In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, AD Singh, Managing Director at Olive Bar And Kitchen Pvt Ltd., speaks about his journey in the restaurant business.
Starting Just Desserts To Building up the Olive Group – Know AD Singh’s Entrepreneurial Journey
My journey in the food business actually started by accident! I was an electrical engineer and had never studied F&B (food and beverage); I never thought of being in hospitality as such. When I became an entrepreneur in 1988 I was looking around for the various opportunities. I have a sweet tooth. So, I thought of opening a dessert place because, back then, it wasn’t easy to find a good dessert Cafe. I opened a place called Just Desserts, starting with just Rs 50,000. It was a sensation. It bloomed among consumers from across the country. I got amazing support from the press and it spread more from the word-of-mouth. It was my first venture. We didn’t really make money but I got to understand the business. I think that product is amongst the best I had created.
Since then, I had opened many restaurant businesses. Besides, many people ventured into the industry. We created a few good brands and, now, I am growing them nationally and, a little bit, internationally. My whole time is spent with the Olive Group; it is one of the strongest brands. Then we have SodaBottleOpenerwala which is getting a good recognition; Fatty Bao which took the market by storm, we have seven outlets across the country; Monkey Bar is India’s first gastropub and is present in four different cities.
Guppy, a Japanese brand, is very close to my heart; it has a presence in Mumbai and Delhi. Then we have opened Grammer Room at Olive. We have also opened the first Olive Café; the product looks amazing and we are looking to grow it.
Expansion Plans of Olive Bar and Kitchen
We are slow and steady. We are opening new brands very slowly. Plus, there are lots of interests overseas; we are looking at that too.
Trends in Restaurant Industry
The market is very much mature now than it was earlier. A lot of things are being introduced and have a scope. The market is getting stronger.
We are constrained by what people’s curiosity, exposure and appetite are. For example, Japanese food is a tough one. Now that we have travelled all over the world, watching shows, we increasingly want experience from overseas. People want to experience it, even if they have to pay more. People also focus on organic food and fresh ingredients. There are so many products where people are looking for quality and specialization; another trend is serving multi-cuisines.
Tips to Budding Restaurateurs
The industry is very exciting and glamorous; everybody wants to be a part of it. That’s great! I am very happy with all the entrepreneurs.
It is one of the easiest industry but when you start, be careful. Even if you have a good idea and you want to implement, it is very important for your first couple of restaurants to take a franchise and run it. See how a business works. Or you may partner with a restaurant business and establish a reputation. So that you understand what you are doing before you put in your hard-earned money.
Customers, today, are more focused towards getting good experience and food. Get that right.