?
Being a QSR, we are not as cheap as other Chinese restaurants because they charge somewhere between Rs 150 to Rs 175 for a single person. But at our restaurant, it would cost around Rs 22 to Rs 250. This is because we are serving high quality food and we do not use any added flavours.
The daily office goers, paying guests residing in nearby localities, young couples, who actually love eating food and experimenting with food are our target customers. We are not targeting the regular Mc Donald’s or KFC customer. Rather we are targeting people, who do not mind paying Rs 50 extra while eating out.
What is your expansion plan?
We will be a bit slow in opening our next outlet because we want to establish the first outlet. For the next 8-9 months, our focus will be on building a strong foothold and customer base for Go Panda. We will be targeting 15,000 people as our regular customers, who love to eat our food and then, we will plan to open the next outlet.