In an exclusive interview with Restaurant India, Chaitanya Sabharwal, Chef Executive Officer at Biryani Queen spoke about Biryani, which is a fusion of the Mughal’s version of Biryani and Indian Pulav, how despite deep discounting by online aggregators, restaurants can manage and steal in between and why his jackfruit Biryani steals the show.
Why this concept came to you? How did you start this and how far have you come?
This concept is my wife’s. Biryani has been made in India from thousands of years. When the Mughals were invading India, at that time Biryani came to India. But that is not how Indians used to like. The concept changed when the fusion happened between Indian Pulav and Mughal’s biryani. Shahjanah knew both the ways of cooking rice and she created a marriage between two.
We at Biryani queen follow the method of layered form of cooking for Biryani. My wife is the first lady who started making five different types of vegetarian Biryani and all are abundantly flavourful. Our highest selling Biryani is vegetarian Biryani. I am not saying that non-veg Biryani is not selling in good numbers but it is the Kathal or jack fruit Biryani that steals the show. We do around 2,000 kilos of jackfruit Biryani every month. So, the concept came with the innovation of cooking rice differently. My wife’s idea of different cooking methods of Biryani bagged many awards and appreciation and that’s how Biryani Queen got started.
It has been one and half years since we got into franchising. And we are the fastest emerging brand in the country and we were lucky enough to go international in November last year. Today, Biryani Queen does 24 types of Biryani, out of which 8 Biryani are vegetarian ones.
The panel was discussing how deep discounting by online aggregators are hurting restaurants across the country. What do you have to say about this? Do you agree?
Yes, definitely these discounts are hurting but at the same time it depends upon how you are able to manage your business effectively, because it is a strategy that these online aggregators are following as the industry is moving forward. However it also depends if you can manage and steal in between. Instead of deep discounts you should be worried about the cost of the product, restaurants are also smart enough these times that they are able to increase the pricing and I would say, there is no law on that. The product which used to cost 50% of the price, now costs at least 200 times. So, restaurants have clear monetary strategy and customer now, while ordering, only looks at the discounted amount, they don’t even look at what price they are getting it and at what price they used to get it earlier.
Is Biryani queen on any aggregator’s platform? What % of sales comes from online platforms?
Yes, we are on Zomato and Swiggy. Around 70% of our sales come from these platforms. The reason is because we have a QSR model and this is why our focus is not on dining but delivery. When it comes to Biryani, people usually want to have it together with their family or friends or for that matter in social gatherings and get togethers. Biryani is one of the most premium products in India.
What are your expansion plans?
We are already established in Ladakh, we are going to open in Bangalore, we are already in Delhi NCR and are entering to Rajasthan and Andra Pradesh. Also we have aggressive plans for our franchise models, with which we expect to launch more outlets across India within two years.