India is the third largest country globally when it comes to the liquor market as the country owns maximum population which is under the age of 35. IMFL which is one of the major segment in the liquor market is estimated to be valued at more than INR 3,000 Bn by 2026, expanding at a CAGR of 5.2% over the forecast period. Indian Made Foreign Liquor segment in the India alcohol market is expected to create absolute INR opportunity of close to INR 80 Bn in 2017. And, this continuous growth has made bar the main stay of restaurant business in today’s time. There is barely a restaurant one would want to go in the evening which wouldn’t have the bar. When the restaurant and bar becomes so important they sort of inter mingle with each other making experience and food go hand in hand.
Pairing food right with the bar
When we go out to a restaurant we saw that the environment, the buzz and the drink was great but everyone faces the same issue of food not being up to the mark wanting to have a cohesive dining experience. “I got on a reverse gear. Whenever I open a restaurant I think like a consumer whether I would like the product or not. And, how can we add value to the guest experiences,” shares Inderjeet Singh Banga who figured out that the service, drink, food, music and the environment together is what customers in India is looking forward from a bar which is not just a fad but you would want to go over and over again. “Food is highly critical and we can’t play with it. We have 35-40% of our sales coming from the food and people come back to us for our food,” adds Banga.
Commenting on the same, Saurabh Khanijo who started Kylin experience 14 years back at Vasant Vihar says, “The whole idea started was creating an experiential place. Every time I used to visit internationally and coming back missing those experience made me open this place. We designed our restaurant which was more lounge kind of concept and were very blessed to have a good blend of bar plus the food sale.”
Adding the Celebrity Tag
No matter how attractive or jazzy the bar or pub is the food has to be rightly paired with the drink. Bar tender has become an evening body. Do you really go to the bar to have a specific cocktail or to speak to the person behind the bar? The answer would be no from 99 per cent of the bar goers. But to make bartending and bartender celebrity we really need to understand the science of the bar. Bartending is equally important to chef who prepares the food for the guests. “People need to know about what simple product is done to make the drink. The bartender has to go to customers and make their customers understand the ingredients and that’s how chefs are doing by going to table and making them understand about their food. It’s about how much do you as a bar owner want to empower your bartender,” adds Varun Sudhakar, Head of beverage Innovation & Operations, PizzaExpress.
The bar has to evolve and the role of bartenders has to be got more identified. Bartending is a very creative field and they need somebody to accept their value preposition. Also, restaurateur needs to give that freedom to the bartender.
“Bars will never be a destination. I am a very firm believer that it is a misconcept. You look at sector 29 Gurgaon, Rajouri Garden and Connaught Place for that matter there is almost 150 bars running at radar of 1.5 km. How do you distinguish each bars and that’s what something missing in every bar. Bar should not attempt to become destination; but to become local,” shares Rocky Mohan, who owns Old Monk one of the highest selling rum globally.
Thus, we can say that it’s not easy to own a bar. Food remains the key to any bars success.