1948. A year after our great nation is born. The whole country was still revelling in its new-found Independence. Two gentlemen, P N Malhotra and G K Ghai, who are also newly arrived to Lutyen’s Delhi from Karachi decide to set up one of the city’s most iconic gastronomic hotspot- The Embassy Restaurant. Their contribution to the gastronomic landscape of New Delhi is undeniable. Whether you were the then Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten, or a newly minted citizen of India, The Embassy Restaurant in Connaught Place’s D-Block, was the centre of a gastronomic universe and a young country.
As the years went by, the legend grew. This was a restaurant where everyone met. Many marriages were made here. Some for love, some in the sphere of business and some in politics. And, as the day’s passes by, the third generation with a modern touch is ready to expand the legacy to other parts of Indian. Savar Malhotra, who after taking the realm from his father Sunil Malhotra had a vision to keep the iconic flag of The Embassy Restaurant flying high in India’s gastronomic landscape. He was ably supported by his father’s long standing friend and business partner– Rajnish Bahl.
Tell us about your journey of setting a legacy brand?
We started in 1948 with one restaurant at Connaught Place. We didn’t expand our restaurant much but, we had the catering business which was successfully running. We started franchising last year since I joined the company and are soon opening Janakpuri in June. We are also getting out franchisees from Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Agra which are already in the pipeline and we should be closing it by end of 2016. So, by end we should have at least 10 restaurants on paper.
How many restaurants are presently operational?
We are running two outlets presently. CP is an all day diner restaurant with bar but, we focus on restaurant. Civil lines are a fine dine restaurant which focus more on lunch and dinner. And, we are running catering which is an outdoor catering also.
What is the average footfall at your both outlets?
We are doing 200-250 daily at CP outlets, including the takeaways. Civil Lines is a 75 seater restaurant and we are doing around 150 people daily.
What are the different kinds of model available for franchising?
We have three models that we are franchising- Express model which is a small café model which will have alcohol depending on its location, a fine dine restaurants which will be a replication to our CP outlet and a lounge cum restaurant.
What is the expansion plan going forward?
We are planning that for every three franchisee that we sell we will be opening a restaurant of our own. And, that’s how we are going to take our 70 years old legacy and that’s the reason we are little pricey and choosing the partners very well. We are keen on Gurgaon outlet which for is lounge and restaurant covering 2 floors of more than 6000 sqft.
Which will be your first franchised outlet?
The first franchise outlet will be Janakpuri which is given to Meerut based Dr Hemant Agarwal. The outlet which is for Express model and we are going to call it as Express Mini which is a miniature of CP restaurant serving Indian and Chinese cuisine. And, we will apply for a bar licensing later on. We will be focusing on food and it will be an all day dining. We took three months to close this deal because we actually select the place of our restaurant. We like to select the place for our restaurant.
What is the franchisee fee for your restaurant?
Franchisee fee varies from Rs 10-20 lakh depending on the model one choose.
What are the criteria for selection of the partner?
The person who actually has patience because is the right person to partner with us because it’s about building a business. And, someone who has the capacity to be patent and willing to wait for the returns is the basic criteria we have. We do not work on a prefix model that, you sign franchisee make money and exit the business. In fact, we are looking for someone who is looking for a long-term business.
What made you enter into franchisee model?
When we talk about franchisee, we are not giving it to everybody. We are choosing people because we can’t be everywhere. And, the kind of business we are in it requires a personal touch. Also, franchisee is an excellent way to grow as the returns are quick.
How many outlets will be operational this year?
We are focused on having at least five operational outlets this year. I need about 10 franchisee and 5 physical presences by end of 2016.
What are the target locations?
We are targeting pan India. We are focusing on opening one outlet in a city expanding the small take away restaurant in the region.